Cultural Policy and the Arts in Contemporary China

Date(s) - October 27, 2015 - October 28, 2015
All Day

Organized by



798Today, the arts are recognized not only as works of individual production and subjectivity, but also as a major force in shaping vibrant communities, fostering social engagement, and contributing to economic development. In light of this recognition of the power of the arts on the global stage this is an ideal time for artists, curators, researchers, and policymakers to exchange insights and experiences about the opportunities, challenges, and changes taking place in the contemporary art world. The two-day symposium at the University of Chicago’s Beijing Center included sessions that focused on deepening the understanding of artistic practices, institutions, and policies in the specific political, cultural, and economic context of China.




The University of Chicago Center in Beijing
Culture Plaza  20th floor
59A  Zhongguancun Street, Haidian District, Beijing  100872

文化大厦20 层






9:30am–10:00am    Arrival, registration, coffee and pastries

10:00am–10:30am  Welcome

10:30am–12:30pm  Session 1. Cultural Policy in China: Overview and Current Challenges; and a Perspective from the U.S.
Organizers: Hu Huilin, Wang Jing, Betty Farrell

This session will bring together Chinese scholars to provide an overview of the development of cultural policy in China since 1978, and then to discuss a variety of current policy issues and challenges.


Background on, and current trends for, cultural policy in China
Hu Huilin, Professor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Director, State Cultural Industry Innovation and Development Academy, Cultural Ministry & Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Public cultural services and community participation
Qi Shuyu, Professor and Director, Social and Cultural Department, Chinese Academy of Governance; Director, Cultural Policy and Management Research Center

Interpretation of Chinese Cultural Policy Based on the China Cultural Development Index
Wang Jing, Assistant Researcher, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Vice director, China Cultural Development Index Research Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University & Chinese Culture Promotion Society

Recent US Cultural Diplomacy: Guiding Assumptions and Goals for Global Outreach

Rob Albro, Associate Research Professor, Center for Latin American & Latino Studies, American University

Moderated by Betty Farrell, Executive Director, Cultural Policy Center, University of Chicago


12:30-2:00pm  Lunch break


2:00–4:00pm  Session 2.  Art School and Cultural Production in the PRC, 1978—now
Organizer: Lily Chumley

This session will bring together scholars to discuss the expansion of the art education system in China and the role these institutions have played in changing cultural production over the last four decades. How did art and design education change, and how did these changes affect the visual culture industries? Topics to be addressed include: the revival and consolidation of the academies from 1978 to the early 1990s; the transformation of Industrial Arts programs into Design programs, and correlative changes in pedagogy and practice; the dramatic expansion of student bodies and university campuses in the late 1990s through 2010; the increasing professionalization of the academies with the proliferation of new degree programs (MA and PhD) and new specializations (new media); the decentering of the academy with the establishment of suburban “college towns;” and the integration of state-run academies through revenue-generating public-private partnerships.


Peggy Wang, Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian Studies, Bowdoin College

Kuiyi Shen, Director of Chinese Studies Program and Professor of Asian Art History, Theory, and Criticism, University of California at San Diego

Moderated by Lily Chumley, Assistant Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, New York UniversityDSC_0380WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28


9:30am–10:00am    Arrival, registration, coffee and pastries

10:00am–10:30am  Welcome

10:30am–12:30pm  Session 3. Use Value
Organizers: Geof Oppenheimer and Bill Michel

Chinese contemporary art’s international engagement has made it a known cultural export worldwide. Yet, until recently, it has had relatively few domestic outlets. With the recent development of the Chinese cultural sphere into civil and statist models, what are the repercussions for the arts? What are the social and political stakes in each case? This panel will take up the questions that these new and multiplying venues present in an attempt to unpack the changing role of the arts in an increasingly complex cultural space. This session’s panelists, international curators with experience both in and out of China, will discuss how these new venues are changing the cultural legibility of the arts both in China and on the international cultural stage.


Stephanie Smith, Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Philip Tinari, Director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing

Bao Dong, Independent curator, Beijing

Moderated by Geof Oppenheimer, Associate Professor of Practice, Department of Visual Arts, University of Chicago


12:30–2:00pm   Lunch break


2:00–3:00pm   Keynote. The Arts and China’s Rise to Global Power

Richard Curt Kraus, Professor Emeritus, University of Oregon; formerly Director of the Robert D. Clark Honors College and Professor of Political Science. Author of:  The Party and the Arty in China: The New Politics of Culture (2004); Brushes with Power:  Modern Politics and the Chinese Art of Calligraphy (1991); Pianos and Politics in China (1989); and Class Conflict in Chinese Socialism (1981)

China’s new international status has been led by dramatic economic growth and by (mostly untested) military power. Although the Chinese art world has been transformed, the arts have played a secondary role in China’s rise, despite deeply held Chinese assumptions that power has an important cultural dimension, and remarkable skill by Chinese writers, painters, and musicians. Chinese leaders believe the world ought to show increasing respect for China’s arts, and are frustrated when this happens only slowly.

Why have the arts not yet lived up to their potential in underscoring China’s new global status? Although China has made many accommodations to the international cultural regime, it continues to challenge many of its assumptions, such as the repatriation of plundered art, or the primacy of intellectual property rights. Rising powers (such as China) typically question the assumptions of the existing order, while established powers seem to resist cultural changes more fervently than economic alterations. Because works of art bear emotionally powerful symbols, they can become political flashpoints when international tensions grow. Reviving a cultural Cold War is a tempting strategy for some Western politicians, sometimes reined in only by the complexity of our economic interdependence.

Even patriotic artists may prefer that their work not be treated primarily as fodder for their nation’s rise. For many, the question is how to participate in China’s new status, while retaining newly won professional autonomy. For some, the question of art’s relationship to national status is the wrong one to pose, suggesting central schemes that often treat artists as the planned, not the planners.


3:00–4:00pm     Wrap-up discussion

Moderated by Bill Michel, Executive Director, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago

4:00–5:00pm     Reception







9:30am–10:00am    与会者抵达、签到、用简单茶点

10:00am–10:30am  欢迎辞

10:30am–12:30pm  第一节、中国的文化政策:概览及当前的挑战;美国的视角
组织者:胡惠林、王婧、Betty Farrell





Rob Albro, 助理研究教授,美国大学拉丁美洲和拉丁亚裔研究中心

主持人:Betty Farrell,芝加哥大学文化政策中心执行主任


12:30-2:00pm  午餐休息

2:00–4:00pm   第二节、中国的艺术院校和文化生产(1978今)
组织者:Lily Chumley



Peggy Wang, 美国缅因州鲍登学院艺术史和亚洲研究助理教授
主持人:Lily Chumley,美国纽约大学传媒、文化与传播助理教授




9:30am–10:00am    与会者抵达、签到、用简单茶点

10:00am–10:30am  欢迎辞

10:30am–12:30pm  第三节、使用价值
组织者:Geof Oppenheimer和Bill Michel


Stephanie Smith,加拿大安大略省美术馆主策展人

田霏宇(Philip Tinari),北京尤伦斯当代艺术中心馆长

主持人:Geof Oppenheimer,美国芝加哥大学视觉艺术系副教授

12:30–2:00pm   午餐休息

2:00–3:00pm     主旨发言:艺术与中国崛起为世界强国

Richard Curt Kraus, 美国俄勒冈大学荣休教授;俄勒冈大学罗伯特·D·克拉克荣誉本科学院前院长。著有:《中国的文化新政治:政党与附庸风雅》(2004年);《权力的毛笔:当代政治与中国书法艺术》(1991年);《中国的钢琴与政治》》(1989年);《中国社会主义的阶级冲突》(1981年)。



3:00–4:00pm     结语讨论

主持人:Bill Michel,美国芝加哥大学瑞娃和大卫·洛根艺术中心执行主任 

4:00–5:00pm     招待会


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