State, Society & Governance in Melanesia (4)

Mid-term Review: Teaching the violent past in Solomon Islands and Bougainville?
David Oakeshott
PhD candidate, SSGM
Australian National University

Monday 22 August, 2016
Lecture Theatre 2, Hedley Bull Centre (130),
corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU
3:00 – 4:30pm

This seminar presents some initial findings from 10 months of PhD field research on the role of formal secondary education in the transitional justice processes of Solomon Islands and Bougainville. It has often been understood in the transitional justice literature that for a society to achieve sustainable peace it must change its relationship to its past. It can do this by telling a complete ‘truth’ about what happened, often through truth commissions and public memorials. And it has been argued recently that schooling can help. Thus the fieldwork at three secondary boarding schools in Solomon Islands, and two in Bougainville, focused on ways schools help create or even alter the memories circulating in Solomon Islands and Bougainville about their violent pasts. Data was gathered through qualitative interviews and participant observation with teachers and students at these schools. Interviews with representatives from government and civil society involved in the education system were also conducted.

In the main, participants in both Solomon Islands and Bougainville consistently expressed considerable trepidation about sharing – and even hearing – stories about their recent conflicts. Reasons for this varied between Solomon Islands and Bougainville, and between different regions of each case, and will be discussed in the seminar. Nevertheless some of the data collected suggest that schools may be places that serve to challenge existing ideas some students and teachers hold about the Solomon Islands ‘Tension’ and Bougainville Crisis. Notably this happens less as part of the formal curriculum than in the course of everyday life at school as students and teachers learn to live together. Preliminary thoughts on the implications of these findings for the progress of the thesis, and indeed the role of education in transitional justice, will be discussed.

David Oakeshott is a PhD candidate in SSGM. His research concerns how the post-conflict societies of Solomon Islands and Bougainville are reconciling with their violent pasts, with a particular emphasis on the contribution of post-conflict education reform to that process. Email: [email protected].

Email us
Email us
Copyright © 2016 Australian National University, SSGM All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:

State, Society & Governance in Melanesia Program

Coombs Building
9 Fellows Road

Acton, ACT 2601



  1. You are one of the most talented writers on the entire Internet!

  2. I’ve never ever read anything better!

  3. Happy Lady says:

    I came to the same exact conclusion as you did.

  4. I’m not a big fan of sauce.

  5. Way to go on making a great site!

  6. Now that’s what I call music!

  7. Don’t forget the grilled onions!

  8. Way to go Edward. This blog is amazing!

  9. No one can ever say this site is boring!

  10. Popcorn says:

    Would you like some popcorn?

  11. These two are some real messy eaters!

  12. I keep listening to the news speak about getting boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the most excellent site to get one. Could you advise me please, where could i find some?

  13. I pay a quick visit everyday a few web pages and information sites to read articles or reviews, however this webpage gives quality based articles.

  14. I am in fact grateful to the holder of this site who has shared this enormous paragraph at at this place.

  15. Dan Newman says:

    obviously like your web site however you need to test the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very troublesome to inform the reality on the other hand I will definitely come back again.

  16. Very good post! We will be linking to this particularly great post on our website. Keep up the good writing.

  17. Thanks for all your efforts that you have put in this. very interesting information.

  18. I delight in, result in I discovered just what I was having a look for. You have ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  19. Leah Gill says:

    I’ve recently started a blog, and the information you offer on this site has helped me greatly. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  20. I was curious if you ever considered changing the layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  21. This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something that helped me. Kudos!

  22. If any one wants to be a successful blogger, afterward he/she must look at this post, because it contains al techniques related to that.

  23. James Powell says:

    You must take part in a contest for among the finest blogs on the web. I will advocate this website!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.