Dr Niki Alsford
Prof. Alsford has extensive knowledge and experience working with Pacific Island nations. He is currently engaged in a longitudinal study of indigenous voices on climate change, and works closely with the Fijian community in the UK. He is Chair of the Austronesian Centre at the University of Central Lancashire and continues to work with the Council of Indigenous Peoples, Executive Yuan in Taiwan and the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines in Taipei.
Dr Victoria Stead
Dr Victoria Stead is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Alfred Deakin Research Institute at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. She has a Doctor of Philosophy from the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University. Her research interests are in the social transformations generated by globalisation, state- and nation-building processes in Papua New Guinea. Dr Stead’s research has explored land politics, development issues, and migration within PNG and the broader Pacific. Her current research examines the relationships between Papua New Guineans and asylum seekers resettled in the country under the Australian Government’s new Regional Resettlement (“PNG Solution”) policy.
Dr Dan Jorgensen
Dan Jorgensen, Anthropology Department, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada. Professor Jorgensen has four decades’ experience of research among rural Papua New Guineans in the western parts of the country, and has become alarmed by the recent spread of anti-witchcraft violence in areas where it was traditionally absent. He has since that time published on a serious outbreak in that region and has been monitoring news and other reports of similar instances in PNG. He has been particularly concerned by the widespread failure or inability of the authorities to respond to local crises and the human rights implications of a culture of impunity surrounding attacks on suspected witches and sorcerers. Among his most recent publications: “Changing minds: hysteria and the history of spirit mediumship in Telefomin” (2007); “Clan-finding and clan-making: legibility and the politics of identity in a Papua New Guinea mining project” (2007); “Hinterland history: the Ok Tedi mine and its cultural consequences in Telefomin” (2006); Third Wave evangelism and the politics of the global in Papua New Guinea: spiritual warfare and the recreation of place in Telefomin (2005); “The Garden and Beyond: the Dry Season, the Ok Tedi Shutdown, and the Footprint of the 2015 El Niño Drought” (2016); “Mining narratives and multiple geographies in Papua New Guinea: Ok Tedi, the emerald cave, and Lost Tribes” (2014); “Preying on those close to home: witchcraft violence in a Papua New Guinea village” (2014).
Professor Philip Gibbs
Dr Gibbs, Divine Word Missionary, STD Gregorian University, Rome, began studying traditional religion in Papua New Guinea in 1973 and has pursued that interest until now. Study of witchcraft and its effects have taken priority in the last ten years. In recent years Dr Gibbs has spent considerable time helping accused persons reach safety or to find personal and material support. Dr Gibbs is also involved in forming groups to raise awareness about the unacceptability of violence often associated with witchcraft accusations. He has published several articles on this subject, such “Engendered Violence and Witch-killing in Simbu” (Canberra: 2012); “Practical Church Interventions on Sorcery and Witchcraft Violence in the PNG Highlands” (Canberra: 2015); co-authored “Using Mobile Phones to Track Anti-Witchcraft Violence in Papua New Guinea” (ANU: 2015); “Confronting Sorcery Violence in PNG” (Canberra: 2015).
Dr Ryan Schram
Dr Ryan Schram, Lecturer, Anthropology, University of Sydney. Dr Schram is a cultural anthropologist who studies cultural change in indigenous societies of Papua New Guinea, including 20 months of fieldwork Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea in 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2014. One of the principal foci of his work has been the ways in which people articulate relationships between Christianity and traditional cosmology and morality, and Christian religious practices and institutions as sites where people frame their social conditions in historical terms as a narrative of change. He is currently exploring the history and politics of education in Papua New Guinea. He is available to discuss the cultural and historical background of occult beliefs, Christian movements, and the politics of belief in Papua New Guinea.