ACAHUCH Symposium 2021: Navigating Encounters and Exchanges

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Japanese Room, Melbourne School of Design Glyn Davis Building The University of Melbourne

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Theo Blankley

  • Symposium

24-26 November 2021 | The 5th Annual International Symposium of ACAHUCH
Navigating Encounters and Exchanges: Intercolonial trade, industry and labour mobility in Asia Pacific, 1800s – 1950s 

Buildings for industry, agriculture and trade in Australia, the Pacific and South-East Asia share an important but forgotten history of encounter, exchange, and influence. Industrial heritage is also under-represented in World Heritage lists, with the Asia Pacific region poorly represented and global connections between industrial sites insufficiently understood (Falser & Yang, 2001).

This symposium addresses these research gaps by providing a forum for academics, archivists, and heritage practitioners to share their examinations of unprecedented buildings for trade and industrial-scale resource extraction across Asia-Pacific’s multiple colonial entities and their successor nation-states.

The symposium will feature international and local keynote speakers as well as panel discussions which explore flows and connections of commodity, craft, labour and expertise between sites and communities across Asia Pacific from 1800s – 1950s and beyond.


Alex is a Professor of Architectural History at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests include the history of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British architecture, architecture and empire, national identity and its relationship to the wider built environment, and religious architecture (particularly Anglican and Nonconformist culture in Britain and its colonial empire during the nineteenth century). His particular interest concerns the intersection between European empire and the globalisation of architectural form, knowledge and expertise, including the nature and effects of corporate agency. His publications include Architecture and Urbanism in the British Empire (Oxford University Press, 2016) and ‘Tides That Bind: Waterborne Trade and the Infrastructure Networks of Jardine, Matheson & Co’ recently published in Perspecta.

Julia T. Martínez is an Associate Professor at the University of Wollongong and was an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2013-17). She explores histories of transcolonial mobilities across the Asia Pacific region, and themes of labour, trade and gender. Her books are The Pearl Frontier: Indonesian Labor and Indigenous Encounters in Australia’s Northern Trading Network (with Adrian Vickers, 2015); Colonialism and Male Domestic Service Across the Asia Pacific (with Claire Lowrie, Frances Steel & Victoria Haskins, 2019) and Locating Chinese Women: Historical mobility between China and Australia (Kate Bagnall & Martínez eds, 2021).

Adrian Vickers is a Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Sydney. He researches the cultural history of Southeast Asia. He has held a series of Australian Research Council grants (Discovery and Linkage), the most recent looking at modern and contemporary Indonesian art, Cold War history, and labour and industry in Southeast Asia. Alongside The Pearl Frontier (with Julia T. Martínez, 2015), his books include Bali: A Paradise Created (2012), A History of Modern Indonesia (2013) and Balinese Art: Paintings and Drawings of Bali, 1800-2010 (2012).


We are planning to publish selected papers from the symposium as part of a book proposal on the theme of the symposium. If you wish to be considered for inclusion in the book proposal, we will require submission of your full paper (up to 4500 words, excluding footnotes and references) by 11 February 2022. Details to follow.

Key Dates

1 May 2021– CFP opens. See here for a PDF of the copy
25-26 November 2021 – Symposium (online)
11 February 2022 – Final papers due (optional for those wishing to be considered for inclusion in future book publication)

Venue and Registration

Please note, as of 01 October 2021, the Symposium will be held online due to the changing nature of COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria. All ticket holders who have purchased an in-person ticket with catering will be refunded in due course to the applicable online ticket price. We apologise for the inconvenience.

Please use the Booking URL to the left to register.


The symposium team is Amanda Achmadi (coordinator), Soon-Tzu Speechley, Hannah Lewi, Paul Walker and Theo Blankley. For further details, please contact Theo Blankley, Hub Coordinator, ACAHUCH