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SUVA. Fiji (Fiji Times, May 29) – One of the biggest gatherings of Pacific Island artists, musicians and scholars is set to take place during the first Pacific Epistemologies Conference next month.

Hosted by the University of the South Pacific at its Laucala Campus in Suva from July 3 to 7, the conference dubbed Vaka Vuku-Navigating Knowledge, brings together 150 delegates from New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the Northern Pacific region.

Aside from the presentation of papers, a Pacific film and arts festival will be among the highlights of the week.

Conference director, Larry Thomas, said the idea emerged in 2004 when the former head of USP's literature and language department, professor Subramani and other academics raised the need for a forum to discuss issues relevant to the Pacific.

"The conference is about the Pacific. It is about celebration, sharing and discussing our knowledge. We need to discuss what's happening around the world and in our region. We need to discuss that and understand how we are evolving," Mr Thomas said.

Assistant director Josefa Tuwere said the event would allow Pacific scholars to discuss different ways and manners of approaching Pacific knowledge as compared to European knowledge.

"There are questions that today's Pacific epistemology seeks to answer and these are important questions to ask and answer so that Pacific knowledge is understood and disseminated," Mr Tuwere said.

The forum, sponsored by NZAID will coincide with the Pacific Arts and Film Festival.

A play called Vula, directed by Fiji New Zealander Nina Nawalowalo and a film, N0 2 by Samoan New Zealander writer and director, Toa Fraser, will be shown along with other Pacific-based films.

He said Malanga, a music by Samoan New Zealander Igelese Ete called, which explores religion, identity and movements in a creative style will be among the highlights.

"Malanga fits in well with the theme of the conference as it implies journey."

The conference is about a journey of scholars, musicians and artists exploring Pacific knowledge in its different forms.

May 30, 2006

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