Society of Medical Anthropology in Aotearoa (SOMAA) Symposium, 5 December 2018

The 2018 SOMAA Symposium will be held in the Wood Seminar Room (OK 406) at Victoria University of Wellington’s Kelburn Campus. The Symposium runs from 9:15am - 7:00pm and includes a keynote and public lecture by Sonja Van Wichelen (University of Sydney).

The Symposium fee is NZ$10 and registrations are required due to limited space. RSVP to Catherine Trundle to secure your space. The Symposium will be followed by dinner in town; if you wish to join us, please express interest by email when you register (it will be at a reasonably priced set rate).

For more information and updates, visit the SOMAA 2018 Symposium Facebook event page.

ASAA/NZ 2018: Improvising Lives

6-7 December

Massey University's Wellington Campus,

Aotearoa New Zealand

The 2018 ASAA/NZ Conference is jointly convened by Social Anthropology at Massey University and Cultural Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington.

The conference will be held at Massey University's Wellington Campus, Wallace Street, Mount Cook. You can find information about maps, transport and parking here

Conference theme

‘Lives’ are stories lived and written, modes of dwelling and becoming, modes of habitation and co-habitation, modes of accommodation and making do. Lives rarely unfold according to plan; lives are improvised. The 2018 ASAA/NZ Conference aims to consider how we are all Improvising Lives. The notion of ‘improvisation’ evokes images of the unplanned, the precarious, the provisional, the partial, the imperfect, the risky, the fearful, the playful, the imaginative, the joyful, the performative, struggles to make ends meet. Yet, improvisation is often not simply acting without a script, but deeply social, highly coordinated, and intimately reflective of existing worlds of meaning, their histories, inequalities, and discontents We have chosen Improvising Lives as the theme for the 2018 ASAA/NZ conference in the hope that paper contributors and participants will be encouraged to reflect on ways that these ideas emerge within, resonate with, or inform their ethnographic research and writing. 

The notion of improvised lives prompts questions such as: How is improvisation fundamental to the practice of world-making? What kinds of improvisational practices make life liveable? What kinds of improvisation emerge in moments of austerity, authoritarianism, or environmental collapse? What kinds of social coordination underlie the improvisation of life? How can a more robust engagement with improvisation fortify contemporary anthropological methods? How can ‘theoretical story-telling’ (McGranahan 2015) about improvised lives better inform critiques of systems of power and rationality?

Contributions from anthropologists working in any of the established sub-fields of social/cultural anthropology are welcome. In keeping with our theme, we particularly encourage innovative presentations that break with the standard paper format including, but not limited to films, performances, installations, and visual modes of storytelling.

Keynote speakers

Carole McGranahan, Professor of Anthropology, History, and Tibetan Studies at the University of Colorado.

Rob Thorne (Ngati Tumutumu), taonga pūoro composer and performer.

Conference schedule

ASAA/NZ 2018 conference programme (pdf, subject to change)

Schedule of panels (pdf, subject to change)

Please download the pdfs above for the most up-to-date programme information. A basic timetable is provided below.

Thursday 6 December
9:00-11am: Registration, Pōwhiri, Keynote performance by Rob Thorne, and morning tea
11:00am-12:30pm: Panel presentations, Mahi Tahi 1
12:30-1:30pm: Lunch
1:30-3:30pm: Panel presentations, Mahi Tahi 2
3:30-5:00pm: Keynote by Carole McGranahan
5:15-6:30pm: Postgraduate event
7:00-10:00pm: Conference dinner

Friday 7 December
9:00-10:30am: Panel presentations, Visual workshop
10:30-11:00am: Morning tea
11:00am-12:30pm: Panel presentations
12:30-1:30pm: Lunch and ASAA/NZ AGM
1:30-3:00pm: Panel presentations
3:00-5:00pm: Panel presentations
5:00pm: Farewell drinks


Conference registration is now open. To register, please fill out the 2018 ASAA/NZ Conference Registration Form.

Early bird conference registration pricing (ends 31 October 2018) 

Early bird standard registration rate: NZD$160.00
Early bird student registration rate: NZD$135.00

Conference registration pricing (standard rate applies from 1 November 2018)

Standard registration rate: NZD$180.00
Standard student registration rate: NZD$150.00

Conference dinner

Our conference dinner will be held in the evening on Thursday 6 December at Saigon Van Grill Bar, 201 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington. It is a set menu for the set price of NZD$40.00. Please register for the dinner when you complete your conference registration.


Wellington Management Group has a room block of 10 rooms across three different properties available for 4-8 December 2018. This caters to those attending the SOMAA Symposium as well as our ASAA/NZ conference.

These rooms are bookable direct with each property and are on a first in, first served basis.

Please ensure you are prepared to offer a credit card to secure your reservation.

The bookings are required to be made by November 4th at the latest. All rooms left unbooked by November 4th will be released.

Please see the contact information for each property below:

Park Hotel - 2 x Executive studios, NZ$219 per night
Phone: (04) 260 5000

Liberty Apartment Hotel - 3 x One bedroom apartments, NZ$189 per night
Phone: (04) 830 0993

The Setup on Manners - 5 x Queen studios, NZ$109 per night
Phone: (04) 830 0990