The summit that was

Photo by Stephanie (@yiduiqie)
Photo by Stephanie (@yiduiqie)

I attended the second day of the Asian Australian Leadership Summit recently. It was a 2-day event, with a ‘next gen’ focus on the first day (that I unfortunately couldn’t attend – it looked fab and listed some excellent speakers).

The event on the second day that I attended, held in the SLV’s Roadshow theatrette, drew a big crowd. I was appreciative of the invitation, and the opportunity to be part of such an ambitious project. I am glad I attended and (re)met some fabulous people; people I probably wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for this kind of gathering. It was a huge undertaking and I’m thankful to the organisers for creating a space for these conversations and cross-sector perspectives.

This post is a reflection on my experiences and the conversations that took place through the day. The intention is to examine the way issues and tropes manifested during the event, and is in no way intended to diminish the achievement of staging this important, complex, milestone summit. I am speaking from the position of an academic and long-time activist in Asian Australian Studies.

Continue reading “The summit that was”

What does 2018 bring?

Card from the peeps. My nerdy fandom wishes come true. How did they know?
Card from the peeps. My nerdy fandom wishes come true. How did they know?

It has been good to be in a stepped-down space (for those who don’t know, I’m no longer convenor of the AASRN).

The best thing about stepping down is doing so and knowing that the network is in excellent hands. Hands that are much more enthusiastic about developing the network in fresh ways, and have new networks of their own with which to strengthen the groups already there.

It’s not that I didn’t want to grow possibilities, but I had been there so long that the continuous work of managing the network, other projects, and the brain-space it took up made me feel tired towards it. Instead of looking for opportunities and taking risks with new connections, I looked at what was manageable and efficient.

That’s not good for the network or, ultimately, me. Continue reading “What does 2018 bring?”

It’s time

 

Photo by Annie Spratt | unsplash.com
Photo by Annie Spratt | unsplash.com

One of the first things I did in 2018 was to step down officially as convenor of the AASRN.

It’s a role I’ve had ever since the research network was formally established in 2006. Before that, I was functioning more or less as the convenor when the network was an informal group that came together after the original Asian Australian Identities conference in Canberra in 1999.

That’s about 18 years at the helm. That’s a long time.

In that time, I’ve moved through six different jobs, four universities, shifted states, had two kids, and trudged through countless angstful episodes about career direction and professional identity.  Continue reading “It’s time”

The increasing relevance of our Asian Australian cohorts (Tseen Khoo and Jen Tsen Kwok)

[This article originally appeared in Eureka Street on 1 October 2017, and is reproduced here with original figures derived by ABS census data by Jen Tsen Kwok, who blogs at Borderless Democracy]

It would be fair to say that Australia is in a hyper-nationalist phase. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party is back in the Federal Parliament, extremist anti-migration micro-parties have gained a foothold, and recent proposals for migrant entry echo the days of the White Australia dictation tests, which was once used to exclude those who were considered ‘undesirable’.

Asian students in Brisbane

Yet, our national population is more diverse than ever, particularly when it comes to those of Asian Australian heritage. Just how diverse is something we need to examine more closely if we are to develop a more inclusive, welcoming society. Continue reading “The increasing relevance of our Asian Australian cohorts (Tseen Khoo and Jen Tsen Kwok)”

2017 – just one conference, right?

The AAI 6 conference image is very kindly provided by Nikki Lam. Falling Leaf Returns to its Roots / 落葉歸根, HD video, 2014.

2017 was meant to be the year of one conference.

I’ve been scarred by November 2016. It was a nightmare of overlapping major convening commitments. There was one week where I convened 4 full days of researcher intensives (ran 3, handed 1 day over), attended an evening AASRN 10th birthday gig (that I didn’t have to organise, thank goodness – all power to Audrey Yue and her RUPC team at the University of Melbourne!), and attended/chaired at the Australian Academy of the Humanities (AAH) 2-day symposium. A teleporter would have come in handy; I didn’t have a teleporter.

This mad-cap week was embedded in a few months where I worked with the fabulous editorial team at Peril magazine to solicit and edit the 10 x 10 collection (Peril special issue 26), prepped for the month-long program of #LTUacwrimo, and organised the programming for those researcher intensives.

It was a fantastic whirlwind on many levels and each event was really satisfying, AND I was thoroughly done in.

So, I told myself, this next year was going to be different. It’s going to be a ‘down’ year, a quieter year, a recuperative and consolidating year. Continue reading “2017 – just one conference, right?”

Asian Australian voices

Stuff happens | Photo by Kim Tairi Released under CC licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0
Ninja | Photo by Kim Tairi
Released under CC licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0

Just recently, the lovely Katherine Firth (@katrinafee on Twitter) asked what I’d suggest if she wanted to read more from Asian voices in Australia on various sociopolitical issues.

Specifically, she outlined the genres of text she was interested in as “Sociology/ reportage / special editions journals / activist polemic”.

I started crafting a few tweets in my head, and thought of several links and articles straight away, then realised that it was probably much more useful – and user-friendly – if I just blogged it!

At first, when I thought about what Katherine had asked for, I felt overwhelmed. I couldn’t think of what might be the best places to get started or which articles to read. I’d been immersed in Asian Australian Studies perspectives on everything for so long, I had to take a deliberate step back to see how a (savvy, highly intelligent, research-oriented) newcomer might most usefully find a way into the diverse and multi-voiced material that’s out there.

Continue reading “Asian Australian voices”

2 gigs in two weeks!

  1. Excited to be presenting a workshop on “Getting started on social media” for the AASRN with Tom Cho next Monday night (16 Feb 2015). It has already proven to be good fun and highly educational for me because I’ve never worked with Tom on this kind of thing before. We google-doc’d and Prezi’d together throughout the last week, and it was a very good experience.I’ve never used Prezi before – EVER – so learning about the new app was useful. I have had a few bad experiences with Prezi (that nausea everyone talks about) and wasn’t sure about it. Now that I’ve played with it a bit more, though, I think it has huge potential and people just need to rein in their enthusiasm about any given presentation’s visual mobility!We’re hoping that this session, focussed on helping Asian Australian communities to engage via social media, will be the first in a series of activist/lobbying/outreach events that will get Asian Australian research, topics, and debates out into the broader public sphere. These kinds of processes should also create conversations and further networks within Asian Australian groups that will generate more cultural and political activity. And, to me, this is always a good thing.
  2. The second gig is at ACMI in Federation Square and I’m chairing an amazing panel of Asian Australian creative talent. “Growing up Chinese in Australia” (TUES 24 Feb 2015) is part of the China Up Close festival, and features William Yang, Annette Shun Wah, Benjamin Law, and Juliana Qian. After the panel is the Melbourne premiere screening of Yang’s Blood Links. I have fan-girled these people for varying amounts of time, in different ways, and being able to participate in the event is just dreamy.

benjamin-law-tony-ayres-hero-2-small

Placeholder Post

No Little Birdies (Photo by Tseen Khoo)
No Little Birdies (Photo by Tseen Khoo)

Best intentions and all. Life’s totally overtaken my blogging schedule.

I started a new job at a new institution recently, and my new commute is 3 hours a day. While I thought this would mean OMG so much writing time, it has not come to pass. On a swaying bus, the best ‘work’ I can do is checking emails + tweeting from my various accounts (AASRN and Research Whisperer, mostly).

I’m keeping this here as a placeholder until things settle down. I’ve started dozens of posts, but never saw them through. Poised over the keyboard, thinking I needed to write something insightful and worthwhile shunting out into the world, I usually balk.

So, if you’re looking at this blog because you’ve found me via one of the hats I wear, here are some shortcuts for finding the kind of stuff you might be interested in:

Meanwhile, as I’ve been saying for about five years, I need to start shedding some roles…

WORKSHOP REPORT – NYU Global Arts Exchange workshop (by Tseen Khoo)

apa logo
On Wednesday 15 July 2013, ANU hosted a workshop that was part of the first phase in NYU’s Global Arts Exchange project. The bulk of the participants had only recently come through Shanghai, with a stopover in Perth for the NYU crew.

What is this project about?

This is the overview from the NYU website:

The exchange will bring together scholars, curators, and artists from each site and is meant to be generative for research, resulting in publications, exhibition development, and other research-based projects and programs to share and disseminate research, strengthen international networks of scholars and curators, and create ongoing dialogue between international colleagues, arts communities, and wider publics in the US, Asia/Pacific region, EU, Latin America, Africa, and Middle East in the expanding field of Asian/Asian Diasporic Art and Visual Cultures.

(NYU Global Asia/Pacific Art Exchange)

That all sounds great, but what did this creation of ongoing dialogue look like on the ground?

This post is my take on the event, viewed from a perspective that is extra-institutional (I’m into my third  year in a non-academic role, though I’ve kept up convenorship of the AASRN).

The workshop took place in the European Studies Centre at ANU, where the Chair of AASRN, Professor Jacqueline Lo, is based. The team from NYU was led by Alexandra Chang, and included Tom Looser, Dipti Desai, and Francesca Tarocco (NYU – Shanghai). It was my first time meeting them all as the NYU collaboration is focused on the visual arts (which is not my field).

Dean Chan and Jacquie have led this initiative from the Australian end, and it is a part of INDAAR (International Network for Diasporic Asian Art Research) activity. INDAAR was founded as part of our ARC Discovery project, as was the AAFFN (Asian Australian Film Forum Network). One could justifiably think of them as two off-shoots of the AASRN that have gone on to create their own momentum and projects.

The workshop felt primarily like a familiarisation meeting, bringing together artists and academics who are working in the field of visual arts from the US/China/Australia. Most of the workshop was about introducing Australian material and context to the NYU crew, with input from the broader academic, vis.arts, and curatorial community in Canberra.

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Love the smell of ARCs in the morning…

Australia Research Council (ARC)

It’s that time of year again!

And I don’t mean the flogging of horses or despicable amount of money spent on inane bits of fashion (yes, I’m looking at you, fascinators).

Two of the most anticipated sets of results from our nation’s key research funder, the Australian Research Council (ARC), are now out!

For Asian Australian Studies, and our members in general, it’s an interesting and celebratory swag.

Many enthusiastic congrats to the successful awardees! May you have a fabulous week of celebrating and feeling relieved!

Similarly, enthusiastic exhortations to those who were unsuccessful in this round to pitch it in again next year. What they say about grants often getting up on 2nd or 3rd attempts is true.

Here’s a quick breakdown of results from a skim (on my day’s leave today…):

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