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Annual Conference 2014

Oct 16, 2014

More than 150 scholars from Heidelberg and all over the world participated in the sixth Annual Conference “Cultural Mediation: Creativity, Performance, Display” from October 8-10. The event was organised by Research Area B “Public Spheres”.

The conference was opened on Wednesday evening with a keynote lecture by Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Erika Fischer-Lichte on “Interweaving Performance Cultures: A Transcultural Approach”. In her lecture, Prof. Fischer-Lichte argued that the term “interweaving performance patterns” captures more accurately culture’s inherent processual nature than the term “intercultural theatre”. Erika Fischer-Lichte is Professor of Theatre Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin and Director of the International Research Centre "Interweaving Cultures in Performance".

Another keynote lecture was given on Thursday evening by Prof. Dr. Nikolas Jaspert with the title “Cultural Brokerage: A Medieval Mediterranean Perspective”. The Historian examined the relation between cultural mediation and cultural brokerage, with special focus on the Mediterranean. Nikolas Jaspert is Professor of Medieval History of the Institute of History at the Centre for the Study of European History and Culture, Heidelberg University.

The programme of this year’s Annual Conference also included plenary panels in the morning devoted to broader themes around the subject of the conference, and a number of smaller, parallel afternoon panels, mirroring the wide-ranging research carried out in the cross-regional and transdisciplinary setting of the Cluster.

The panels covered various topics, such as “Mediating Art and Art Criticism in Times of Crises: Japan, China, and Europe in the Mid-Twentieth Century“, with lectures and discussions about the role of cultural mediators. Another panel focused on different aspects of translation as a process of cultural mediation from a transcultural perspective. It was titled “Translating Concepts in a Religious Context”. Thematically related to the keynote lecture by Prof. Fischer-Lichte, the panel “Detecting Performance Brokers: Theatrical Agents, Managers and Impresarios in Global Theatre Histories (1850-1920)” defined the nomenclature of performance brokers, describing their activities and profession.

An insight into the links between urbanization and arts gave the session “Building the City Image: Culture, Creativity, and Contemporary Art”. In this panel, the scholars explored how the management of both Western as well as Asian cities has shaped the creative spaces and the role of the contemporary arts in the cities, and vice versa, how artists, critics and curators participate in and contribute to the reconfiguration of the physical and cultural landscape of the cities.

Another highlight of the conference was the session on digital resources organised by the Heidelberg Research Architecture. Among many other issues, the scholars discussed the migration of a digital image collection across multiple implementation technologies as well as image annotation using HyperImage. Prof. Melanie Trede and her team presented several historical Japanese handscrolls, about 20 meters each, both in digital format and, to illustrate its extent, as paper scrolls.

The sixth Annual Conference of the Cluster "Asia and Europe" took place from October 8-10, 2014. It was organised by Prof. Christiane Brosius, Prof. Melanie Trede, and Prof. Hans Harder on behalf of research area B "Public Spheres". Research Area B explores cultural exchange processes between Asia and Europe in public and private fields of social practice. A particular focus lies on the transculturality of visual and textual media entanglements, gender-specific practices, and social networks.

Further information:
Annual Conference Programme
Press Release
Press Release (German)
Photo Gallery
Research Area B: Public Spheres


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  • Participants of the Conference

  • Installation “Limited Art Project” by Yan Lei at the documenta 13 in Kassel.(www.yanlei.info)