Institute of Archaeology


Pacific Island Research Network

The Pacific Islands Research Network (PIRN) aims to create collaboration between researchers interested in the Oceanic past and those involved in directing its future. Whilst the many thousand island societies that define the Pacific region are culturally diverse and distinct from each other, all emphasise the fundamental importance of customary practices and traditional knowledge in shaping social, cultural, health, economic, environmental and political development and resource use, as they are drawn into the larger world system.

The PIRN will organise conferences, seminars and events at UCL, specifically designed to tap into the dynamic between the past, present and future by creating dialogue between archaeological, heritage and anthropological research and the social, environmental and health sciences more broadly.

Topics of interest to the network include:

  • Management and role of Pacific Island cultural heritage and museum collections
  • Interpretative and interdisciplinary approaches to Pacific landscapes
  • Contemporary and historical processes relating to climatic hazards and environmental change in the Pacific
  • Narratives of health and nutrition as revealed through archaeology and anthropology and their relevance for Pacific Island communities today.

The first phase of the PIRN will be for 4 years (2011-2015), in conjunction with the Rapa Nui Landscapes of Construction Project, although the group aspires for the network to continue after this date. The broad remit of this network is counterbalanced by a focus on a specific research theme every two years.

The first research theme (2011-2013) focused on Food, Famine and Feasting in the Pacific with a conference held in September 2012. 

PIRN also supports and facilitates occasional lectures at UCL from both UK colleagues and visiting colleagues from overseas working in the region.