French and Francophone Studies Symposium | Art and Environmental Concerns in Oceania – School of Languages and Cultures French and Francophone Studies Symposium | Art and Environmental Concerns in Oceania – School of Languages and Cultures

Satellite image of Raiatea Island, Polynesia

French and Francophone Studies Symposium | Art and Environmental Concerns in Oceania

French and Francophone Studies presents an interdisciplinary symposium

Art and Environmental Concerns in Oceania: cultural expressions of climate change across the French-speaking islands in the South Pacific

15–17 February 2023, The University of Sydney
(hybrid event – online and in-person)

Booklet & Speakers (pdf, 1.6MB)

Program | Organisers | Partners

The three-day interdisciplinary symposium is devoted to cultural expressions of climate change across Oceania.

Crucially, our symposium will act as a platform for exchanging ideas, showcasing artistic voices and facilitating new connections between French-speaking Oceania and other regions of the South Pacific. Through its geographical location, Sydney is at the crossroads for many current environmental concerns, made even more pressing by the urgent nature of climate change: the relentless rising of sea levels in South Pacific islands, and the recent bushfires and floods in Australia. Faced with these very concrete consequences on the environment, we seek to interrogate the part played by the arts and humanities in the global discourse on climate change and its consequences, and the part they might play in the future of this region.

This symposium will bring together scholars, writers, artists and filmmakers, curators and cultural actors from Australasia and French-speaking Oceania. Together, they will discuss ideas across languages and disciplines, present recent and new creative works, and initiate transnational and interdisciplinary collaborations around the pressing challenges caused by climate change in Oceania.

The morning of the third day will be dedicated to Déwé Gorodé, writer, activist and former Vice-President of New Caledonia.

The symposium will address key and urgent questions for the region: What can literature, film, music, and the arts do in the face of climate change? How can writers, filmmakers and artists (not limited to French-speaking Oceania) be part of the fight against climate change? What role does culture play in retaining and recording what has been lost, and in shaping a common future for the South Pacific? In troubled political times and pressing environmental challenges for the region, how can culture create and mend connections between people?

A key ambition of this event is also to challenge conceptions around climate change, especially the idea that environmental concerns belong to the realm of science and are separate from literature and the realm of imagination.


L’Université de Sydney organisera les 15, 16 et 17 février 2023 un symposium consacré aux expressions culturelles et artistiques de l’Océanie francophone face aux changements climatiques. Sydney, par sa situation géographique, est au cœur des considérations environnementales qui touchent la région océanique, ainsi que des catastrophes récentes et répétées que connaissent l’Australie et ses îles voisines du Pacifique Sud : montée du niveau de la mer, mais aussi incendies et inondations. Notre symposium a pour but une mise en dialogue entre les arts (arts visuels, cinéma, littérature), les disciplines scientifiques environnementales, humaines et sociales, et les cultures riches et multiples du Pacifique francophone. Dans le cadre de ce symposium, nous invitons des propositions de communication qui abordent les rôles que peuvent jouer les arts et les sciences humaines face aux catastrophes climatiques. À travers cette rencontre entre artistes, écrivains, universitaires et acteurs de la vie culturelle venant et/ou travaillant sur les régions francophones et anglophones du Pacifique Sud, l’objectif est non seulement d’initier de nouvelles collaborations et connections, mais aussi d’interroger le rôle, présent et futur, des expressions artistiques et culturelles dans cette région du monde.

Ce symposium rassemblera des chercheurs, commissaires d’exposition, artistes, écrivains et réalisateurs dont le travail concerne l’Océanie francophone ainsi que des acteurs de la vie culturelle et des universitaires venant d’Australasie. Le symposium sera aussi l’occasion de présenter de nouvelles œuvres et projets artistiques, et de mettre en place de futures collaborations autour des problématiques urgentes pour la région: Que peuvent les arts, la littérature, le cinéma face aux changements climatiques? Comment les artistes, les écrivains et réalisateurs en combat tentils les effets? Comment faire reconnaître le rôle des arts et de la culture dans le combat contre les catastrophes climatiques? Comment la culture permet-elle d’indexer la mémoire de / de mémorialiser / conserver la mémoire? ce qui est détruit par le changement climatique, mais aussi de créer de nouveaux outils pour y faire face? Quel rôle joue la culture dans une région secouée par des troubles aussi bien politiques qu’environnementaux? En faisant de l’expression artistique et culturelle le centre du débat, notre symposium a pour ambition de mettre en lumière la position centrale qu’occupent les arts et la culture, notamment l’importance de la création artistique, face aux problèmes liés à l’environnement.


View the program for Art and Environmental Concerns in Oceania Symposium (pdf, 235KB). Please note that this symposium will include presentations and discussions conducted in French. Interpreters and a bilingual booklet (with information regarding the speakers and their papers) will be available to assist all attendees.

On Thursday 16 February, Rachael Rakena will be presenting the digital artwork Mana Moana Digital Ocean Project.

Registrations have closed.

Call for papers (closed)

  • View our call for papers (pdf, 1.5MB)
  • Abstract submission deadline: 19 September 2022
  • Notification of acceptance of abstracts: 30 September 2022


Organising Committee:
– Associate Professor Michelle Royer
– Dr Nathalie Segeral
– Dr Victoria Souliman
– Dr Léa Vuong

This event is made possible thanks to a Pacific Funds grant from the French Embassy and organised by French and Francophone Studies in the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sydney, in partnership with the Power Institute for Art and Visual Culture and the Sydney Environment Institute. It is also made possible thanks to a Pacific Funds grant from the French Embassy.

For more information, please contact:
Associate Professor Michelle Royer (
Dr Victoria Souliman (
Dr Léa Vuong (


The University of Sydney logo Power Institute logo Sydney Environment Institute logo

Ambassade De France en Australie logo

Banner image: Raiatea Island, Polynesia © Axelspace Corporation via WikiCommons. Cropped to fit banner dimensions. Used under CC BY-SA 4.0.


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The event is finished.


Feb 15 - 17 2023

More Info

Program booklet


The University of Sydney
Camperdown NSW 2006


French and Francophone Studies

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