Tomorrow (20 May): Senegambian Rhythmic Traditions, Embodied Knowledge, and Adaptation

Senegambian Rhythmic Traditions, Embodied Knowledge, and Adaptation

Lamine Sonko and King Marong

Date & time: Thursday 20 May 2021, 3.30–5pm

Location: Kingsland Room, Level 6, ANU School of Music

In this research seminar, Lamine Sonko and King Marong will reflect on their longterm engagement with embodied knowledge of ancient rhythmic traditions in West Africa, as well as current research exploring the adaptation of traditional music, dance, and theatre in contemporary Australia. The seminar will include a discussion and live music demonstration.

Lamine Sonko is a composer, director and multi-instrumentalist, originally from Senegal and living in Australia since 2004. In his artistic practice he draws on traditional wisdom to create inter-disciplinary & multi-sensory arts experiences inspired by his cultural background as a Gewel (hereditary cultural role). His role as a Gewel is to be a keeper and communicator of history, customs, rituals and sacred knowledge through music, dance and oral storytelling. Through his work he has defined new ways to present and re-imagine the traditional African, contemporary and classical synthesis of music and theatre. As a composer he has arranged and recorded award-winning music including two compositions for Grammy Award-winning album ‘Winds of Samsara’ (2015). He has composed and directed large scale works including the Boite Millennium Chorus ‘One Africa’ (Arts Centre Melbourne) and has presented and performed throughout Australia and internationally.

Born in The Gambia, King Marong has been performing professionally since the age of 12. King developed his skills in the coastal fishing village where he grew up surrounded by the griots (hereditary musicians) and international musicians who were his mentors for Senegambian drumming and cultural priorities. In his late teens he formed his band Kunta Kinteh and consequently toured The Gambia, Senegal, UK and Europe. King has since built an international reputation as a master of many African drumming styles on instruments such as the Djembe, Boucarabou, Doundoun and Sabar, performing and teaching percussion to students from around the world.


Performance in the Studio – West African Percussion

ANU School of Music
Wed 19 May, 6–7.30pm

Join Gambian master percussionist, King Marong, Senegalese multi-instrumentalist, Lamine Sonko, music technology convenor Professor Samantha Bennett, and musicology convenor Dr Bonnie McConnell in ANU’s world class recording studio for a special performance/recording exploring Gambian and Senegalese culture.

Please note places are strictly limited to 25.

Click for details and registration.

How to eliminate human trafficking and modern slavery

 More information on the fourth Anthony Low Commonwealth Lecture is available on the  ANU College of Asia and the Pacific website

Topic: How to eliminate human trafficking and modern slavery
from our 21st century world.

Speaker: Julie Bishop, Chancellor of ANU and former Australian Foreign Minister. 

Date: Thursday, 27 May
Time: 5.30-7pm

Location: Lotus Hall Auditorium Theatre, Australian Centre on China in the World,
Building 188, Fellows Lane, Canberra

This is a free event open to the public. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, registration is
essential and numbers are limited. Please join us for light refreshments after.

At present there are no plans to stream it 


12th – 24th May

‘We are bringing to your homes 17 remarkable films’

‘What kind of tickets are available?’
‘You can either buy a Festival Pass which will grant you access to all of the films (A$60 for an individual or A$80 for more than 1 person viewing films), or you can purchase individual tickets for each film you would like to view $8 (for an individual) or $10 (more than 1 person).’

For more information see

Measuring individual-level multidimensional poverty in South Africa

ANU School of Demography Seminar

Date and Time: Tuesday 20 April 1.30-2.30pm

Location: Room 1.23 RSSS Building and By Zoom (details below)

 Presenter: Dr Helen Suich

Title:  Measuring individual-level multidimensional poverty in South Africa

The Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM) is a gender-sensitive and multidimensional measure of poverty, assessed across 14 economic and social dimensions of deprivation. I this seminar, I will introduce the IDM as an individual measure of multidimensional poverty, and provide highlights from the South African country study. Data was collected from more than 8,500 individuals across South Africa, in 2019. I will provide examples of how this innovative tool can provide rich insights into the different patterns of deprivation, and use the data to highlight some of the important differences in the experiences of men and women and across age groups. I will present data from a range of dimensions which illustrate how individual-level data enriches our understanding of multidimensional poverty and can better inform poverty reduction policies and programmes designed.

Helen Suich is an independent researcher, focusing largely on issues of poverty alleviation, rural development and natural resource management, and the design and evaluation of projects and programs designed to achieve these goals. Helen worked as a senior research fellow in the IDM programme at ANU, and led the IDM South Africa Country Study.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 895 2018 9486
Password: 144496

Additional Resources provided by Helen Suich

There are a wide range of resource available for those who are interested in the results of the South African survey and the methods used for the analysis. There are six briefing notes, describing the results for the main sample, as well as the analyses by gender, by age group, by disability status and by rural/urban locality. The sixth summarises the South African country study and the revised data analysis methods. Accompanying documentation includes reports describing the revised methods in detail, as well as providing all of the revised results. A comprehensive report published in May 2020 summarises the initial analysis of both the main sample and the purposive sample, which is available here. There is also a series of videos, one summarising the South African country study, one for the overall results of the main sample, based on the revised analysis methods, and one each describing the results by gender, age, rural/urban locality and disability status.
More information about the ANU-led Indonesia study can be found here.

God, Development, and Technology Transfer: Mediated Ethics between Chinese and Ethiopians

Dr. Liang Chen
Australian Centre on China in the World
Thursday, 22 April 2021, 4.00pm5.30pm

Online and in person, China in the World seminar rooms (Building 188), Fellows Lane, ANU

Details and link to registration here.

Abstract The rolling out of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and overseas projects provides a window to examine the intercultural dynamics between Chinese expats and local communities. Ethiopia, an East African country, has become a strategic partner of China and hosts a growing population of Chinese developers, business people and workers. In this contact zone, assumptions and misassumptions, tentative adjustments, and reevaluation of Chinese and local communities’ relations are abundant to the extent that any culturalist explanation is insufficient to grapple with the Chinese’s evolving ethical experience. This study shows how the Chinese and Ethiopians relate to one another ethically in different contexts and why the boundary between them becomes explicit or less so.

Bio Dr Liang Chen’s research interests involve migration, urbanisation, and intercultural encounters in China and Africa. He has been studying the trans-continental business network of African expatriates in China, the Chinese working in Ethiopia, and Afar pastoralists’ urbanisation in Ethiopia and Djibouti since 2016. He is currently visiting the School of Culture, History, and Language of ANU.

Seminar on Implications for Agricultural Research for Development in Southern Africa

Public Seminar: History matters – Implication for Agricultural Research for Development in Southern Africa

Speaker: Henning Bjornlund, Research Professor in Water Policy and Management at University of South Australia. Since 2013 he has worked on a Research for Development project funded by ACIAR and lead by ANU

Date: 1pm, Thursday 29 Apr 2021

Venue: Frank Fenner Seminar Room
141 Linnaeus Way, Acton ACT 2601,

Also available online via Zoom

For more information and to register go to



This text was kindly provided by Maureen Hickman, Editor of the Royal Commonwealth Society ACT Branch’s Newsletter.  A fuller report will be available in the next issue: see


The challenges facing democratic systems in the Commonwealth was the subject of a Workshop at Government House, Canberra, in March, attended by 32 students from 13 Commonwealth nations including Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia, hosted by the Governor-General, the Hon. General David Hurley, to mark Commonwealth Day in 2021.

The Workshop, on ‘Mending Democracy’ was organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society’s ACT Branch and led by Professor Carolyn Hendriks of the Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU and Professor Jolyon Ford of the ANU Law School. ‘

‘Although emphasis on various aspects of democracy varied according to particular conditions in participants’ home countries – all of which have endorsed the principles of Democracy, Rule of law and Human rights that underpin their Commonwealth membership – there was unanimous agreement on trust and inclusion as the main areas needing ‘repair’.

In developing countries in Africa, aspiring MPs were said to be ‘visible for two months leading up to the election and, after handing out gifts of T-shirts and sweets, then disappearing for years until the next election’. As another student put it, why do politicians value 50 million ‘likes’ on Facebook when most of their people don’t have access to the internet, and where young people  –   representing up to 60 per cent of the population – have no jobs and no education in the political process that would motivate them to vote?

All this, together with long queues on voting day, play their part in eroding trust in a political system, which, without local community engagement, is opaque and inaccessible to the vast majority of people. ‘

‘At the plenary session, Professor Hendriks, pointing out that these were big issues, asked for ideas of how they might be achieved.   The answers ranged from reviving the ‘protest culture’ of previous generations to reforming ‘the institutions’, described as ‘the source of most problems due to them not working well’.

As the Workshop drew to a close, the Governor-General played a major role in the summing up, concluding that Democracy is nor a finished product and would evolve. 


Helen Suich Seminar on The Individual Deprivation Measure – South Africa Country Study Results

The Demography Seminar by Helen Suich will be on Tuesday April 20th. These seminars normally run from 1.30 to 2.30 pm although sometimes those via Zoom are held at different times. Please see the  post on this weblog dated 22/09/2020 on Helen’s research on The Individual Deprivation Measure: South Africa Country Study Results.



ANU 2025 Survey

On March 23rd the Chancellor messaged all staff  about the consultations for the ANU 2025 Strategic Plan which had begun in February.

“The Vice-Chancellor and the senior staff leading development of the four ‘strategic pillars’ have already held six town-hall forums, with more than 500 staff and students in attendance; and the ANU 2025 team has received dozens of submissions and pieces of feedback.”

You can watch a copy of the town-hall recordings are available at

“Today, we have launched the ANU 2025 survey. This is your opportunity to respond to some of the themes and ideas raised during the consultation. You can complete the survey here: “

The link may not be easy to use even by pasting into your browser without the full stop but gives the following information: 

“Questions in this survey were developed from ANU community feedback on the ANU 2025 Strategic Plan. We are again seeking your input before embarking on the next phase of the process.

This survey is open from Tuesday 23 March to 11.30pm Thursday 1 April and will take approximately 10 – 15 minutes to complete.

For more information on the development of the ANU 2025 Strategic Plan, you can visit If you have any additional feedback, please e-mail”