The Falkland Islands are the last stop for New Mexico State University's "Global Connections" lecture series. Annie Muirhead, a graduate student in the Public History Program, spent last summer in that nation's capital, Stanley, where she took part in important cultural celebrations.
"First, I attended a bonfire in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee," said Muirhead, a graduate student in the College of Arts and Sciences. "The next week, I joined in the two-day festivities honoring the 30th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War - Liberation Day. It was incredible to feel like a part of this tight-knit community for two such important celebrations."
She will share those experiences in a presentation titled "Living at the Edge of Empire" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, at the Creative Media Institute Theatre in Milton Hall.
Muirhead also spied hoards of penguins living in sand dunes near Gypsy Cove and Yorke Bay, two areas that are off limits to humans because of minefields. She said penguins don't fear humans and can be found nesting near several human settlements in the Falklands.
"The strangest part was peering past the barbed wire and minefield warnings to see them," Muirhead said. "I also took a day trip across East Falkland to Goose Green, a sheep farm that became a battlefield in 1982. I was accompanied by a small group of veterans and the farm's former manager, making the trip all the more poignant."
Muirhead traveled to the archipelago in May 2012, where she worked with the Falkland Islands Museum and National Trust in Stanley. There, she worked to develop and expand their oral history collection.
"I also used the time to conduct research for my master's thesis, which will explore how place has influenced the development of a distinct Kelper identity in the Falklands," Muirhead said.
During her presentation, she will discuss the historical background of the Falklands and screen photos of the celebrations she attended. She will also comment about the island life.
"The Falklands are pretty out of the way for all but the most ambitious world travelers," Muirhead said. "I'll offer a first-hand account of life in the islands, allowing attendees to look past the propaganda."
For more information about her trip you can visit Muirhead's blog at http://anniemuirhead.blogspot.com/search/label/Falkland%20Islands.