Previous Grant Recipients

Dr Christopher Davis

Post-Doctoral Researcher, Department of Archaeology, Durham University

In 2014 I was awarded a British Academy-ASEASUK ECAF Visiting Fellowship to undertake research at the EFEO (Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-Orient) centre at Siem Reap, Cambodia, investigating the economic, social and roles of the religious institutions of the greater Angkor area from the 6th to the 13th centuries CE. As I had previously specialised in South Asian archaeology, particularly the archaeology of Buddhism and monasticism, the Fellowship provided the opportunity to broaden my perspectives on the roles of religious institutions in past societies with access to comparative archaeological and epigraphic data from Southeast Asia.

The British Academy-ASEASUK ECAF Visiting Fellowship was a unique opportunity that facilitated independent research at a world class research centre. Residence at the EFEO provided access to a vast archival and library resource and also the opportunity to participate in field visits to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor and other archaeological sites in the surrounding area. The Fellowship also provided contact with international experts and students of the archaeology of Cambodia, from the EFEO as well as institutions and organisations affiliated with the Centre. This led to many engaging and stimulating academic discussions that developed and enhanced my Project and also provided future collaborative research opportunities.

 

Dr. Amanda Rogers

Lecturer in Human Geography, Swansea University

I visited the EFEO (École Français d’Extrême Orient in Phnom Penh in May 2014 as part of my ASEASUK-British Academy-ECAF fellowship on ‘Geopolitics and Performance: The role of NGOs in contemporary Cambodian dance’. This interest emerged from my British Academy postdoctoral fellowship, for which I examined the transnational migration and performances of Asian artists in the UK, US and Singapore. Whilst in Singapore I saw several performances of contemporary Cambodian dance, and it seemed that it was being shaped by wider political and economic geographies.

The broad aim of the project was to examine transnational political and economic influences on contemporary Cambodian performance, focussing on the extent to which NGOs and aid agencies enable innovations in classical dance forms. Classical Khmer dance is often discussed in relation to its reconstruction using foreign aid in the wake of the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1979), locking artists into a dependency relationship that fails to cultivate innovation. Conversely, the return of diaspora artists to Cambodia is often depicted as the driving force in contemporizing classical dance.

I wanted to bring these perspectives together to think through how NGOs and foreign donors support companies and individuals experimenting with classical dance forms, the adaptations in creative practice and Khmer identity that result, and the political tensions that surround such backing. I was able to conduct 28 interviews with NGOs and dancers whilst in Phnom Penh alongside two focus groups, and I watched performances at the Bophana Centre Archives. The ECAF centre was really helpful in introducing me to artists they knew or had worked with, as well as French academics working on Cambodian dance.

Her book on this topic, Performing Asian Transnationalisms: Theatre, identity and the geographies of performance, was published by Routledge in 2015.