Cultural dialogue with China: next step in Shanghai
EUNIC in China is a driving force in the preparation of the third European-Chinese cultural dialogue to be held in Shanghai during the World Expo (19-21 October 2010). The meeting will follow on from the first meeting in Beijing in 2008 and the second one in Copenhagen, in October 2009.
In Copenhagen, over 100 experts and cultural managers from China and 13 European countries gathered for the second edition (19-21 October 2009). Through a mix of plenary lectures and workshops the participants covered topics such as the state of the arts, cultural memory and the creative industries.
EUNIC, led by the Danish Cultural Institute and the Goethe Institut, organised the European participation and the Chinese National Academy of the Arts led for the Chinese.
The cluster in China took an active part and four members attended the conference.
The Danish Foreign Minister opened the meeting, alongside the Chinese Ambassador to Denmark.
“We have seen how the cultural world, from the arts in all its diversity, can provide a force for good, to bring people together, face to face, as audiences and online, as a means for joy, for reflection, for prosperity and above all for enabling trust to emerge”, said Finn Andersen.
The debates, held under Chatham House rules, were open, frank and constructive.
The need to increase cultural relations and understanding between Chinese and European citizens was emphasised by both Chinese and European participants.
"I find it quite hard to communicate some Chinese cultural concepts to Westerners, even those who know a lot about China," says Zhang Zikang, director of the Today Art Museum, a non-governmental art organization based in Beijing.
One recognised difficulty which was mutually agreed is the lack of clear information to guide cultural managers to develop contacts and projects. Chinese cultural managers find it difficult to understand the cultural scenes in Europe and Europeans face the same problem in China. To close this gap the Goethe Institut announced a project to develop a “China-Europe Compass” guide.
The experts also called for more co-productions and a greater attention to 20th century history to complement the better known heritage aspects of both China and Europe.
One of the graphic highlights of the conference was pictograms by Liu Yang illustrating the Chinese and European ways of thinking. You can find them at the end of the report in the China Daily.