Centre of Austronesian Studies

Our centres

The Centre of Austronesian Studies (COAST) aims is to facilitate research exchange among Austronesian speaking nations.

With a total population of c. 400 million speakers, the principle connection is in their intuitive recognition. As an ethnolinguistic group of peoples in Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Oceania, and East Africa, the study of indigenous peoples is inseparably connected to the study of the Asia Pacific region. COAST plays an important role in maximising research impact on indigenous peoples by bridging academic disciplines and regions.

COAST is nestled under the Institute for the Study of the Asia Pacific (ISAP) which serves as the umbrella institute for Asia Pacific Studies at the University of Central Lancashire.

COAST Art Prize

Associate Research Fellows

Rik De Basser
Dr Rik De Busser
Associate Professor

Rik De Busser is an Associate Professor and the current Chair of the Graduate Institute of Linguistics at National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan. He has a PhD from the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology, La Trobe University, Australia. A descriptive linguist working in a functional-typological tradition, he specializes in the Austronesian languages of Taiwan and has conducted research on the Bunun language for more than 15 year.

Jasmine Corbett
Jasmine Corbett
Associate Research Fellow

Jas is currently the Project Manager for Manta Trust in Laamu Atoll, Maldives. During her degree in Marine and Natural History Photography, she documented the effects of and solutions to overfishing of marine environments, and felt the desire to pursue a career in marine conservation.

prof Chi-Ping Huang
Professor Chi-Ping Huang
Associate Research Fellow

Professor Huang, Director for the Center for Aboriginal Studies, NCCU, specialises in the studies of ethnography, folklore, intangible cultural assets, Yi nationality and indigenous peoples.

Meret Jucker
Associate Research Fellow

Meret is currently completing postgraduate studies at the ETH Zürich, Switzerland. She is a marine ecologist interested in understanding the impact of anthropogenic disturbances on ecological community composition. For this, she is looking at the use of eDNA (environmental DNA) for species detection and biodiversity monitoring in vulnerable ecosystems.

Dean Karalekas
Associate Research Fellow

Dean Karalekas has been a journalist, educator, and ethnographic filmmaker working in Asia since moving there from his native Canada in the mid-1990s. He obtained his Bachelor of Education (BEd) from Canada’s McGill University, and both his MA and PhD degrees at National Chengchi University in Taipei.

Tobie Openshaw
Associate Research Fellow

Tobie Openshaw is a documentary filmmaker and photographer based in Taiwan for 20 years. His work has been seen on channels such as National Geographic, Discovery, and the BBC.

Professor Futuru C. L Tsai
Associate Research Fellow

Futuru C.L. Tsai is an Associate Professor at National Taitung University and the 6th board member of Directors for Taiwan Public Television Service Foundation (PTS).

Dr Robert Walley
Associate Research Fellow

Bob has a been a Lecturer in Community Leadership and Positive Environments Project Coordinator at UCLan on fixed contracts since 2004. During this time, he has also managed local, national and international community and student engagement research projects involving climate change communication and resilience or supporting vulnerable people, working a lot with refugees and asylum seekers.

Margaret Yun-Pu Tu
Margaret Yun-Pu Tu

Nikal Kabala’an (Margaret Yun-Pu Tu), is from the Taiwan indigenous communities of the Pangcah and Sakizaya peoples.

Dr Simon Green
Association Research Fellow

Simon Green worked in many editorial roles for over 20 years before combining his interests in history, and the Spanish and Mandarin languages, and began studying the Spanish settlements on Taiwan during the 1600s. He obtained his PhD with the University of Central Lancashire in 2023. 

Honorary professors

PhD students


The International Roundtable on Climate Change in the Pacific

The International Roundtable on Climate Change in the Pacific, organised in partnership with Communities Fiji Britain, took place on 28th October 2020. The talk welcomed experts across multiple fields including: Professor at University of Central Lancashire, Prof Niki J.P. Alsford, Youth for Climate Hope Founder and Climate Activist, Ms Krishna Ariola, Lecturer in Asia Pacific Studies, Dr Ti-Han Chang, “There Once was an Island” Producer and Co-Director, Dr Lyn Collie, Lecturer at Kiel University, Dr Silja Klepp, Lecturer at University of Hawaii at Manoa, Dr Lesley Iaukea, “Anotes Ark” Director, Matthieu Rytz, and Tuvalu Climate Action Network Member, Dr Maina Talia.

Call for Papers: Climate Change in the Pacific: Exploring Indigenous Voices on Climate Change

Climate change is unequivocally having a detrimental impact on the lives of many Pacific island peoples. This has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put enormous strains on already fragile systems. The lack of media attention on climate change in the wake of the pandemic has shifted global attention from the plight of a number of Pacific islands. As such, COAST launched its 2021 Call for papers in conjunction with the International Roundtable on Climate Change in the Pacific to promote continued research into the social effects of Climate Change on Pacific communities.

Asia Pacific Film Festival 2020

The Asia Pacific Film Festival took place in February 2020, bringing together films from across the Asia Pacific for screenings and Q&A sessions with the Directors. Films screened included: The Road, Anotes Ark, The Rice Bomber, Let It Be, Plastic China, Sanggye-Dong Olympic, Garden, Zoological, Whispering Star, and No Mans Zone. There were also talks from Sabrina Qiong Yu, Irena Hayter, Director Zanbo Zhang, and Director Toshi Fujiwara.




For more information, please contact Chair of COAST, Professor Niki J.P. Alsford: njpalsford@uclan.ac.uk or our Deputy Chair of COAST, Dr Ti-han Chang: tchang2@uclan.ac.uk