International conference «Culture Asia: Connecting Asian Cultural Actors»

When: December 14-16, 2008
Where: Bangalore, state Karnataka, India
Language: English

Who took part from Aigine: Gulnara Aitpaeva, Aida Alymbaeva
Conference organized by HIVOS (Humanist Institute for Co-operation with Developing Countries), The Netherlands; the Open Society Institute (OSI), Hungary; in cooperation with the Center for the Study of Culture and Society (CSCS), India

The conference «Culture Asia: Connecting Asian Cultural Actors» was held under the program “Cultural Stakeholders Meeting Asia». The specificity of this conference is in gathering together about 80 representatives of arts, culture and civil society from two seemingly isolated regions: Central and South-West Asia. There where artists, cultural theorists and activists, representatives of national and transnational donors, who work in these regions. The conference gave the possibility to participants to know each other, about state and tendencies of modern arts and culture of India, Indonesia, Sri-Lanka, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Mongolia. Through it there where represented various historical, political, social and cultural contexts.

The goal of the conference posted by organizers was share and forming new initiatives for enhancing of arts and culture field in South-West and Central Asia. Participants shared with their experiences of productive strategies of cultural activism and civil society building in Asia.

During the conference there were discussed challenges which arts and culture face in the modern time (globalization, migration, post-colonial inheritance etc.); along with possibilities which the present time gives to culture production and expressions. It was also discussed the role of networking in production, promoting and disseminating of diversity cultural forms. Thus networks create platforms for interrelations of cultural actors, which can take role of mediators between producer market and the state. Another important issue suggested by organizers to discuss was understanding of difference and similarity of cultural actors in different Asian societies; definition of needs and priorities, obstacles, sharing with the experience of its solutions; networks enhancing; search for additional sources and stimulating; and forming and suggestion new joint initiatives.
The main organizational approach to the conference differs with high level of interaction and intensity. The structure of each day was built on the key lecture of the day-theme and following panel discussions; and a few workshops for each day-theme.
Themes of the days:

  • Contemporary artistic creativity in Asia and civil society
  • Sustainability of the arts and culture in a civil society
  • Strengthening the cultural field: Networking, cooperation and advocacy

Topics of the workshops where Gulnara and Aida took part at:

  • Culture as a social and political force in the post-colonial societies
  • Contemporary and traditional artistic forms and the challenges of transition and globalization
  • Cultural debate and culture of debate
  • Networking and building up a knowledge base on arts and culture
  • International cultural festivals and international cultural cooperation

Gulnara Aitpaeva made a presentation at the panel discussion «How can civil society and cultural field interlock and mutually strengthen each other?»
More information please go: www.cultureasia2008.org