By Tim Winter
30 November 2010
Between June and September this year, a team of thirteen researchers from the Centre for Cultural Research travelled to China to undertake fieldwork at the Shanghai Expo World Fair. The project investigated the ways in which the Shanghai Expo addresses and reveals questions of urban sustainability, a rising China, the cultural politics of nations, civic governance, as well as the possibilities and limitations of international, cross-cultural forums for solving planetary challenges.
In bringing together a like-minded group of CCR researchers, the project has several interconnecting elements. An edited collection is now at the proposal stage, and video documentaries, photographic essays, and a public event are all in the works.
The expo was the largest World’s Fairs ever to be held; it attracted a staggering 450,000 people per day, which peaked at over 1 million people on a single day towards the end of the Fair! With temperatures hovering around 37C, fieldwork was intense and sweaty. The research team were not a pleasant group to meet on the underground. But members persevered, and worked frantically snapping pictures of text, jumping queues, stamping passports, making notes and sharing observations, and captured more than 25 hours of video footage, for a mini-doc series on the Expo.
On Friday 29th October 2010, a workshop was held in CCR, which brought together everyone who is working on the project for a day of presentations and discussion. The day provided an excellent opportunity for draft chapters to be discussed and critiqued and represented a significant step forward in the production of an edited volume. Publishers for the volume are now engaged.