CCAT International Research Symposium
Culture+8: New times, new zones
Margaret River, Western Australia
4–6 June 2014
An international research symposium on Media discourse in the translingual / transcultural space between Fudan University and Curtin University, with invited guests from the Culture+8 timezone (Brunei, China, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, Singapore and Western Australia).
Topics for discussion: Dynamics of change; discourse analysis in digital media; journalism in the digital age; literacy, cultural and educational journalism; intercultural communication; practical work and/as research; knowledge transfer, distribution of knowledge and expertise, and informal learning.
Participants ~ Curtin University: Liz Byrski (Professional Writing, School of MCCA); Erik Champion (Professor of Cultural Visualisation, School of MCCA); Tim Dolin (Professor of Literature, Dean of Research, Humanities); Katie Ellis (Curtin Research Fellow, School of MCCA); John Hartley (John Curtin Distinguished Professor, Director CCAT); Rebecca Higgie (Sessional Academic, Communication and Cultural Studies); Tama Leaver (Internet Studies, School of MCCA); Henry Siling Li (Research Fellow, CCAT; Organiser Culture +8); Steve Mickler (A/Professor, Head, School of MCCA); Lucy Montgomery, CCAT Principal Research Fellow; Anna Parkin, Dean International, Faculty of Humanities; Eleanor Sandry (Internet Studies, School of MCCA); Kim Scott (Professor of Writing, School of MCCA); and PhD candidate, He (Jan) Zhang.
Participants ~ Fudan, China: Xiaoquan Chu (Dean, College of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Fudan University); Hu Huang (Executive Dean, Fudan Journalism School); Shuanglong Li (Deputy Dean, Fudan Journalism School); Weiguo Qu (Deputy Dean, Fudan Foreign Languages School); Wen Jin (Fudan University, formerly Columbia University).
Participants ~ University of Macao: Martin Montgomery, Dean of Arts and Humanities, and PhD candidates Xiaoping (Alice) Wu and Hongqiang (Douglas) Zhu.
Participants ~ Shenzhen University: Wen Wen (Head of program Development, Institute for Culture Industries, Shenzhen University).Above left: Group photo, Margaret River. Above right: Dr Wen Wen, Shenzhen University.
View Culture+8 Symposium Program with abstracts and brief participant biographies.
Symposium background: The countries in the Culture + 8 timezone, with all their diversity, are characterised most by rapid transformation, with emergent economic and cultural power. Already China boasts the second biggest economy in the world. From the north (Siberia and Mongolia) to the south (SE Asia and Australia) the development of resources and trade is accompanied by an unprecedented connectivity among people, including technological links via the internet and social media, as well as physical ties via cultural exchange, education, employment, migration, and commerce.
Here, the old polarities that have created oppositions around the world cease to make much sense – divisions between ‘East’ and ‘West’, ‘global north’ and ‘global south’, ‘advanced’ and ‘developing’ nations, natural and human resources; and distinctions between economic growth and cultural heritage, or even between creativity and innovation on the one hand and copying and catch-up on the other – all such inherited antagonisms are in process of dynamic change as new geopolitical, cultural and economic realities emerge. As is so often observed, these changes have outpaced the explanatory and conceptual apparatus that we unthinkingly carry with us from other times and places. The growth of knowledge in and about the Culture+8 zone is no longer adequate to account for its natural and cultural resources, for the people who live, work and travel across it, and for the dynamism, turbulence and changes in evidence within it. We need to rethink our habitual coordinates, categories and concepts. Instead of ‘East’ vs ‘West’, the region evokes new possibilities and emergent risks: turbulence as well as confidence; clash and competition as well as connections and cooperation.
Specialists in the study of culture, media, communication and elaborate forms of expression or performance have been at the forefront of these changes, establishing popular and significant new areas of study that did not exist a generation ago. The Humanities have also suffered the most impact, as university systems move towards educational goals based on science, public policy objectives and employment, rather than humanistic values based on developing the full range of human taste, judgement and decision-making ethic. Thus, even as higher education becomes a significant export industry in its own right (in Australia it ranks third in value after coal and iron ore), the humanities need new arguments to maintain public support for what they do, how they do it, and for whose benefit.
Proposed outcomes: proceedings to be published by Fudan University Press, 2015. Details forthcoming.Image above left: Dr Henry Siling Li, CCAT Research Fellow and Principal Coordinator of the Culture + 8 Symposium. Image above right (L-R): Dr Henry Siling Li, Weiguo Qu, Deputy Dean, Fudan Foreign Languages School, China; and Erik Champion, Professor of Cultural Visualisation, Curtin University relaxing after the Symposium at Margaret River in the south west of WA. (Images courtesy of N Zerik)