ICS Seminar Series - Katherine Gibson, Juan Francisco Salazar and Isaac Lyne

Date: Thursday, 12 March 2020
Time: 11.30am–1pm
Venue: EZ.G.23, Parramatta South campus, Western Sydney University

The Bamboo Bridge: Lessons on Resilience

Presenters: Professor Juan Francisco Salazar, Professor Katherine Gibson and Dr Isaac Lyne

Film Showing and Panel Discussion


For more than half a century, a 1.5 km handmade bamboo bridge spanned the Mekong River in Cambodia. It was constructed annually as the waters of the river subsided and dismantled as they rose again with the monsoon rains. In 2017 it was replaced by a concrete structure permanently connecting the island community of Koh Paen to the bustling city of Kampong Cham. We shot the film The Bamboo Bridge (63 minutes, 2019) as the concrete bridge was nearing completion and the bamboo bridge was being dismantled for the last time.

What can a bamboo bridge teach us about ingenuity and resilience, respect for renewable materials and ethical living? This session will start with the film screening after which Juan Francisco Salazar, Katherine Gibson and Isaac Lyne will open a conversation with the audience about the making of the film and how it aims to illuminate local practices innovatively harnessed to diversify livelihoods and build economic resilience.

Biographies Bamboo Bridge

Juan Francisco Salazar is Professor in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University, a fellow of the Institute for Culture and Society, and Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2020-2023). An anthropologist and filmmaker, his academic and creative work are concerned with the coupled dynamics of social-environmental change and human/non-human relations in extreme environments.

Katherine Gibson is a Professorial Research Fellow in the Institute for Culture and Society at the Western Sydney University. An economic geographer with an international reputation for innovative research on economic transformation, she has more than 30 years’ experience of working with communities to build resilient economies.

Isaac Lyne in an Adjunct Fellow in the Institute for Culture and Society at the Western Sydney University. A development anthropologist for more than 10 years, he has initiated programmes to both promote and explore social enterprise and social entrepreneurship in rural communities in Cambodia.