China in Britain: Myths and Realities #6,
Friday 24 May 9.30am–5.30pm
The Cayley Room
University of Westminster
309 Regent Street
London W1B 2UW
Entrance is free but strictly limited so it is essential to book your place by emailing Anne Witchard,
‘COSMOPOLITANS FOUR WAYS: ARTISTS OF HONG KONG’S VISUAL DIASPORA’
PAMELA KEMBER, INDEPENDENT ART CURATOR, DIRECTOR OF ASIA ART ARCHIVE, HONG KONG
The ‘cosmopolitan nomad’ articulates the state of existence of a number of migrant Chinese artists originally from Hong Kong who seem to inhabit a transnational existence, in the sense of constantly crossing borders, cultures and communities, internationally. This paper will examine the creativity of four such émigré Hong Kong artists, John Young (AUS), Paul Chan (USA), Suki Chan, (UK) and Simon Leung (USA) and focuses on specific diasporic subjectivites that informs their respective practices to date. The paper will examine the relationship between the diversity of their practices whilst dealing with specific frames of reference: concepts of memory, belonging and displacement.
Pamela Kember has lectured in Art History, Theory, Curatorial Studies and Art Writing at the Academy of Visual Arts, Baptist University, Hong Kong, the Department of Architecture, Chinese University, and Hong Kong Art School. Since her return to the UK, she has been curating, and lecturing on Asian Contemporary Artists of the Diaspora at Chelsea College of Art and Design, the Western Art Library of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the Library of the History of Art Department, Oxford University, and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford where she worked on exhibitions such as the first Chinese Art of the diaspora in the UK, Silent Energy New Art from China, (1993) and Chinese Avant Garde post 89, (1994). Ms Kember has contributed to a host of publications and catalogues on contemporary art, including Asian Art News, World Sculpture News, Yishu, and Third Text. She continues to write and lecture internationally on artists from Asia and Europe and is a recent Advisory Editor and Contributor for a new dictionary for Oxford University Press: The Benezit Dictionary of Asian Artists (New York, 2012). She has also appeared on Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), BBC World News and BBC Radio 3.
TRANSCULTURAL CURATING -
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES ON CONTEMPORARY CHINESE ART
RACHEL MARSDEN, RESEARCH CURATOR, CHINESE ARTS CENTRE, MANCHESTER
Rachel Marsden is Research Curator (part-time) for Chinese Arts Centre (Manchester, UK) chinese-arts-centre.org and Coordinator (part-time) for the Centre for Chinese Visual Arts (CCVA) (Birmingham, UK and China) ccva.org.uk. She is also a PhD researcher at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD-BCU) examining the translation, through interpretation, of contemporary Chinese art in the West since 1980, specifically the idea of a transcultural curator. In addition, she is a visiting lecturer, independent curator, freelance arts writer and avid blogger in the field of contemporary Asian art, specifically contemporary Chinese art. She has recently returned from living and working in China for the past two and a half years and now lives and works between the West Midlands, Manchester and Birmingham (UK).
This paper will discuss how the identity of contemporary Chinese art “transculturally” translates across different curatorial platforms and sites for display and exhibition, in a response to the public’s need to look beyond the local, regional and national to the international sphere. It will examine interdisciplinary examples and perspectives of translation and interpretation, such as the use of participatory programming and projects to encourage new “transcultural” (rather than cross-cultural) social relationships, networks and global exchanges between China and the West.
It will provide examinations of how contemporary Chinese art is analysed, negotiated and presented to the international public audience in today’s changing domain of cultural globalisation, and question whether there is a new type of interpretive curatorial language being created through which to understand and deconstruct the artistic practices and artworks on display.
SERVED IN ROOM UG05
‘THE FU MANCHU COMPLEX’
Daniel York is a founding member of the British East Asian Artists’ group who have pressured the UK theatre industry to gain more opportunities for East Asian theatre artists. As a result of this pressure the Arts Council, Equity & SOLT/TMA recently sponsored an event at the Young Vic Theatre attended by 200 people to raise awareness of East Asian theatre practitioners which Daniel helped organise as a member of the event steering committee and he is currently Vice Chair of the Equity Minority Ethnic Members Committee. His play, The Fu Manchu Complex, will be produced at the Ovalhouse Theatre in London in autumn 2013.
Daniel York was born of mixed Singaporean/English parentage and grew up in the UK. His theatre work in London includes Mu-lan’s award winning production of Porcelain at the Royal Court which was seen by Alan Rickman who recommended him to play Fortinbras to his Hamlet at the Riverside Studios. Since then he has worked extensively in classical theatre with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre. He played Edgar in an English/Chinese bi-lingual production of King Lear (dir. David Tse) which played at Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and at the RSC’s Complete Works Festival. New plays include Nativity at Birmingham Rep, and the lead role in the UK premiere of Chinese playwright Wang Xiaoli’s In The Bag at Edinburgh Traverse Theatre as well as creating the role of Dave Li in Sun Is Shining at London’s King’s Head Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre before transferring for a run off-Broadway in New York. He then toured the USA in Aquila Theatre’s production of Aristophanes’ The Birds. Most recently he has appeared at the Old Vic Theatre in Branded and in the UK premiere of Brecht’s Turandot at London’s Hampstead Theatre.
Feature films include Rogue Trader, starring Ewan McGregor, The Beach opposite Leonardo Di Caprio and the action film Doom. Most recently he appeared in Act Of Grace, a triad thriller set in the North West and starring Leo Gregory, David Yip and Jennifer Lim. He has recently completed the Belfast-set Far Away again alongside Jennifer Lim which is scheduled to be screened at the Belfast Film Festival.
As a writer and director his feature film script Beautiful Friend has been developed by Film4 and a short film, Mercutio’s Dreaming: The Killing Of A Chinese Actor, was recently nominated for four awards at the World Music & Independent Film Festival. He was also selected as part of the Royal Court’s Unheard Voices initiative for emerging East Asian writers.
CLOSING PANEL/SERIES OVERVIEW
AND THE FUTURE
THE HEIGHTS, 14 LANGHAM PLACE
SERVED IN ROOM UG05
‘THE WORK OF MING-AI, LONDON, INSTITUTE 院 徽 涵 意 AND THEIR HISTORICAL PROJECT ON BRITISH CHINESE HISTORY’
Chungwen Li and Aubrey Ko will be talking about Ming-Ai, set up in 1993 to promote social, cultural, educational and economic exchanges among the peoples of Hong Kong, China and Britain ming-ai.org.uk
Chungwen Li is originally from Taiwan but brought up in Hong Kong. She has developed the British-Chinese heritage projects for Ming-Ai since 2009 and is interested in cultural comparative studies. Developed projects so far are East West Festive Cultures, ming-ai.org.uk/eastwest, The Evolution and History of British Chinese Workforce, ming-ai.org.uk/chineseworkforce, British Chinese Food Culture, britishchinesefoodculture.org.uk, and now a 3-year project, started in July 2012, British Chinese Workforce Heritage britishchineseheritagecentre.org.uk
Aubrey Ko is the Research and Development Co-ordinator for Ming-Ai. She has extensive experience in managing community, schools, and cultural projects in the UK. She was born in Hong Kong and started her career in educational publishing after she graduated from the Hong Kong University. She finished her Masters degree in Education at the University of Birmingham and then started working in the community sector in London.
‘ON NOT SPEAKING CHINESE –
THE HIDDEN LIVES OF THE CHINESE IN THE CARIBBEAN’
CHRYS CHIJIUTOMI, ASSOCIATE RESEARCH ASSISTANT FOR ‘CHINA IN BRITAIN: MYTHS AND REALITIES’ #6
This paper will examine the historical and contemporary presence of Chinese communities in the Caribbean and consider what ‘Chineseness’ means in an age of globalization and diaspora, looking at the socio-cultural impact and influences of Chinese Caribbean communities on artforms such as music, eg reggae, literature, theatre, dance, food cultures and visual art.
Chrys Chijiutomi works as a freelance Creative Producer/Artist Manager for camoci, running independent record label ‘camoci records’ and ‘camocivision’. She was Creative Producer of Arkestra Makara – a Pan-Asian chamber orchestra, created especially for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad with clarinetist/composer Arun Ghosh, culminating in a performance on the BT River of Music Asia Stage at Battersea Park. Arkestra Makara brought musicians together from across the continent, including Bhutan, India, Japan, the Maldives, Nepal, Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Sri Lanka, as well as the UK. She is currently taking the MA, Culture Diaspora Ethnicity at Birkbeck College, University of London.
SERVED IN ROOM UG05
‘CHINA IN BRITAIN: CHINA IN THE CARIBBEAN’
DR JUDITH MISRAHI-BARAK,
Few scholars have focused on the Chinese diaspora in the Caribbean, and it is only fairly recently that the literature written by Caribbean writers of Chinese origin has aroused some interest. I would like to interrogate the lack of visibility of Chinese-Caribbean writers, like Meiling Jin (The Song of the Boat Woman, 1996) and Jan Shinebourne (Time-Piece, 1986; The Last English Plantation, 1988; The Godmother and Other Stories, 2004; Chinese Women, 2010). Their ancestors arrived in Guyana in the 19th century as indentured workers, and are now considered as Caribbean writers of Guyanese origin living in the UK, the Chinese element being (almost) erased but not quite. I will also consider Patricia Powell since she is one of the writers of international renown who focuses on the Chinese diaspora in the Caribbean most strongly (The Pagoda, 1998), although she is not of Chinese origin but is a Jamaican-American writer. Looking at the small Chinese diaspora in the Caribbean through the eyes of writers of Chinese origin but also through the eyes of a Caribbean-American writer will allow me to gain a perspective at the crossroads and raise a few questions about the recent emergence of Chinese-Caribbean literature.
Dr Judith Misrahi-Barak is Associate Professor at Paul-Valéry University Montpellier 3, where she teaches English and Postcolonial Literatures. She read English Literature at the University of Paris 3 and at the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Fontenay-aux-Roses, passed the Agrégation and presented a Doctorate on the Writing of Childhood in Caribbean Literature. Her publications include a variety of articles on Caribbean writers and the Caribbean diaspora as well as an interview with Cyril Dabydeen (Commonwealth, 2001) and book chapters in edited collections: La Ville Plurielle dans la Fiction Antillaise Anglophone (2000); Lignes d’horizon – Récits de Voyage de la Littérature Anglaise (2002); Voices and Silence in the Contemporary Novel in English (2009); Hybridation Multiculturalisme Postcolonialisme (2009); Littérature et Esclavage (2010). She has organised several international conferences with invited writers. She is General Editor of PoCoPages, a series in the collection ‘Horizons Anglophones’, published by the Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée. The latest volume she co-edited is Another Life (2012). Diasporas and Cultures of Mobilities is forthcoming (2013).
DIASPORIC MIGRATIONS PANEL
CHAIRED BY DR DIANA YEH
‘HOW JIM WAS SHANGHAIED: 1930s SHANGHAI AND ITS LASTING INFLUENCE ON THE WRITING OF JG BALLARD’
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY IN SHANGHAI
The unique environment of the Shanghai of the 1930s and ‘40s has exerted a lasting influence on the world of English literature through its impact on the distinctive vision of the writer JG Ballard. This paper looks at how Shanghai’s rampant consumerism, highly developed media culture and constant threat of violence influenced not only those of Ballard’s works which deal explicitly with his Shanghai childhood, but also the author’s writing and worldview throughout his career. It’s something Ballard initially denied, but came to acknowledge in his later years – though it’s a connection which has yet to be embraced by the Shanghai authorities.
Duncan Hewitt is a former BBC China correspondent who now writes for Newsweek and other media from Shanghai, and teaches Journalism and Chinese Media at New York University’s Shanghai centre, where he is also an advisor to the Shanghai Studies Symposium. He first lived in China from 1986-7, while studying for his degree in Chinese from Edinburgh University. A brief spell as an extra in the filming of Empire of the Sun at that time gave him a lasting interest in both Shanghai history and the work of JG Ballard. He has an MA in Southeast Asian Studies from SOAS, and is the author of Getting Rich First – Life in a changing China, (Vintage, 2008). In 2011 he was a journalist fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford University, where he researched the relationship between China and the Western media.
‘EAST WEST CONNECTIVITIES IN
RED DETACHMENT OF WOMEN (1964),
AND THE NIGHTINGALE (1981)’
DR GERALDINE MORRIS,
The paper examines the notion of identity by reference to two dance works created in contrasting nations, the Peoples Republic of China and the United Kingdom, and considers the extent to which an aesthetic object can be a representation of a country’s culture. Using a multidisciplinary approach, Morris will examine the ways in which opposing ideologies merge in these works producing an East/West fusion. Red Detachment of Women (1964), created by a collaborative team of three, Li Chengxiang, Jiang Zuhui and Wang Xixian, was made in the years leading up to the Cultural Revolution. It was conceived as a patriotic, anti-bourgeois work, derived entirely from Chinese values and yet is suffused with Western ideals and imagery. The Nightingale (1981) choreographed by Frederick Ashton, the founder choreographer of the Royal Ballet, is a hybrid work, comprising dance and song mixing East and West but perceived as Western. Dances are identified mainly through their choreography, so a dance which embodies a Western style of movement can ever only be partially Eastern, whatever the narrative content. In Red Detachment of Women, while the story, sets and costume are evidently Chinese, the movement and form is balletic and embraces a Western aesthetic. In contrast, The Nightingale borrows from Chinese regional dance but is framed by British balletic culture. The paper demonstrates that by teasing out the complexities of a dance work, the perception of its cultural identity can be both disturbed and challenged.
Geraldine Morris danced with the Royal Ballet Company and subsequently completed a PhD. She now works as a Senior Lecturer at Roehampton University and has recently published a book on choreographic style, Frederick Ashton’s Ballets: Style Performance Choreography.
CHAIRED BY DR ANNE WITCHARD
SERVED IN ROOM UG05
‘ONLY CONNECT: NEW MEDIA AND CHINESE OVERSEAS FROM THE AGE OF THE TELEGRAPH TO THAT OF THE INTERNET’
CHANCELLOR’S PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
This presentation will look at comparisons and contrasts between the ways that different technologies of communication have fascinated and been used by Chinese to keep in touch with one another and learn about the world from the 1870s through the present. Points of departure will include globe-trotter Li Gui’s accounts of telegraphy in his book about his 1876 trips around the world; the role that circular telegraphs played in political struggles of the late 1800s and early 1900s; the significance of the then-very-new form of email in spreading word of the Tiananmen rising among Chinese studying in the West; and the growing importance of blogs, microblogs, online only journals, and other digital forms in connecting people within and beyond China.
Jeffrey Wasserstrom is the author of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2010 – updated edition due out this summer) and co-editor of Chinese Characters: Profiles of Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land (University of California Press, 2012). He has written for many periodicals, including The New York Times, The Guardian, New Left Review, and the TLS. He is Chancellor’s Professor of History at UC Irvine and an Asia editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books.