Event — IIAS Lunch Lecture

The socio-cultural dimensions of aquatic, shoreline and riverine spaces

A lecture by Philip Hayward, adjunct professor at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia.

It will be a hybrid event, meaning you can join in person at IIAS, or online. We will provide a lunch box for registered attendees attending the lecture at our institute in Leiden.

This lecture will take place in the IIAS conference room from 12.30-14.00 Amsterdam time (CET).


This lecture is organised in the framework of the River Cities as Method network, a transdisciplinary network to promote ecologically and socially inclusive revitalisation of rivers and the landscapes/riverscapes, cities and neighbourhoods that co-exist with them.

The Lecture

Since time immemorial, human societies have existed in close proximity to coastlines and waterways. In pre-industrial times, such communities were often relatively insular, resulting in small, densely cultured landscapes known in Japan as shima. At the same time, rivers, lakes, seas and oceans have provided both means of transport between various shima and rich food resources for those able to exploit them. In these contexts, human use of liquid environments has created livelihood assemblages that have recently been termed aquapelagos. These comprise the aquatic spaces between and around terrestrial areas that are utilised in a manner that is fundamentally interconnected with and essential to social groups’ habitation of land and their senses of identity and belonging. The presentation will explore the affinities and dichotomies between these concepts with regard to examples from the Asia-Pacific region. Patterns and correspondence between expansive oceanic spaces and more linear riverine ones will be explored with regard to the human experience and characterisation of these.

The Speaker

Philip Hayward is an adjunct professor at the University of Technology Sydney (Australia) and has held visiting research professor positions at Kansai and Kagoshima universities (Japan), Pattimura University (Ambon, Indonesia) and the University of New Orleans (USA). He has researched extensively in Japan and also in Vietnam, Indonesia, Melanesia, Australia and Western Europe. He is editor of Shima – a journal dedicated to socio-cultural and environmental aspects of aquatic, island, coastal and riverine locales. His work over the last decade had focussed on the conceptualisation of integrated terrestrial and aquatic environments, chiefly explored through the notion of the aquapelago – an assembly of spaces created by Human livelihood activities and inscribed within cultural discourse. His most recent research has addressed aspects of riverine environments in eastern Australia and New Orleans.