Public Displays of Affection: How Can Artists Rebrand Soft Power?

For Asia TOPA, Asialink Arts presented Public Displays of Affection—a cross-sectoral conference exploring the fundamental nature of ‘soft power’ agendas and the status of cultural diplomacy, creative exchange and artistic influence across the Asia Pacific.

Asialink Arts’ conference explored soft power agendas and the status of cultural diplomacy, creative exchange and artistic influence across the Asia-Pacific. The conference report invites deeper dialogue on the issues raised.

With the circulation of this report, we invite stakeholders to share their experiences, reflections and perspectives on issues raised. We welcome partnerships in gathering and documenting experiences and building a case for future investment that might prioritise organic, generous and experimental approaches.

Concurrently with responding to your suggestions, we are arranging a number of initial roundtables in Victoria, with the support of Creative Victoria.

The roundtables are designed to delve deeper into what the report describes as ‘development horizons.’ Through the events, we seek to gather ideas, knowledge and expertise from a diverse range of perspectives, prioritising less-heard voices.

The Victorian roundtables are the first in a series of state-based events to be held progressively in coming months. Five state roundtables will be convened for the first series.

The ultimate goal of the PDA program is to highlight regional best practices, reinforce the value of artistic exchange and influence, and formulate new investment opportunities for arts and culture. Bringing Australia and our regional partners together in dialogue, we aim to drive creative engagement between Australia and Asia to build a strong shared future.

Asialink Arts’ brief is national, and we are looking forward to delivering round tables in all states and territories.

Please contact us to share your ideas and let us know how you wish to participate.

'Public Displays of Affection' Conference Report

Are we ready to imagine and manifest a different future, one where arts and culture are at the core of our identity?

Are we prepared to wear our hearts on our sleeves? To be a nation that walks towards tension and incongruity to find compatibility, affection and intimacy?

For Asia TOPA, Asialink Arts presented Public Displays of Affection to explore the fundamental nature of ‘soft power’ agendas and the status of cultural diplomacy, creative exchange and artistic influence across the Asia Pacific.

This cross-sectoral event activated dialogue between artists, creative producers, arts and culture thought leaders, academics, policy makers, and business leaders.

The conference highlighted powerful moments of intercultural exchange and allowed artists to reflect on the influence they can have. Bringing Australia and our regional partners into this discussion helps shape an agenda of mutual benefit where arts and culture play an increasingly important role in soft power. 

Follow live via #PDAForum

3 March, 2020
Old Quad - The University of Melbourne, Parkville Campus

Provocations and Event Recordings

View recordings

Speakers (A–L)

  • Antariksa

    AntariksaAntariksa is an independent historian and co-founder of KUNCI Study Forum & Collective and Bumi Pemuda Rahayu (BPR), Yogyakarta. He is the author of Tuan Tanah Kawin Muda: Hubungan Seni Rupa-LEKRA 1950–1965 (The Relation Between Art and the Institute of People’s Culture in Indonesia 1950–1965) (Yayasan Seni Cemeti, 2005).

    In 2017, Antariksa was awarded a Global South research residency at the Collège d’études mondiales, Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme in Paris. His primary research explores art and the mobility of ideas in Japanese-occupied Southeast Asia. Recent works have been exhibited in major international survey exhibitions including Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber (2019) and 2019 Asian Art Biennial: The Strangers from Beyond the Mountain and the Sea, Taiwan. Antariksa is currently based in Orange, NSW.

  • Prof Su Baker AM

    Prof Su BakerProfessor Su Baker AM is Pro Vice-Chancellor Community and Cultural Partnerships, and Director of the Centre of Visual Arts (CoVA) at the University of Melbourne. With over 25 years’ experience in teaching, research and senior management, she has held leadership roles at Sydney College of the Arts and the University of Sydney in addition to the University of Melbourne. She was director of the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) for seven years and head of its School of Art for 10 years. Su Baker was awarded a Doctorate of Creative Arts at Curtin University of Technology in 2004. As an artist she has exhibited nationally since the early 1980s and her paintings are held in major public and private collections.

  • Penny Burtt

    Penny BurttPenny is the Group CEO of Asialink, Australia’s leading centre for creative engagement with Asia hosted by the University of Melbourne. She joined Asialink from global payments company Visa, where she served as Vice President, Government Affairs, Asia Pacific. Prior to Visa, Penny led External Relations and Client Service Risk for the Asia Pacific with McKinsey&Company.

    Penny is a former diplomat and represented Australia at a senior level in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and at the United Nations in Geneva and New York. She previously served as an Adviser to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs.

    Strongly committed to the social sector, Penny has volunteered with and served on the boards of non-government organisations in Asia, the U.S. and Australia. She has served on the Boards of the U.S. National Center for APEC, the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce, the Singapore American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), and the Singapore Committee of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). She also served seven years as a governor of the Singapore Institute of International Relations and BoardAgender, Singapore’s women’s board advocacy organisation. She is currently an advisor to the Australia-ASEAN Strategic Youth Dialogue; a board member of Meridian 180, a global academic collaboration initiative; and the Asian Business Trade Association.

  • Dr Pippa Dickson

    Pippa DicksonAs the Director of Asialink Arts , Dr Pippa Dickson is committed to facilitating true partnership and cooperation between Australia and Asia in the arts and creative industry sectors. She has extensive arts leadership experience both nationally and internationally. In addition to positions as the director of the National Association for Visual Artists (NAVA) and co-chair of the National Craft Initiative, she founded Design Island for Arts Tasmania and was the founding CEO of the Glenorchy Art & Sculpture Park. Pippa Dickson has raised over $10 million for national and international art commissions and architectural projects, and worked as a project manager and consultant in the private and public sectors for more than 20 years. Outside Australia, she served as international adviser to the Cheongju International Craft Biennale (South Korea) in 2017 and 2019, and undertook a mentorship at the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (Hong Kong) with former CEO Michael Lynch CBE AO in 2015.

  • Madeleine Flynn and Dr Tim Humphrey

    Madeleine Flynn and Tim HumphreyAudio conceptual artists Madeleine Flynn and Dr Tim Humphrey began their collaborative practice in 1993. They were awarded an Australia Council Award for Emerging and Experimental Arts in 2017. Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey create what they describe as ‘unexpected situations for listening’. In 2019–20 they have undertaken projects, commissions and residencies with the Setouchi Triennale, Japan; Regional Dance Centre of Eastern Finland (ITAK); Melbourne Festival; Vitalstatistix, Melbourne; Asia Discovers Asia Meeting for Contemporary Performance (ADAM) Artist Lab, Taipei; Interculture Art Inc. (ICA), Yokohama; Perth Festival; Cove Park, Scotland; MONA FOMA, Hobart; and many others.

    For Asia TOPA this year, Korean producer Jin Yim initiated a collaboration with Korean artist Jihyun Kim. Their installation, When It Rains (I Feel like Eating Jeon), ran 20 February to 1 March at Abbotsford Convent. Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey are based in Melbourne.

  • Carrillo Gantner AC

    Carrillo GantnerArts leader and Asialink patron Carrillo Gantner AC studied at the University of Melbourne, then trained as an actor and worked professionally in the USA before returning to Australia in 1969. He founded the Playbox Theatre (now Malthouse Theatre) in 1976 and held leadership roles with the company until 1993, producing over 200 Australian plays and overseeing the construction of the Malthouse.

    From 1985 to 1987 he was Counsellor (Cultural) at the Australian Embassy in Beijing. Carrillo Gantner has brought many Asian performing artists and companies to Australia and initiated numerous exchanges with the region. He was the first recipient of the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Cultural Leader of the Year Award in 2001, and in 2002 received the Dorothy Crawford Award from the Australian Writers’ Guild for services to Australian playwriting.

    In 2011 he was awarded a Green Room Lifetime Achievement Award. Carrillo Gantner is Chairman of The Sidney Myer Fund and Adjunct Professor at the Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture (ACIAC) at Western Sydney University.

  • Prof Jing Han

    Jing HanProfessor Jing Han is Director of the Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture (ACIAC) at Western Sydney University. She is a leading expert in translating Chinese culture, intercultural communications, audiovisual translation and media accessibility. Jing Han received her PhD in English literature from the University of Sydney in 1995. In 1996 she joined SBS TV and was the chief subtitler and head of the SBS Subtitling Department until 2019, leading the department to international success. Jing Han has subtitled over 300 Chinese films, documentaries and television shows and is the lead subtitler for the popular Chinese reality TV series If You Are the One. Her critically acclaimed English subtitles for this dating game show have played a key role in creating its cult following in Australia and setting the record for the longest showing non-English series in Australian broadcasting history.

  • Prof Katya Johanson

    Katya JohansonKatya Johanson is Professor in Audience Research in the School of Communication and Creative Arts, and Associate Dean (Partnerships and International) for the Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University. She researches audiences for cultural events, cultural policies and cultural diplomacy. In 2019, Katya Johanson co-edited a special issue of the international journal Cultural Trends on audiences for the performing arts. She is currently co-editing the Routledge Companion to Audience Research and the Performing Arts, due to be published in 2021.

  • Konfir Kabo

    Konfir Kabo Born in Makassar, Indonesia, Konfir Kabo is the founding partner of Kabo Lawyers, a law firm based in Melbourne. He is also the CEO of Aksara Group, a service station investment trust. Konfir Kabo has been an avid art collector for the past decade and is a passionate patron of the arts through Project 11, a philanthropic initiative he established with his wife, Monica Lim. Project 11 works with institutions such as the University of Melbourne, Monash University, RMIT University, National Gallery of Australia, Arts Centre Melbourne, Multicultural Arts Victoria and Musica Viva. He also supports health initiatives such as autism research with OTARC, prostate cancer research and the Skin Cancer Foundation.

    Konfir Kabo has recently launched projects in Indonesia, including an education centre in Bandung with Melbourne Polytechnic to deliver audio engineering courses as well as movie production. He was admitted as a solicitor and barrister of the Supreme Court of Victoria and the High Court of Australia in 1998 and is a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand College of Notaries.

  • Jihyun Kim

    Jihyun KimArtist Jihyun Kim studied at the Korean National University of Arts and École nationale supérieure d’arts de Paris-Cergy, France. She works across art forms including interactive media, video, photography, sound and installation. Her art, performance and design works, including album, web and poster design, have been commissioned and presented internationally since 2002.

    Based in Seoul, Jihyun Kim is a member of the multidisciplinary media performance group Alive Arts COMO, and the media and sound group SOUFFLE. For Asia TOPA this year, Korean producer Jin Yim initiated her collaboration with Australian artists Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey. Their installation, When It Rains (I Feel like Eating Jeon), ran 20 February to 1 March at Abbotsford Convent.

  • His Excellency Mr Kwok Fook Seng

    Kwok Fook SengHis Excellency Mr Kwok Fook Seng is currently Singapore’s High Commissioner to Australia. Since joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1995, Mr Kwok has served in portfolios related to South Asia and Latin America, the United Nations and Southeast Asia. At the Singapore Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York from 1997 to 2000, he covered the UN’s Second and Fifth Committees. From 2002 to 2006, he worked on international arbitration cases at the International Tribunal for Law of the Sea and the International Court of Justice. Mr Kwok was Deputy High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur from 2006 and Director-General of the ASEAN-Singapore National Secretariat from 2009.

    From 2011 to 2014, he was Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva. As Ambassador for Climate Change from 2014 to 2016, he worked on the Paris Agreement at the 21st Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2015. Mr Kwok was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Murdoch University in 2020.

Speakers (M–Z)

  • Kristi Monfries

    Kristi MonfriesKristi Monfries is an Indonesian Australian creative producer, curator and arts manager. She lived and worked in Indonesia from 2009 to 2017, specialising in platforms for collaborative, experimental and innovative arts projects between Indonesia and Australia. Since 2013, she has been co-curator (with Joel Stern) and producer at the Instrument Builders Project, which provides a forum across the Asia Pacific for experimental work at the intersection of contemporary art, sound, music and performance.

    In 2010, with several Indonesian colleagues, Kristi Monfries founded Volcanic Winds, an arts organisation currently comprising six people as well as partners and allies. Volcanic Winds has an office, residency and performance space in Yogyakarta. For two years from 2013, she was the program curator and manager at Bumi Pemuda Rahayu (BPR), in the small rural village of Imogiri, Java, where she devised arts projects for the local community. Kristi is based in Canberra.

  • Ali Moore

    AliMooreAli Moore has more than 25 years experience as a journalist and broadcaster, working for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia’s Nine Network, and for the BBC’s global news network, based in Singapore. She has covered major news and current affairs events across the region, reporting from Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China. Her previous roles include ABC China correspondent, host of Australia’s premier late night TV current affairs program (Lateline), and anchor of some of the country’s key business news programs (Business Sunday, Lateline Business). Ali is a former Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne, a position held for two years during which she produced the This Is Not a Drill series with the Wheeler Centre. She is now a freelance broadcaster and journalist.

  • Prof Justin O'Connor

    Justin O'ConnorJustin O’Connor is Professor in the School of Creative Industries, University of South Australia, and visiting Professor in the Department of Cultural Industries Management, Shanghai Jiaotong University. Between 2012 and 2018 he was a member of the EU/UNESCO Expert Facility supporting the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

    Justin O’Connor is currently working on the interdisciplinary Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project, UNESCO and the Making of Global Cultural Policy: Culture, Economy, Development. He is the author of After the Creative Industries: Why We Need a Creative Industry (Platform Papers, 2016); co-editor (with Kate Oakley) of the Routledge Companion to the Cultural Industries (2015); and (with Rong Yueming) Cultural Industries in Shanghai (Intellect, 2018). He has a forthcoming book (with Xin Gu) titled Red Creative: Culture and Modernity in China (Intellect), and is co-editing (with Xin Gu and Mike Kho Lim) Re-thinking Creative Cities in Asia (Palgrave).

  • Matt O'Sullivan

    Matt O'SullivanMatt O’Sullivan is Managing Editor of the ABC’s Asia Pacific newsroom in Melbourne. APN provides TV, radio and digital news services to both local and international audiences, with a firm focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

    Output includes breaking international news for the ABC News website and app; in-depth digital features providing context and understanding around key issues; in-language websites in Chinese, Bahasa Indonesia and Tok Pisin; The World on the ABC News channel; and current affairs programs Pacific Beat, Wantok and Pacific Mornings on Radio Australia.

    Matt O’Sullivan has worked across newspapers, radio, TV and online in a career spanning almost three decades. After working for a decade as a journalist across platforms, he joined ABC’s Rural Department as the presenter of National Rural News on The Country Hour in 2003, before becoming an executive producer and later content director of ABC Rural, steering strategy and editorial direction for almost a decade.

  • Dr Lyndon Ormond-Parker

    Lyndon Ormond-ParkerDr Lyndon Ormond-Parker is an ARC Research Fellow in the Indigenous Studies Unit of the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne. He is a member of the Australian Heritage Council, and the Australian Government’s Advisory Committee for Indigenous Repatriation. His research interests include repatriation, cultural heritage, information technology, community broadcasting and the digitisation and preservation of community audiovisual archives.

  • Louise Partos

    Louise PartosWith extensive experience in the not-for-profit cultural sector, Louise Partos is passionate about empowering artists and communities. She is committed to developing arts projects founded on long-term partnerships that enable genuine cultural exchange.

    Awarded an Asialink residency in 2013, Louise Partos worked in partnership with Afalyca Arts, a community art centre in Baucau, to deliver Timor Leste’s first ever music and art festival, which was remounted in 2016. In 2015, she completed the Asialink Leaders Program.

    She was awarded a second Asialink Residency in 2018, which she undertook at Singapore’s national performing arts centre, Esplanade—Theatres on the Bay. Louise Partos is Executive Officer at Artback NT and lives in Darwin. She is the arts and culture representative on the 2021 Arafura Games Advisory Committee and one of two sector representatives on the NT Government’s Creative Industries Steering Committee.

  • Dr Chaitanya Sambrani

    Dr Chaitanya SambraniDr Chaitanya Sambrani is an art historian and curator based at the ANU School of Art and Design’s Centre for Art History and Art Theory. He teaches courses on modernist and contemporary art in India, Indonesia, China and Japan. Curatorial projects include Edge of Desire: Recent Art in India (2004–07), Place.Time.Play: Contemporary Art from the West Heavens to the Middle Kingdom (2010), To Let the World In: Narrative and Beyond in Contemporary Indian Art (2012) and Savanhdary Vongpoothorn: All that Arises (2019).

    Chaitanya Sambrani is primary author and editor of the major monograph At Home in the World: the Art and Life of Gulammohammed Sheikh (Tulika Books, 2019). His current research project is titled International Affiliations and Cosmopolitan Aspirations: Art, Nation and World in India and Indonesia. Chaitanya Sambrani is a member of the board of the ANU’s South Asia Research Institute (SARI) and served as its deputy director in 2018–19. He is an honorary professor at the Fakultas Seni Rupa dan Desain, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia.

  • Keiji Shono

    Keiji ShonoKeiji Shono is Assistant Managing Director of The Japan Foundation Asia Center. Based in Tokyo, he has organised many of the Asia Center’s cultural programs and events since 2017, including the international survey exhibitions SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now, Awakenings: Art in Society in Asia 1960s–1990s and The Breathing of Maps; the Performing Arts Meeting (TPAM) in Yokohama; the Toshiki Okada and Uthis Haemamool performance collaboration Pratthana—A Portrait of Possession; playwright-director Oliza Hirata’s International Notes, Bangkok Notes and Manila Notes; the Suzuki Company of Toga and Purnati Indonesia production of Dionysus; DANCE DANCE ASIA—Crossing the Movements; and collaborative projects with the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) such as the Asian film showcase CROSSCUT ASIA and the omnibus film-making series Asian Three-Fold Mirror.

    Keiji Shono served as director of the Planning Division and Financial Division of The Japan Foundation before joining the Asia Center. For three years he worked in Los Angeles and New York as deputy director of The Japan Foundation’s overseas offices.

  • John Young Zerunge AM

    Beginning his work with critical writings for journals such as Art & Text, Tension and Art & Australia, Young has exhibited extensively including representing Australia at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Kennedy Centre, Washington; as well as in large-scale touring exhibitions initiated by Australia in the Asia Pacific (1990–2000); and presently in a globally touring exhibition curated by the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto (2019–21). Two major survey exhibitions have been mounted, at Tarrawarra Museum of Art, Victoria (2005), and at the ANU Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra (2013). John Young’s art is held by all Australian state galleries, as well as international museums such as Hong Kong’s M+. He was the founding president of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney. He continues his involvement as a member of the 4A Board of Directors.

  • Prof Cynthia P. Schneider

    SchneiderCynthia P. Schneider, Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, teaches, publishes, and organises diplomacy and culture initiatives. She co-directs the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown, a joint signature initiative between Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and College of Arts and Sciences, with the mission of humanising global politics through the power of performance. Additionally, Cynthia Schneider co-directs the Los Angeles-based MOST Resource (Muslims on Screen and Television) and the Timbuktu Renaissance, a Mali-based platform for countering extremism and promoting peace and development through a focus on culture. Both initiatives grew out of her work leading the Arts and Culture Dialogue Initiative within the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. She publishes and speaks frequently on the arts, culture, the media and international affairs.

    Professor Schneider teaches courses in diplomacy and culture and politics and performance in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, where, from 1984 to 2005, she was a member of the art history faculty, and published on Rembrandt and seventeenth-century Dutch art. She has organised exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

    From 1998 to 2001, Cynthia Schneider served as US Ambassador to the Netherlands, during which time she led initiatives in cultural diplomacy, biotechnology, cyber security and education.

Facilitators and Rapporteurs (Breakout Sessions)

  • Dr Danny Butt

    Dr Danny Butt

    Dr Danny Butt is Associate Director (Research) at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, where he coordinates programs in social practice and community engagement, and graduate research in the PhD and MFA programs.

  • Nicole Beyer

    Nicole Beyer

    Leading Australian arts advocate Nicole Beyer is Executive Director of Theatre Network Australia, an influential national service organisation for small-to-medium and independent performing arts organisations.

  • Dr Sadiah Boonstra

    SadiahJakarta-based curator, producer and historian Dr Sadiah Boonstra was appointed 2019–20 Asia Scholar at the University of Melbourne to support her role as Curator of Public Programs at Asia TOPA.

  • Amrit Gill

    Amrit GillAmrit Gill is Director, International Development, at the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body. She has worked in various roles in the Australian arts sector in community arts and cultural development, social enterprise and international cultural relations.

  • Dr Xin Gu

    XinGuDr Xin Gu is a member of the EU/UNESCO Expert Facility (2019–22) supporting the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. She leads the Master of Cultural and Creative Industries program at Monash University.

  • Amanda Haskard

    Amanda Haskard
    Amanda Haskard is a curator working in socially engaged practice. She is currently the Co-Artistic Director of Volcanic Winds, an arts organisation dedicated to experimental and interdisciplinary practices from Australia and Southeast Asia.

  • Andrew Tetzlaff

    Andrew TetzlaffAndrew Tetzlaff is an artist and curator whose research explores creative strategies for being attentive to the world. He is the coordinator of RMIT Intersect at RMIT University, where he facilitates and produces a dynamic program of exhibitions, studio residencies, creative laboratories and critical discussions.


  • 9:00 am - Welcome

    Conference MC—Ali Moore
    Welcome to Country—Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Elder Ron Jones
    Welcome to the conference—Penny Burtt and Dr Pippa Dickson

  • 9:20 am - Defined by Our Actions: Image, Identity and Influence

    The need has rarely been greater, but government resources for soft-power tools including public broadcasting and the arts have diminished. Artists and arts projects communicate identity in a number of ways. What do our creative projects say about us as a nation and how can these be amplified against a background of diverse and changing political and economic interests?

    Speakers include:

    • Ali Moore
    • Matt O'Sullivan
    • Konfir Kabo
    • Louise Partos

    Q & A

  • 10:20 am - Not an Abstract Matter

    The role of the arts in projecting soft power is not an abstract matter. What are the models for artist-led engagement across the Asia Pacific? What are the values shared when cultural knowledge and social experiences are exchanged through artistic practice, in different geopolitical environments? What resources, agencies and frameworks have enabled artists to grow their projects? And what do we do as an artistic community when artists are denied the right to express themselves?

    Speakers include:

    • Ali Moore
    • Madeleine Flynn, Dr Tim Humphrey and Jihyun Kim
    • John Young Zerunge AM
    • Kristi Monfries and Antariksa

    Q & A

  • 11:10 am - Morning Tea (catered)
  • 11:30 am - Realities and Visions for Cultural Diplomacy

    Artists can put forward alternative visions of the world and create innovative approaches to cultural diplomacy. What are the modalities used? Is it possible to imagine a future for cultural diplomacy in Australia where historical and contemporary uses of First Nations cultural protocols are foregrounded? How can we explore soft power through cultural differences, intercultural communications and cultural translation?

    Speakers include:

    • Dr Chaitanya Sambrani
    • Dr Lyndon Ormond-Parker
    • Prof Katya Johanson
    • Prof Jing Han

    Q & A

  • 12:20 pm - Lunch (catered)
  • 1:05 pm - Neighbourhood Watch: What Can Cultural Diplomacy Do?

    What role do the arts and cultural diplomacy have in shaping relationships between states in the Asia Pacific? As we look to the innovators across our region, where is Australia in the activity and conversation? What frameworks, partnerships and policies are working and what are we able to learn from practices and funding models?

    Speakers include:

    • Ali Moore
    • Carrillo Gantner AC
    • His Excellency Mr Kwok Fook Seng, High Commissioner for Singapore
    • Keiji Shono

    Q & A

    Introduction to parallel breakout sessions—Su Baker AM

  • 2:05 pm - Parallel Breakouts Session 1: Mapping

    This session will bring forward key issues from previous plenaries. It will introduce diverse opinions and perspectives through facilitated group discussion.

    • Group 1 : International investment in the arts and artists: challenges, models, opportunities
    • Group 2 : Cross-cultural alliances, co-creating and co-commissioning: perceptions, partnerships, risks
    • Group 3 : Regional architectures and institutions for co-operation: frameworks, agencies, allegiances.
  • 2:40 pm - Afternoon Tea
  • 3:00 pm - Parallel Breakouts Session 2: Future Actions

    Building on the mapping exercise, this session will propose actions—research, resources, policy, advocacy, collaboration—within Australia and abroad. It will explore what has emerged as urgent, who is responsible for next steps and how we can best continue the dialogue.

    • Group 1: International investment in the arts and artists: challenges, models, opportunities
    • Group 2: Cross-cultural alliances, co-creating and co-commissioning: perceptions, partnerships, risks
    • Group 3: Regional architectures and institutions for co-operation: frameworks, agencies, allegiances
  • 3:45 pm - Reporting

    Rapporteurs from each of the three groups share findings and future actions.

    Speakers include:

    • Su Baker AM
    • Rapporteurs
  • 4:25 pm - Strategies

    This session will take a pragmatic approach to promoting the arts as a soft power tool. How can future issues concerning the arts become government policy, and how will this increase Australia’s connectedness to the outside world?

    Speakers include:

    • Dr Pippa Dickson
    • His Excellency Mr Kwok Fook Seng, High Commissioner for Singapore
    • Kristi Monfries
    • Prof Justin O'Connor
    • Prof Cynthia Schneider

    Q & A

    Closing and thanks—Penny Burtt

Convened by Asialink Arts as part of Asia TOPA 2020.

Supported by Centre of Visual Art (CoVA), University of Melbourne, and by the Master of Cultural and Creative Industries, Monash University.

In its second iteration, Asia TOPA: Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts celebrates the creative imagination of artists and cultures in the Asia-Pacific region.

Learn more at