Using ships and boats in the National Maritime Museum as a starting point, this online series of talks opens up conversations about claiming your cultural heritage in a museum.
Join us as we take a look at the history and voyage of Adi Yeta to discover the significance of vessels to Fijian traditions, the importance of the oceans to their lives and how museums should approach the use and display of 'taonga' today.
Discover the creative processes of Lone Twin, the artists behind Collective Spirit – a living archive of people's stories, built with 1200 pieces of donated wood – from a sliver of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar to a Victorian policeman’s truncheon, about the project and its legacy.
We also talk to Gail McGarva, a traditional wooden boat builder, specialising in the building of replicas of boats in danger of extinction. Discover more about her projects 'The Story Boat' and 'Disappearing Lines'. The on-going work of the Story Boat project is an integration of Gail’s work as a boat builder, workshop facilitator and teller of stories.
Week 1: The story of Adi Yeta with academic and creative Katrina Talei Igglesden
Wednesday 10 November
We explore the story and journey of Adi Yeta, her cultural significance, islands as connectors and how to reconnect diasporic communities with their cultural heritage housed in museums.
Week 2: Collective Spirit with artists Lone Twin
Wednesday 17 November
We look at the story of Lone Twin’s Boat Project, and discuss the central themes of memory, community and connectivity. Each donated item tells a story, and these stories are imbued in Collective Spirit, a boat made of memories that explores how we are all connected by water.
Week 3: The Story Boat Project & Disappearing Lines with traditional boat builder Gail McGarva
Wednesday 24 November
Discover why Gail became a boat builder, her interest in building replicas or daughter boats, and how these are breathing life into a new generation of traditional boats. She explains that her boats are "not static museum pieces but expressions of living history."
In discussion with Gail, we explore how she integrates her work as a boat builder with her work as a performer, bringing to life the stories all boats have to tell about their communities and their shores. The stories and memories are celebrated and shared through Gail’s work as a speaker, performer of original songs of the sea and teller of stories inside the Story Boat. We also take a look at her current workshop project 'Disappearing Lines'.
About the speakers
Katrina Talei Igglesden
Katrina Talei Igglesden is an academic and creative of mixed British and Fijian ancestry. She is currently a Post-doctoral Researcher on the British Academy-funded research project ‘Urban Pathways: Fiji. Youth. Arts. Culture.’ based at the Sainsbury Research Unit (University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK).
Her PhD focused on the social biography of masi (Fijian barkcloth) and its adaptation when encountered in urban contemporary contexts, in particular masi motifs and how they relate to cultural identity when extended into non-traditional pathways. Katrina has contributed to several research projects, worked on various cultural initiatives and is an Honorary Research Associate at Fiji Museum. Additionally, she sits on several Pacific and Fijian institutional and community-led advisory committees and has curated exhibitions in the United Kingdom, Fiji, Canada and the United States.
She has also created and participated in Pacific-centred artistic installations, activations and performances, and is a member of Rosanna Raymond’s SaVAge K’lub. Katrina is interested in collaborative anthropology, specifically in reconnecting diasporic communities with their cultural heritage housed in museums by facilitating reciprocal relationships between cultural heritage institutions and communities, as well as the contemporary urban experience of ‘culture’ by young people.
Led by artists Gregg Whelan and Gary Winters, Lone Twin is one of Europe’s leading performance companies. Celebrated for creating a broad range of projects, from theatrical productions to participatory public events, their work is regularly shown across the world to popular and critical acclaim.
Collective Spirit was created by the Lone Twin Boat Project. It was designed by Simon Rodgers and the build was managed by former Olympic yachtsman Mark Covell. Over 65 volunteers were involved in boat building and donation archiving. The boat’s construction combines contemporary art and design, engineering and craft, and the project was made possible through community collaboration.
Gail McGarva is a traditional wooden boat builder. She specialises in the building of replicas of boats in danger of extinction, which has been recognised in a British Empire Medal. In 2017 she was awarded an Arts Council Individual Grant for the Arts in support of the Story Boat project. The Story Boat is a miniature maritime museum that Gail created from the upturned boat Vera from 1923, giving her a new lease of life on land as the keeper of memories. The project encapsulates Gail’s passion for the preserving of traditional craft. The on-going work of the Story Boat project is an integration of Gail’s work as a boat builder, workshop facilitator and teller of stories.