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SEA Currents: News



Michael Jacobson wins Elsaesser Award

Doug Karlson, communications@sea.edu
SEA Semester

Tao fishing canoe, or tatala, rediscovered and saved by Michael Jacobson, in storage at Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington. Below: Jacobson with his wife, Cara, and Syaman Lamuran, chairman of the Tao Foundation, with a Tao tatala in Michael’s garage.

SEA Semester alumnus Michael Jacobson (W-72) has been named as recipient of the 2018 Armin E. Elsaesser III Fellowship award.  Michael will use his award to travel to Orchid Island, southeast of Taiwan, to document the indigenous Tao people’s traditional boat building and fishing culture.  Photos and videos will be used to augment an exhibit at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington.

An expert in strategic planning and organizational management, Michael’s interest in the Tao’s seagoing fishing canoe, called a tatala, began with a visit to Taiwan in 1987. Upon his return to Seattle, he recognized two such vessels being used as light fixtures in a local restaurant. Years later he was able to rescue the boats, one of which he donated to the Burke Museum.

Said Michael in his proposal, “this fellowship experience would fulfill a dream to honor the tatalas that I pursued for so long… and to help transmit awareness and knowledge of the Tao culture and traditions into the future.”

The Elsaesser Fellowship was established in 1987 in memory of Armin E. Elsaesser III, who taught Maritime Studies at SEA Semester and sailed aboard the SSV Westward. It’s intended to help one person each year investigate a marine or maritime subject of personal interest, and follow a dream that has been elusive because of the demands of work or study. Projects must be unrelated to their current professional activities and reflect a creative and independent approach to the pursuit of knowledge.  SEA faculty, staff, former employees, and alumni are eligible. Awards range from $5,000 to $10,000.

Categories: News, • Topics: elsaesser  maritime history  featured • (0) Comments




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