Seminar: “What of Dragons and Butterflies?”

While enthusiasm for and interest in contemporary Asian art has grown exponentially around the globe in the last two decades, including in the UK, serious engagement with the field faces many obstacles. The first of these is no doubt the geographic and cultural distances involved: the linguistic differences, the lack of in-depth socio-historical knowledge, and the difficulties of access to works, archives and the immediate contexts in which individual artists are situated, to name a few. To alleviate this sense of double alienation, this series hopes to familiarize those with little knowledge of East Asia with specific keywords, and to unpack the complexities of these through a series of dialogues informed by historical and theoretical understanding. Seminars are open to postgraduates in Leeds and other UK or EU universities, those affiliated with a range of museums and practicing artists.

The seminar series are delivered in two stages. Stage 1 introduces five keywords (gender, Asia, space, body, ornament) in sequence through historical and theoretical readings, and explores their relevance to the contemporary East Asian context. Stage 2 will be focused on the case-study model: in each meeting, works and curatorial context of the selected artists will be discussed in relation to the terms covered in Stage 1. For instance, the first meeting of the Stage 2, “Dragon Lady” will explore works in tandem with the readings and discussions from the first meeting of Stage 1 “Gender: Of Metaphors, similes, and symbols.”

The keywords are selected in such a way that by the end of Stage 2, the cumulative effects of the interrelationships among the terms are highlighted. Each meeting will consist of a short opening presentation by Yao and Fukuoka, followed by a dialogue between them in the morning session. Afternoons will be devoted to discussions in the form of small group activity first, then opened for a larger group. For all meetings, participants will receive readings two weeks prior to meetings via blackboard site dedicated to the seminar.

Each stage consists of five day-long meetings. Stage 1 will meet from 16 to 20 January, 2017 and Stage 2 from 27 February to 3 March, 2017. Each seminar meeting starts at 10:00 and ends at 17:00 with a lunch from 13:00 to 14:00 and tea at 15:30.

The participants will need to fund their travel expense and accommodation. Lunch and tea will be provided during the seminars.

Seminar Dates
Stage 1: 16 -20 January, 2017
Stage 2: 27 February- 3 March, 2017

Seminar Location
Stage 1: Room 1.10
Stage 2: Room G.09

Fine Art Building, School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds

For further inquiries, please contact us at engenderingeastasia[at], providing a subject line seminar series. Please note that it may take us a few working days to reply to your emails.


Image: Tamaki Shindo, Friction, 2011