Forums: “What Difference Does East Asia Make?”

This forum series scheduled at non-HE institutions across the UK aims to begin multiple conversations about contemporary art from East Asia across the country. We acknowledge the fact that despite the growing number of exhibitions and publications in the UK on the subject in the last twenty years, opportunities for a serious engagement on contemporary art from East Asia are limited.

The obsessive focus on the financial dimension of contemporary art and its market has, indeed, cast a long and deep shadow inhibiting serious consideration of the socio-historical roles of gender, nation/state, ‘tradition,’ and local pedagogical practices, to name a few. The fact that most prominent occasions to showcase contemporary art from East Asia take place within temporary venues, typified by numerous biennales and triennales within and outside of Asia, is a further obstacle to a sustained and ongoing engagement with the question of the relationship between contemporary art and contemporary art from East Asia. In what way do these categories, quintessentially Eurocentric in their etymology, serve practicing artists and cultural institutions? What are the disadvantages of insisting on these categories? What could be an alternative way of thinking about art that emerges from ‘East Asia’ today?

Through a series of open-ended dialogues with curators, researchers, and interested public at cultural institutions in Leeds and across the UK, the public forum series will follow these lines of inquiry through a dialogic format. Contrary to the occasional engagements through exhibitions and biennales, these conversations are envisioned as long-term interventions that over time will build solid intellectual strands of inquiry in the field.


Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art (Manchester), 22 February, 2017  18:00-20:00    click here for details

The Tetley (Leeds) 28 February, 2017 18:00-20:00    click here for details

Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (Norwich) 7 March, 2017 18:00-19:30   click here for details


For further inquiries about forums, please contact us by emailing to engenderingeastasia[at], providing forums as a subject line. Please note that it might take us a few working days to reply to your emails.


Image: from Do Ho Suh’s installation, 348 West 22nd Street at the Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, 2016