The 2015 International Conference
A Dialogue and Critical Analyses of the State of Art Education in a Globalized Culture
June 6-7th, 2015
On June 6, 2015 an international conference – A Dialogue and Critical Analyses of the State of Art Education in a Globalized Culture – was held at Beijing Normal University (BNU) in Beijing, China. The conference was co-sponsored by the Association of Chinese Artists in American Academia (ACAAA), Beijing Normal University’s College of Art and Mass Communication, and the Chinese Artists Association’s Committee on Art Education.
The conference marks a new venture in the activities of Across the Divide. The Across the Divide forum, established by, and in service to, Chinese artists who teach and research in American universities, reinforced its mission and goal of advocating participating artists’ involvement in their academic and creative research. The impetus for the Conference was to give ACAAA members the opportunity to share their experiences teaching in American universities with their Chinese counterparts, to reconnect with their cultural roots, and to create a cross-cultural dialogue about the state of, as well as new developments in, current art education at Chinese and American colleges.
The Conference elicited positive responses from the attendees including members from professional institutes of art education in China. The ACAAA Executive Committee proudly recognizes the scholars who participated in the conference:
Xun Chi – Laguna College of Art and Design
Hanzhi Dai – Loyola Marymount University
Xia Gao – Michigan State University
Xinggui Guo – Tennessee State University
Yu Ji – Cal State Long Beach
Juncheng Liu – Franklin and Marshall College
Nan Liu – Florida A& M University
Qing Liu – San Antonio College, Texas
Xuhong Shang – Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
Yvette Shen – University of Utah
LiQin Tan – Rutgers University
Howard Tran – Lycoming College)
Chen Wang – Cal State Fullerton
Xiaomiao Wang – Texas Tech
Li Zhang – Purdue University
Shaoqian Zhang – Oklahoma State University
Hongtao Zhou – University of Hawaii
Yingxue Zuo – St Louis City College
The Conference Organizing Committee also published a collection of essays on teaching, and a catalog featuring faculty and student artwork. In addition to the Conference presenters, the work of the following non-attending artists and scholars were included in the publications:
Fang Chen – Penn State University
Amy Cheng – State University of New York at New Paltz
Linxia Jiang – Buffalo State College
Lampo Leong – University of Missouri
Susan Messer – University of Wisconsin – Whitewater
Chris Miles – Cal State Long Beach
Peter Xiao – Augustana College
Rebecca Xu – Syracuse University
Jave Yoshimoto – University of Nebraska
Xiaohong Zhang – University of Wisconsin – Whitewater
Jing Zhou – Monmouth University
In the early stages of conception, the Forum Advisory Committee saw opportunities as well as challenges. As the preparatory work deepened and more artists/scholars became involved, the significance of the project became palpable. Two clear objectives established by the Forum’s Advisory Committee was to inform Forum members of the scope and importance of the conference, and establish practical ways for everyone to participate. After establishing the conference format with our hosts in Beijing, the members of the Advisory Committee formed operational teams to insure coherence, and develop a step-by-step plan to accomplish the project. Rebecca Xu called monthly meetings to discuss logistical arrangements and ensure committee consensus; Xiaohong Zhang and Hongtao Zhou oversaw the development of the exhibition and catalog; Yingxue Zuo contributed to the logo design and offered constructive project planning suggestions, Shaoqian Zhang and Yu Ji organized and compiled the submitted essays on teaching for publication; while Xiaomiao Wang served as the main liaison between the Forum and the Beijing hosts.
After one year of intensive preparation, the 2015 international Conference opened to the public in Beijing. On the morning on June 6, Professor Wei Zhen, Associate Dean and Head of the BNU Art Department opened the Conference. Following messages of greetings delivered by Xing Zhou, the Dean of the College and Zuoyu Zhou, Vice President of Beijing Normal University, a number of well-known Chinese scholars in fields of art education addressed the audience. These included Dazhen Shao, Professor and Scholarly Committee member of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Chuxi Qian, Professor, East China Normal University, Shaochun Yin, Professor, Capital Normal University, and Youyun Zhang, Professor of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts.
The opening speeches were followed by an intermission featuring the Teaching Exhibition Reception, which was held on the third floor open hall of the BNU College of Art, Media and Communication. Displayed in large format digital printouts, the exhibition showcased different approaches to studio art and design teaching. The posters included work by faculty and their respective students. Faculty belonging to ACAAA as well as the following colleges were included in the display: Tsinghua University, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Hebei Normal University, and BNU, the host university. Conference attendees enjoyed a relaxed social moment to meet with each other, with students, with guest scholars, and to join in conversation with Xu Bing, professor at Central Academy and one of the initiators of the Forum.
When the Conference reconvened, Yu Ji, Founder of Across the Divide and a member of the Forum Advisory Committee, shared a brief history of Across the Divide followed by an introduction of the participating American university artists. He reported on the Forum’s past activities, current challenges, as well as its goals and visions, giving the audience a clear picture on the presence of Chinese artists in American universities and their impacts brought by globalization to the art education in the United States.
In warm receptions from the audience, Xu Bing gave an insightful view on the life of artists and functions of their artwork in today’s global culture and art education, won enthusiastic responses from the audience. Concluding the morning session, Xiaolin Wang, Central Academy of Fine Arts Director of Academic Affairs and General Secretary of the Chinese Artists Association’s Committee on Art Education presented an overview on recent developments and experiments launched at the Central Academy which reflected cutting-edge developments in Chinese art institutes.
In the afternoon ACAAA members joined their Chinese counterparts in two separate mini-conferences focused on Studio Art and Design/New Media. Xiao Yong, Professor of Central Academy and Chair of CAFA Scholarly Activity Committee led the Design/New Media forum, which featured presentations on issues encountered in the field of design with today’s cutting-edge digital media technology. At the Studio Art forum, Chinese and ACAAA scholars addressed their teaching experiences in both traditional and experimental studio art practices. Joined by guest scholars, students and faculty from the host and other institutions, as well as representatives of media, these mini-conferences concluded with substantive dialogs and productive presentations of various viewpoints of individual scholars.
On June 7th, all participating ACAAA members congregated at China’s Western Returned Scholars Association (WRSA) near Tiananmen Square. By focusing on a cross-cultural perspective, this event was called and hosted by Gu Zong, professor of Beijing Normal University and Deputy Secretary of the Association. Professor Wei Zhen, Forum artists Yu Ji, Chi Xun, Shaoqian Zhang and Yingxuezuo each gave a presentation attended by, among others, Luo Xiaohua, Secretary General of WRSA and Xu Suining Deputy Secretary General. Art China, one of the most representative media institutes in China has reported these two-day event that was organized by the Forum of Across the Divide.
As a follow-up to the Conference, the teaching exhibition travelled to Hebei Normal University and He Bei University of Technology in the City of Shi Jia Zhuang where members of the BNU faculty along with Xun Chi, Professor, Laguna College of Art and Design and ACAAA member representing Across the Divide, shared his cross-cultural experiences with faculty and student attendees. Also, our Forum members, Chi Xun, Chen Wang, and Yvette Shen visited the College of Design of the Central Academy of Fine Arts upon an invitation from Professor Xiao Yong, Dean of the CAFA College of Design.