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Cultural Mediation: Creativity, Performance, Display

6th Annual Conference of the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context"

October 8-10, 2014, Karl Jaspers Centre

This year’s Annual Conference will revolve around the topic of “Cultural Mediation”, exploring the many ways through which cultural practice in its widest sense is translated, negotiated and interwoven. It is organised by Research Area B “Public Spheres” and will take place from October 8 to 10 in the KJC. The conference will highlight how individuals, collectives or institutions constitute, appropriate or alter and recontextualise cultural goods or processes across time and space. Looking closely at these navigations, panels will address the role and importance of mediation, or brokerage, as nodes and expressions of creativity, performance and exhibition.

We encourage panelists to focus on spaces and practices, objects and agents of cultural contact, exchange and translation, and how such a multiperspectival approach enables the study of ‘production’ and ‘trading’ of cultures. The questions animating these lively historical and contemporary contexts of mediation – shaped by local and national contingencies – are fashioned by a sense of place and tradition, progress or development. Cultural mediation thus offers itself for the analysis of modes of resistance to ethnocentrism, to narratives of incomplete modernisation or religio-political extremism. This concept moreover addresses Asia and Europe’s transcultural pasts beyond the erected boundaries of the nation while allowing for a national space to constitute notions of locality and belonging. This would also include the changing and manifold fabrics of cosmopolitan identities, of diverse agents such as pilgrims and diplomats, labor migrants or curators.

Possible themes for panels:

  • the role of public space in the context of new religious experts and media technologies
  • representatives working in the fields of diplomacy, interpreting, journalism, religious missions etc. as “cultural mediators”
  • the ways in which curators of international art exhibitions shape the understanding of “the” contemporary art scene and impacts, by extension, on the global as well as the local art market
  • the management of cities in terms of cultural politics (e.g. creative industries)
  • the fabric of public spheres (also with respect to private/domestic realms) in light of such cultural interactions and mediations.


Our keynote speakers are confirmed: Okwui Enwezor, director of the Haus der Kunst (Munich), the documenta 11 and the upcoming Venice Biennale (2015) and Prof. Dr. Erika Fischer-Lichte, Director of the Institute of Theatre Studies and the Research Centre ‘Interweaving Performance Cultures’ in Berlin have agreed to present talks on the topic of trans/cultural mediation. 

The conference will consist of two segments: two plenary panels à 90 mins in the morning devoted to broader themes around the subject of the conference, while the afternoon segment will feature parallel panels (à 90 min) and individual papers designed to present findings of the wide-ranging research carried out by the Cluster “Asia and Europe”. We particularly encourage young researchers from the Cluster to use this platform and we appreciate panel applications suggesting invited guests (as long as guests do not have their own funding to participate, we have to limit the number of guests funded by the Cluster). A final roundtable will sum up the most important points raised during the conference.

If you would like send an application, please include the title of the panel, an abstract (max. 300 words), and a preliminary list of speakers (inhouse and external). Apart from the usual panel-structure, we encourage creative formats as suggested by our conference topic (e.g., practitioners as panel members).

Submissions for panels are accepted until April 15, 2014 and should be sent to annualconference@asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de

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