Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Humanities academics from Matariki universities gather

Monday 8 December 2014 1:38pm

matariki gathering image
Academics and Librarians from the Matariki Network of Universities gathered at Otago today.

Researchers and Librarians from Otago’s six international Matariki partnership institutions are gathering at the Dunedin campus this week to share insights and best practices in the inaugural Matariki Humanities Colloquium.

While there have been various science events at Matariki universities, this is one of the first times there has been a humanities and library event.

Event Convener, Takashi Shogimen of History, says 13 senior academics and nine senior librarians from Otago’s six Matariki partnership universities will be at Otago for the next few days.

The colloquium is part of a five-year programme proposed at a conference on research and the humanities for Matariki partner universities held at Dartmouth College in September last year.

“The two-day event led to a plan for holding a series of colloquia that will enable scholars to share insights about the current state of their specific disciplines in an international setting, to make connections with other specialists in their fields, to examine the resources and best practices at other Matariki institutions, and to advance cutting-edge scholarship in the humanities.”

This year’s humanities programme has the theme Research and Teaching in Pre-modern Studies: studies in human life and thought before c.1800. The Library stream will include senior executives and those involved with managing special collections and heritage resources, and will contain a practical component, with the sharing of resources, expertise and experiences.

While much of the Colloquium involves exclusive meetings of academics and librarians, there will also be one public lecture. Professor Tony Ballantyne of Otago’s Department of History will give an Otago perspective on humanities and the importance of humanities research.

About the Matariki Network of Universities

The Matariki Network of Universities (MNU) is an international group of leading, like-minded universities, each amongst the most historic in its own country, and recognised as being leaders in both teaching and research.

Established in 2010 it consists of seven universities – Otago, Dartmouth College in the United States, England’s Durham University, Canada’s Queen’s University, Germany’s University of Tübingen, Sweden’s Uppsala University and Australia’s University of Western Australia.

Matariki is the Māori name for the group of stars known as the Pleiades star cluster, and also known as the Seven Sisters. Similarly, there are seven founding member institutions in the MNU.

About the Public Lecture:

Communicating the Humanities: a perspective from the University of Otago

Professor Tony Ballantyne
Mon 8 Dec, 5.30pm to 6.30pm
Castle 1 Lecture Theatre

This lecture will explore some of the challenges and opportunities that are facing scholars in the Humanities in New Zealand. It is particularly concerned with questions of communication, from the classroom to policy debates, from the changing infrastructure for publication and review to questions of language itself. In exploring these issues, it argues for the continued importance of some key aspects of the traditional idea of the University (especially 'the lecture'), makes the case for a much more co-ordinated drive to make Humanities research accessible and also identifies some significant ways forward for the Humanities in New Zealand in a 'digital age'.