Southeast Asia to Brighton

Thai dancers at ASEASUK conferenceOur Human Geography team hosted a major conference on Southeast Asia Studies last month.

In collaboration with the Royal Pavillion Museum in Brighton, the conference brought together a diverse group of Southeast Asian scholars, development practitioners, artists and even Shan Buddhist monks, all with an interest in different aspects of Southeast Asian human geography, culture and development.

One of the highlights of the conference was a performance of Thai dance by leading performer Phakamas Jirajarupat and her colleagues (pictured). For me as a Human Geographer, it was fascinating to see what conference participants from Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Malaysia made of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion, built as a ‘pleasure palace’ for Prince William in the 18th century. This unique, opulent building reveals much about how the Far East was imagined and represented by its English architects and designers, none of whom had ever visited that part of the world.

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