Regarding the participation of Creative Platform for ASEAN-Korea and experiences during PAMS 2022, Jennifer will put down some of her sharing, takeaways, reflections, and suggestions to respond to the Platform’s aim of facilitating more cultural exchange and collaborations between Korea and the SEA region.
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Realities, Resilience, and transformation of
International Exchanges between ASEAN and Korea
Jennifer LEE (Mekong Cultural Hub)
Regarding the participation of Creative Platform for ASEAN-Korea and experiences during PAMS 2022, Jennifer will put down some of her sharing, takeaways, reflections, and suggestions to respond to the Platform’s aim of facilitating more cultural exchange and collaborations between Korea and the SEA region. This wrap-up report aims to deliver her authentic thoughts to share with Korean partners but not thinking they are ready to be public and external states yet. The consideration is because they are not fully thoughtful and carefully considered where they will be used. She welcomes different opinions and disagreements to inspire her learnings on the Platform and in Seoul. She would appreciate being consulted in advance if any parts are worthy of being used in any external documents.
Realities, Resilience, and transformation of international exchanges between ASEAN and Korea
Taking our experiences and learning from the Mekong region, We have connected +170 fellows (mainly independent artists and cultural practitioners) from 19 countries (15 Asian countries) since 2018, raising the inequality and gaps of art, culture, and society within Asia.
With limited resources, we prioritize to serve the Mekong region where less served, so we see the urgent needs; the region is comparatively very much under-supported, connected, under-heard, and under-presented, much less in partnership with regional or international platforms.
WHILE there are voices and presences kind of absent, we encourage the unbalance and absence can be more aware of and supported.
When we discussed sustainability, green mobility, transformation, and what is happening in society outside of the art industry, some friends reminded us they might not be the urgent or prioritized topics in the region, and we agree. Still, we would like to express the shared issues, but our peers in the region also face fragile and urgent conditions of continuing their work. In the region, their ways of working in art and culture are quite diverse and different from the often-seen models in this international platform. When we want more collaborations, please pay attention to intercultural translation and deepen exchange to expand understanding of each other, and also negotiate and share new ways of working across cultures.
(on/offline) International Exchanges in the New Era of De-globalization and Sustainability
Taking about what shifts we have seen or different challenges we have observed in our work and the people we worked with: we do not think there are new ones, but they become harsher and more challenging.
the isolation and fragile financial status of artists and cultural workers
threatened freedom of expression
Resources-led caused scenario is less connection within the region and short-term project-based thinking/implementation instead of vision thinking are often seen
Even before the pandemic, the models of art and culture in the region are already very diverse and different from what we often see in international platforms due to the different local contexts. However, in a way, we found there are very active and self-energized models on the grass root. No mention no culture is higher or less important when compared with other cultures. We see the very rich culture and creativity in the region. While the pandemic has upside down what we used to work and what resources we used to have, we are here to discuss possible new ways and re-look at the locality, there are diverse and creative models in the region.
Experiences on PAMS:
Bring in the topics that are not necessarily already often discussed and embedded in the professional ways of working in the international community of performing arts.
1. Jennifer came from a similar background to the majority of participants of PAMS. Therefore, she recalled what she was trained and occupied in work. The urgent topics that the new PAMS team brought in for discussions on PAMS (i.e., sustainability and green mobility…) are crucial and have already been influenced by some intermediary agents’ considerations and policies. It seems not yet very much recognized, sure and comfortable for some participants, while some seemed to acknowledge they are issues we have to deal with and respond to in professional work of performing arts, they no longer belong to social sectors only.2. Even in the short time of the saloon with representatives from ASEF and ITEM, we could see that they have been reflected and changed some policies on grants and programs. This is an ongoing trend, and the curation team of PAMS has raised, which was with sharp observation and foreseen vision.Market or meeting might not be a moral debate, but a choice on what matters more and is in need regarding the vision of PAMS and the aims of PAMS1. This discussion was raised in some sessions. As an international platform Korea hosted, it is also a good chance to reflect on what was made and developed and served, what will be needed and what Korea would like to serve, and what role the platform will take.
2. Different positioning, of course, will let some leave and some come. This platform has been supported by public funds, and to have a reflective concern on “public” and “what is the role of art in society” is very valuable it has made itself a reflective and responsible body in art and public.
3. Art could be a way of expression and be part of society, and that does not mean art becomes merely a tool; instead, in this crucial time of global crisis, art has to consider itself a public citizen and has its action.
Suggestions for the next step of Creative Platform for ASEAN-Korea:
Next actions: Set up a short term aim in the next 12-16 months
Suggested a mapping and research on diverse models in the region
Findings on what models are effective to conduct fair collaborations embedded with different contexts and state what is fair means in terms of tangible and intangible resources and contributions matter equally
Conducting some focus group discussion mixed of SEA and Korean art workers and some intermediate orgs
Design a longer aim and structure based on the findings from the research/mapping
Regular online meetings go along with the same committee to enhance deeper exploration and discussion to assist the development of the Creative Platform
To have in person workshops every 6-8 months to allow the committee could have active contribution on the development and also bring in the updated conditions from their work and local situations, frequency depending on how the research/mapping project is developing
To have several small sharing on findings in Korea and in the region, which should be strategically inspiring the intercultural translation is so much needed and advocating open for new/diverse ways of collaboration
Invest on interpretations to enlarge the influence and recognition of a wider audience and also of findings this Creative Platform is contributing
Mekong Cultural Hub(MCH) and what is her vision, mission, programs to support aims, the strategic projects in the first 5 years (2018-2022) of operation and direction of next five years (2023-2027). MCH serves people whose work in the intersection of art and society in Asia and priority countries are Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.