Accepted Paper:

Facing the Facebook faux pas: the Sawau Project goes social  
Guido Carlo Pigliasco (University of Hawaii)

Paper short abstract:

A Sawau community collaborative project explores and poses a serious question to the role of digital and social media as tools for “repatriating” audiovisual indigenous cultural legacies, and their capacity to extend traditional cultural worlds into new domains.

Paper long abstract:

Ten years ago the Sawau community of Beqa, an island iconic in Fiji for its firewalking practice (vilavilairevo) launched The Sawau Project (A Ituvatuva Ni Vakadidike E Sawau), a multimedia digital storytelling limited distribution DVD supported by a grant from the iTaukei Institute of Language & Culture in Suva. The Sawau Project created an archival of sites, stories and shared memories of the Sawau people of Beqa. Advocating a form of social intervention in situ, The Sawau Project has become a collaborative tool to encourage digital documentation, linkages and institutional collaborations among Fijian communities and their allies to negotiate and promote alternative forms of sui generis protection of the Sawau tangible and intangible heritage. More recently, with all six Sawau villages linked via open social media interchanges an unforeseen indigenous response to the perpetuation of Sawau cultural heritage glitters ahead. The ability of social media like Facebook to bring ideas, concerns and answers back to the vanua (people of the land) level is suggesting a marriage of the digital and the physical worlds to test The Sawau Project local and global agency. Going social The Sawau Project challenges the notion of culturally alien technologies dissociating indigenous culture from its context and depriving it of meaning. At the same time, the Sawau community predicaments pose a serious question to the role of digital and social media as tools for "repatriating" audiovisual indigenous cultural legacies, and their capacity to extend traditional cultural worlds into new domains.

Panel P007
Producing and transmitting knowledge audio- and/or visually [VANEASA]