About the project

Isles and islands features opportunities to enhance the growth of creative collaborations between the Philippines and the UK. These collaborations are not only a story of creativity, but a story of navigating bureaucracy. Making collaborations visible and identifying how institutional infrastructure can support Filipino relationships with the UK and with the lived histories of the contemporary Filipino diaspora is key to this growth.

This anthology explores the cultural relationships and shared knowledge circulating between the United Kingdom and the Philippines from the perspective of those who criss-cross that space. It brings together contributions from writers, artists, and academics – identifying as British, Filipino, Filipino-British and as global citizens – all working to make contemporary convergences visible.

The British Council is one of the main facilitators for exchanges between the UK and the Philippines. Founded in 1934 and working in the Philippines since 1978, the organisation has developed several programmes to encourage convergences within arts, culture and education. With a recent series of shifts emerging in the Philippine-UK relationship, this anthology, commissioned by the British Council, explores what it means to build complex cultural relationships through the arts, across geographies and within entangled global contexts.

SOAS Philippines Studies Center is a forum for Philippine-related teaching, research and cultural production in the UK and Europe. Established in part by a Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs grant to the Centre for South East Asian Studies in 2017, the PSS Committee develops and coordinates academic research and teaching on the Philippines and functions as an organising centre for conferences, public lectures, film screenings and language classes.


Isles and Islands anthology launch, 18.30–20.30. London time
Assembly; drinks are served (lobby area)
Welcome remarks
Lotus Postrado
Country Director
British Council Philippines
Graeme Earl
Head of College for Languages, Cultures and Linguistics
SOAS University of London
Remarks from editors 
Arianna Mercado
Independent curator; Writer
London, UK 
Rafael Schacter
Curator; Lecturer, Anthropology and Material Culture
University College London 
Deirdre McKay
Professor of Sustainable Development
Keele University;
Chair, ASEAS-UK                             
19.40–19.55 Philippine monuments in global discourse, Kimberley Weir, Independent writer, London, UK
Artistic production and international solidarity, A conversation between artist, Pio Abad and writer, Marv Recinto
20.10–20.30 Film showing of ‘Chasing Dreams’, followed by a conversation between – filmmaker, Baby Ruth Villarama and Keele University Professor, Deirdre McKay
Closing remarks and invitation to reception – Networking.
Moderated by Malaya del Rosario, Head of Arts, British Council in the Philippines

Editorial team

Lead editors

  • Arianna Mercado, Independent curator; Writer, London, UK
  • Rafael Schacter, Curator; Lecturer, Anthropology and Material Culture, University College London
  • Deirdre McKay, Professor of Sustainable Development Keele University, Chair, ASEAS-UK
  • Malaya del Rosario, Head of Arts, British Council in the Philippines

Anthology table of contents

Table of contents
“A big and beautiful city”: Philippine-British connections 1579 to 2022
Kimberley Lustina Weir
David Medalla: A life and legacy between the UK and the Philippines
Eva Bentcheva
Art for all!
Regina Bautista
Letters to Whitehead: A specimen search in London Mica Cabildo
A hostile environment: From Manila to London with Rogelio Braga Rafael Schacter
Connections, care and culture  Deirdre McKay and Nathalie Dagmang
Creating visibility: Pio Abad on institutional navigation  Rafael Schacter
“How does the world define Filipinos?”: Conversation with Baby Ruth Villarama  Arianna Mercado
Mapping the Philippines from the United Kingdom  Cristina Martinez-Juan
Resources and acknowledgments   

See also

External links