Technologies of research and teaching in the Pacific
This paper engages in a series of questions arising from the potentials and pitfalls of using digital technologies in teaching and research in Pacific communities. As will become clear, we were unable to answer these questions during our recent projects in the Cook Islands (Dale) and Samoa (Tina). We are colleagues working together in the Department of Postgraduate Studies of the School of Art and Design, AUT University, and our projects were framed by the conditions driving university strategies in Aotearoa/New Zealand: the imperatives of the knowledge economy and the increasing globalisation in the Pacific.
Technologies, be they the specific practices involved in distance learning and teaching, or those driving design collaborations or research through digital means, always correspond to “technologies of the self” (Foucault). These technologies’ formation is significantly influenced by lasting discrepancies in the global flows of information, technologies, people and capital. Research and teaching are inevitably caught up in this predicament. Two case studies (of a Master of Art and Design programme delivered in the Cook Islands and a research project in Samoa/Germany about traditional art and architecture in the globalised leisure industries) provide tangible contexts for this paper. They will propel a wider discussion of cross-cultural collaborations in indigenous and economically disadvantaged communities in the Pacific.