The Institute for Culture and Society holds regular events related to its research and also international events such as conferences.

Asia-related events have included:

Where Is Home: Place, Belonging and Citizenship in the Asian Century

22-23 March 2013, Hong Kong Baptist University

The Institute for Culture and Society, in collaboration with Hong Kong Baptist University (opens in a new window), the University of Amsterdam (opens in a new window)and the International Institute for Asian Studies (opens in a new window), held Where Is Home: Place, Belonging and Citizenship in the Asian Century: a two-day workshop examining the transformations of place-making and cultural citizenship in the era of Asian influence. Professor Ien Ang was a keynote speaker at the workshop and PhD student Kearrin Sims also presented a paper. Dr Sonja van Wichelen was an organiser of this event.

For more information on this event see the Where Is Home: Place, Belonging and Citizenship in the Asian Century page.

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Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) Biennial Conference 2012

ASAA conference attendees in a lecture theatre during a presentation. 

Above: Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) 19th Biennial Conference 2012.

From 11-13 July 2012, the Institute for Culture and Society (along with the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, and the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies) hosted the 19th Biennial Conference of the Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA). The theme of the conference was Knowing Asia: Asian Studies in an Asian Century.

The conference was convened by Associate Professor Judith Snodgrass, Distinguished Professor Ien Ang and Associate Professor Tim Winter.

More than 400 speakers, including some of Asia's most distinguished thinkers, addressed the critical issues facing the region and reflected upon the challenges and opportunities Asia poses to Australia.

Former Secretary of the Department of Treasury and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister, Dr Ken Henry AC, led a panel discussing the federal government's White Paper on 'Australia in the Asian Century'. A series of three panels, including Professor Brett Neilson, explored the special economic zones that have been crucial to the emergence of post colonial Asia as an economic power. Professor James Arvanitakis and Associate Professor Tim Winter also spoke at the conference.

Keynote speakers at the conference were:

  • Professor Lily Kong, Vice-President (University and Global Relations), and Acting Exec Vice-President (Academic Affairs), Yale-NUS College, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • Professor Jie-Hyun Lim, Professor of History, Director of the Research Institute of Comparative History and Culture, Hanyang University, Seoul
  • Professor Prasenjit Duara, Raffles Professor of Humanities, Director, Asia Research Institute, and Director of Research, Humanities & Social Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore.

Photos, and videos of the conference including the keynote addresses, plenary panels and interviews with speakers are available on the Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) 19th Biennial Conference 2012 page.

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The Inaugural NSW Timor-Leste Forum: 'Building Collaborative Partnerships for Timor-Leste'

Ms Kirsty Sword Gusmao with a group of children. 

Above: Ms Kirsty Sword Gusmao

A partnership between The Blue Mountains East Timor Sisters, the Institute for Culture and Society, and the Sustainability and Social Research Group

On 14 July 2012, the Institute for Culture and Society and the Sustainability and Social Research Group hosted The Inaugural NSW Forum: Collaborative Partnerships for Timor-Leste in collaboration with the Blue Mountains Sisters of East Timor (BMETS). The one-day forum brought together government aid agencies, researchers and community organisations to address the need for a more collaborative approach to help support Timorese communities.

Ms Kirsty Sword Gusmao, Former First Lady of Timor-Leste, Goodwill Ambassador for Education, and Director of the Alola Foundation was the keynote speaker at the event, which aimed to create a space for new dialogues between organisations and community groups that have experienced the challenges of and developed expertise in collaborating with Timor-Leste communities.

One of the conference convenors, Dr Gabriela Coronado from the Institute for Culture and Society describes: 'The success of the forum can be measured by the enthusiastic response from a variety of Australian philanthropic organisations, support groups and individuals who voluntarily devote their time to raise funds for developing programs in Timor-Leste in partnership with Timorese communities and NGOs. 150 delegates participated on the day of the forum, including among them academics from 10 Australian universities (plus Western Sydney University), representatives of the Australia Timor-Leste Business Council, the Australia-East Timor Association, AusAID, and 31 other organisations including NGOs, East Timor Friendship Committees and Councils.

For more information on this event see The Inaugural NSW Timor-Leste Forum page.

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Culture in Transition: Creative Labour and Social Mobilities in the Asian Century

Houses in Kolkata. 

Above: Kolkata, India.

A number of events have been held under the research project Culture in Transition: Creative Labour and Social Mobilities in the Asian Century.

A full list of these events can be found on the Transit Labour website (opens in a new window).

Project background

The Asian century has arrived Australia's economic relations with China and India are crucial. Its cultural relations with these nations assume new importance. This project investigates how economic and cultural processes interact to change Australia's position in Asia. Focusing on the experiences of workers in the creative and cultural sectors of three cities (Beijing, Kolkata, Sydney), the project will advance understandings of changing forms of governance and migration in the region. New media will be used to 1) conduct experiments in cultural collaboration between Australia, India and China, and 2) build innovative platforms for the broadening of debates on social inclusion, intercultural dialogue and economic uncertainty.

Shanghai Expo: The World in a City

A large display of a miniature model city, with a temple in the centre. Expo attendees are blurred in the background. 

Above: Shanghai Expo, by Tim Winter.

On 3 February 2011, the Centre for Cultural Research held Shanghai Expo: The World in a City, a free public event for the City of Sydney's Chinese New Year Festival, at Artspace in Woolloomooloo. Researchers (Hart Cohen, Cameron McAuliffe, and David Rowe) and PhD candidates (Scott East and Hilary (Hongjin) He) gave short presentations based on their contributions to the Centre's program of investigation into the 2010 Shanghai Expo. Videos by Juan Francisco Salazar and Sally Leggo were also shown, with a photographic exhibition by Tim Winter in the foyer. The theme of Shanghai 2010 was 'Better City, Better Life', and the event addressed the cultural dimensions of world fairs and urban renewal in the 21st century.

About 60 people attended, including several members of Sydney's Chinese community, academics from other universities, people who do business in China, and tourists who had visited Expo. Plenty of space was made for open discussion, which was lively and informed, and particularly revolved around the significance of Expo for China's global position and for China-Australia relations, in symbolic, political and economic terms. Members of the audience who had been to Expo were also keen to reflect on their experience of the various exhibitions, the enthusiasm for 'Expo Passports', and the endurance of queues!

Before and after the presentations, there was a good opportunity for participants to exchange ideas and opinions on the largest and most expensive World's Fair over some cool refreshments provided by the Centre.

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Heritage and tourism workshops

As part of her ongoing work in Asia, Associate Professor Robyn Bushell has been involved in a number of events.

ASEAN Plus Three Regional Workshop on Healthy Travel and Tourism

10-12 August 2009, Phuket, Thailand

This workshop was held as part of the research for the project ASEAN Plus Three Initiative on Healthy Tourism – funded by AusAID and undertaken for the ASEAN Secretariat. At the workshop the findings were presented, and a strategic plan on healthy Tourism was formulated with input from all the delegates. The workshop was attended by representatives of both the Ministries of Health and Ministries of Tourism from each of the ASEAN member nations and a number of Asian based NGOs and AusAID.

Integrating Heritage Interpretation and Tourism Workshop

19 June 2009, Centre for Cultural Research

This workshop, run for the ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee (ICTC), examined the relationship between heritage interpretation and tourism, and was part of a lead-up to the preparation by ICOMOS ICTC of a  handbook/learning package for World Bank, the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

The workshop brought together researchers from the Centre for Cultural Research, heritage and museum professions and government agencies, in particular the NSW Heritage Office. While not focused on Asia specifically, such publications are very important resources to the region as heritage tourism, particularly World Heritage Sites, form the basis of a very lucrative component of the tourism industry in many Asian destinations.

World Heritage Tourism Initiative meeting hosted by the Centre for Cultural Research on behalf of the Australian delegate to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee

March 2009, Centre for Cultural Research

Dr Greg Terrill, International Heritage and Economics, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Art served as the Australian Delegate to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. During his term, the UNESCO – WH Committee, together with the WHC Advisory Bodies (IUCN, ICOMOS & ICCROM) undertook a review of the  Convention and the Operational Guidelines for the Convention.

As a component of this review they examined the increasing dilemma surrounding the threats of tourism at World Heritage Sites. 

The workshop at Western Sydney University formed part of the stakeholder consultation in the development of working principles to address issues reported by site managers at these sites. Associate Professor Robyn Bushell from the Centre for Cultural Research was part of the planning team with Dr Terrill's department for the planning and conduct of an international workshop in Mogao, China which bought together stakeholders, including international agencies, NGOs and the tourism sector with the aim of identifying these threats and formulating actions for the World Heritage Centre, its Advisory Bodies, State partners and the tourism industry.

UNESCO – World Heritage Centre (WHC) World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Initiative workshop

16-17 April 2009, Karnataka, India

Associate Professor Robyn Bushell participated in a UNESCO sponsored expert workshop on the management of visitation and tourism at World Heritage Sites held at Madikeri, (Coorg District), Karnataka, India. This was the third workshop in the UNESCO – World Heritage Centre (WHC) World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Initiative (WHSTI) to raise the profile of tourism management at World Heritage Sites and provide site management with approaches, tools and methods to enhance the technical proficiencies and capacities needed to administer visitation and tourism. Robyn Bushell was a member of the WHSTI Working Group representing UNESCO-WHC together with a variety of Intergovernmental organisations (UNWTO, World Bank), international non-governmental agencies, tourism operators and a number of participants from various ministries and sites.

The WHSTI program had three strategic goals:

  1. Enhancing World Heritage Committee processes that address the challenges and opportunities of the conservation and presentation of World Heritage sites to the public;
  2. Developing overarching principles with supporting implementation approaches for sustainable tourism within the framework of the World Heritage Convention; securing their adoption by States Parties, industry bodies and World Heritage Site managers and their related agencies and ministries; and
  3. Developing an effective capacity building program.

The workshops aimed to develop mechanisms to advance management capability of various World Heritage Site constituencies in order to meet the mandate of Article 4 of the Convention to protect, conserve, present and transmit World Heritage values.

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