Dr Hye-Kyung Lee (CMCI), Karin Chau (CMCI), and I (Takao Terui, CMCI) launched a new seminar series titled Asian Cultural Policy Research Seminar Series (ACPRSS). This series aims to broaden our understandings about the cultural and creative industries /cultural policy and to contribute to de-Westernising this field and de-colonising our curriculum, by sharing voices of cultural practitioners and researchers from Asia. As a first season of the series, we welcomed two early-career researchers who specialise in Asian cultural policy.
The first seminar took place online on Thu, 25 June 2020 and was titled ‘The Creative City: a sugar-coated policy in the South East Asian second-tier cities? During this first session, Dr Phitchan Chuangchai from Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand presented her findings of creative city discourse in South East Asia. Her lecture highlighted the adoption of the creative city projects in ASEAN and critically investigated its discourse and reality by elaborating case study of Chang Mai City.
In the second seminar titled ‘Cultural Policy and the Performing Arts in Taiwan’, Dr Meng-Yu Lai from Birkbeck, University of London, UK presented findings from his doctoral thesis that examined the long-term trend of theatre performance and cultural policy in Taiwan. He explained the evolution of Taiwanese identity and government policy with a particular focus on the works of the National Theatre and Concert Hall.
Abstract of presentation: Taiwan has a vibrant cultural life in which the performing arts play a significant role. Central to that role is the National Performing Arts Centre which today consists of three government-supported venues across the country: the National Theatre and Concert Hall in Taipei, the National Taichung Theatre and the Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts. Over the last 70 years, there have been striking developments in the performing arts in Taiwan. After the Nationalist government arrived on the island, there was an exclusive focus on traditional Chinese art forms, but since democracy in 1987 many other influences have been encouraged. Both local and international ideas and artists have been welcomed by successive governments whose policies have supported the performing arts at arm’s-length. Taiwan now has its own distinctive cultural identity which has Chinese origins but embraces much else besides. This talk will look at the evolution of Taiwanese identity and government policy between 1949 and 2017 with a special focus on the work of the National Theatre and Concert Hall from its opening in 1987 to 2017 to explore changes reflected in the Centre’s programmes.
Dr Phitchan Chuangchai and Dr Meng-Yu Lai’s presentations illuminated and illustrated significant but relatively overlooked cases in Asian regions. Remarkably, the online events attracted more than 100 audiences from diverse regions including Australia, China, South Korea, Japan, Bangladesh, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Africa and the UK. We had vibrant discussions covering several topics including cultural democracy, cultural identity, minority and marginalised communities, the roles of academics, cultural regeneration, and social inclusion through the CCI policy.
Following the success of these events, we are planning to organise further seminars and conferences as well as develop networks of students, researchers and practitioners interested in cultural policy in Asia. With this seminar series, we are keen to reconsider the (in)visibility of Asia in the research and teaching in cultural policy, and explore ways to make creative interventions into them from Asian perspectives.