By: Tarisi Vunidilo - Secretary-General, PIMA
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Western Museum Association (WMA) Board for providing me with a scholarship that enabled me to be in Palm Springs from October 21st to the 24th to attend the 2012 WMA Meeting. Without your kind assistance I would not have been able to attend this very important gathering.
I personally believe in the importance of having the Pacific Island Association (PIMA) and the Pacific Arts Association (PAA) part of a very comprehensive yet educational WMA 2012 program.
I acknowledge the important work many museums under the WMA that manages rich Pacific collections. I firmly believe PIMA and PAA’s involvement will open up many research and exhibition opportunities in the future.
This year, I was being recognized as a WMA member, program committee member and presenter (as seen in the picture here with fellow committee member Deidre).
SESSIONS AND PARTICIPATION
As a committee member for 2011 and 2012, I am honored to critique and present other proposals to the committee for their final decision for inclusion in the final program. This year, in January I was not able to attend one of the first program committee meetings however I requested my colleague and friend Mr. Tevita Moce (pictured below) who lives in Palm Springs to attend the program meeting in Palm Springs on my behalf. This was well received and Mr Moce was also able to widen his own professional network with those that attended. Here is a picture of Mr. Moce and I at our 2012 Pacific Navigation Session.
SESSION 1: MONDAY OCTOBER 22, 2012
TITTLE: SHARING OUR PACIFIC CULTURES- A PIMA AND PAA COLLABORATION
The aim of this session is to support and enable young researchers studying Pacific collections or Pacific contemporary art to share their work during the WMA meeting. The other outcome is encourage collaboration between the two internationally known organizations of PIMA and PAA. Both organizations have the Pacific art deeply embedded in their mission and vision statement. Having a session like this at the WMA is very appropriate as many museums in the USA have Pacific artifacts in their collections. This year, we had three graduate students who presented in this order of appearance:
- Ashley Meredith (University of South Florida)
- Meredith Ferguson (University of California, Santa Cruz)
- Marion Cadora (University of Hawaii)
All their presentations were well received and there are potential that further discussions will be made between these presenters and some members of the audience who interacted with them during and after their presentation.
SESSION 2: MONDAY OCTOBER 22, 2012
TITLE: MUSEUM ASSOCIATIONS EXCHANGE – STATEWIDE CONCERNS AND RESPONSES
Celeste DeWald (pictured below standing with me to my right) who represented the California Association of Museums chaired this session. The line up of presenters represented associations from Alaska, to Hawaii mainland USA to the Pacific. I was honored to speak in this session and the topic that I spoke on was Pacific Museums and Capacity Building: Issues and Opportunities. We were only given five minutes to speak on our topics, and I talked about the concern PIMA has which is to include and involve young people in the organization and move PIMA forward.
SESSION 3: TUESDAY OCTOBER 23, 2012
POOLSIDE FROM 12.30PM
TOPIC: Pacific Stories from Pacific Museums
This was an informal session where tables were set and conference participants choose which table they want to go to. I had a full table and most of those who attended this session are now in contact with me for future Pacific collections projects, which is rather exciting for PIMA and the Pacific communities both in the Pacific and those who are part of the diaspora.
SESSION 4: WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 24, 2012
TOPIC: PACIFIC NAVIGATION: OUR OCEAN, OUR HISTORY, OUR LIVES
Presenters in this session were Tom Cashman and Tevita Moce (see page 2 for picture) and I chaired this session replacing So’ona’alofa Sina Malietoa, a PIMA Board member from Samoa who was not able to attend. Marcellin Abong from Vanuatu and Anthony Ramirez from Guam, both PIMA Board members were not able to attend and present their papers at this session due to unavailability of funds. However I was able to present navigational projects from Samoa, Vanuatu and Guam, combining the work that was going to be presented by these speakers. This presentation generated a lot of discussions after the session ended, and we as a group have submitted a follow up session in Salt Lake City in October 2013.
Apart from the formal WMA sessions, I was also able to visit the Joshua Tree National Park, which made me learn and appreciate the geology and the beautiful environment of Palm Springs, as well as the indigenous story of the place. My deep gratitude to Marion Cadora and Ashley Meredith for inviting my husband and I to join them on this special visit (see picture below).
Overall, my presence and participation at the WMA 2012 would not have taken place without the support of the Wanda Chin Award. I learnt so much form the sessions I attended and also from the resources that I was able to acquire during the 4 days I was in Palm Springs. I have seen my understanding and appreciation of museum work has blossomed and has given me a fresh outlook on what I would like to do in the future.
To conclude, on behalf of the PIMA Board and its members a big THANK YOU to the WMA Board for the Wanda Chin Award to enable me to not only attend this years’ WMA but to proactively lead these sessions I outlined earlier. Moreso, my attendance and participation has truly enhance my professional museum network with many others I met who attended this auspicious occasion!
MALO! FA’FETAI! MAHALO! VINAKA VAKALEVU! MALO AUPITO! THANK YOU!