The Institute currently has four ARC-funded projects focusing on Asia. The Institute recently received ARC funding for the project 'Logistics as Global Governance: Labour, Software and Infrastructure Along the New Silk Road', and in the previous two rounds the Institute received funding for 'Cool Living Heritage in Southeast Asia: Sustainable Alternatives to Air-conditioned Cities' and 'Sydney's Chinatown in the Asian Century: From Ethnic Enclave to Global Hub'.

Current projects

The entrance to Sydney's Chinatown.

Above: The entrance to Sydney's Chinatown.

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Recent past projects

An aerial photo of Shanghai.

Above: Shanghai.

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Shanghai Expo

In 2010 Shanghai hosted the largest, most spectacular and most expensive expo ever. Attracting a staggering 73 million visitors, and costing around US$45 billion dollars, the Shanghai Expo broke the record books in the history of world's fairs and universal expositions. With more than half of the world's population now living in cities, many of which face uncertain futures, this mega event confronted some of the key challenges facing humanity in the 21st Century, with its theme Better City, Better Life.

The cover of the Shanghai Expo book featuring two images from the Shanghai Expo. The top image shows crowds of people walking through the expo. The bottom image show rows of red men statues. Held just two years after the Beijing Olympics, the Shanghai Expo was encapsulated by a moment in history defined by China's rise as a global superpower, and by the multiple challenges associated with developing more sustainable cities.

Between June and September 2010, a team of thirteen researchers from the Centre for Cultural Research travelled to China to undertake fieldwork at the Shanghai Expo. The project investigated the ways in which the Shanghai Expo addressed and revealed 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.

Key outcomes of this visit were a book, video essay and photo essays, all available on the Shanghai Expo website:

  • Winter, T (ed.) 2013, Shanghai Expo: An International Forum on the Future of Cities (opens in a new window), London: Routledge.
  • Salazar, J. F. (Creative Producer) and Winter, T. (Executive Producer) 2011, Shanghai Expo: The City Above the Sea, the Country Above the World. 17 minutes. Institute for Culture and Society, Australia.
  • Photo essays by Tim Winter and PhD candidate Willem Paling.

You can also read more about the Shanghai Expo on the ICS Blog posts Shanghai Expo 2010: the City Above the Sea, the Country Above the World - Notes on a Video Sssay, by Tim Winter and Juan Francisco Salazar; and Shanghai Expo: Seeing the World in Small, by Tim Winter.

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