Everyday Legend Birmingham Conference 2018



DATE: 10 – 11 SEPTEMBER, 2018


CCVA conference

Registration is now closed.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

During the early development of the People’s Republic of China, major cities were industrialised and historical architecture was severely neglected. The Cultural Revolution (1966-76) provided an extraordinary example of political mobilisation directed against the material and cultural vestiges of the past. Since the 1980s, the pace of globalisation and the force of its reshaping influences have posed a serious threat to the sustainability of Chinese traditions, as Western culture have permeated Chinese cities for an internationalisation. Urbanisation and tourism has turned Chinese traditional art and crafts from indigenous to touristic and commercial, from the local to global. Today in China, much of what is described as traditional is no longer part of an everyday reality, but is instead an item of material culture ranging from discrete displays of museum cases to monumental structures of historical significance.

To reflect critically upon this cultural anxiety, will tradition reinvent the past for the future and translate from China to the world. Tradition stands in the first instance for the heritage including its intangible dimensions of cultural activities and products whose possible extinction is now sharply profiled by relentless social adjustments to standardised industrial production, transnational distribution, mass marketing, centralised media flows, and patterns of imagination that stress the global ahead of the national ahead of the local.

This unique situation in China provides contemporary artists with challenges and opportunities, as traditions are constantly reassessed and reinvented. Looking towards the fragmented traditions, artists stand in various positions favourable to reimagining, appropriating and subverting the processes that traditional art and crafts have long used, harnessing their symbolic potential and exploiting their cultural resonances. Through their practices, artists re-examine, draw from and be inspired by the traditions, including techniques, forms and materials, as well as aspects of their intangible cultural heritages, critically reflect upon their current situations and its implications to the present and future, and ultimately, reposition Chinese contemporary art in the international arena.

This conference aims to reassess the cultural significance of these everyday traditions relevant to China and to the world today, and in particular, responding to the relationship between contemporary art and traditional arts and culture in China. We encourage innovative and interdisciplinary perspectives, including art, social sciences, anthropology, visual and material culture and tourism, in order to develop new understandings of Chinese contemporary art in the context of globalisation.

In addition, the conference will also feature 18 international speakers, reflecting on the conference topic from multidisciplinary perspectives, the full programme will soon be available to all via the registration link.

Image: Liu Jianhua, Filled, 2016. Porcelain, 3 × 68 cm diameter, installation view at Everyday Legend exhibition, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai.