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Accepted Paper:

Chinese Culture Paves One Belt One Road  
Sophia Kidd (University of Göttingen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the role of museums in Southwest China. Taking an ethnographic approach to study private and public museums in and around Chengdu and Chongqing , we discuss the role museums play implementing overland "Silk Road Economic Belt" and oceangoing "Maritime Silk Road" policy.

Paper long abstract:

Private initiatives to preserve and represent the past have been a notable phenomenon in Southwest China. Notable examples include Chengdu Museum of Contemporary Art Founder, Lv Peng's, curatorial project, RESHAPING HISTORY: Chinart from 2000 to 2009. The government's heavy surveillance of this museum and recent resignation of Acting Director, Lan Qingwei, indicate shifts in how nationalism is reclaiming means of cultural production and symbol creation in China's Southwest territory. This paper explores ways in which Southwest China museums are also memory spaces that communicate the historical narratives of individuals through arts, private collections and archives.

Using primary source materials including interviews and new data, this paper focuses on avant-garde activities and actors associated with museums in Southwest China. Avant-garde art production is chosen for its counter-cultural tradition, as China's Southwest has historically been known for its break-away theocracies and warlords. Today we see a rich vein of 1980s and 1990's avant-garde artists feeding into various sectors of Southwest cultural and creative industries (CCI), including the fine art and museum sectors.

This paper mainly performs an analysis of social, economic and political uses of museums in the development of frontier regions of China. Representative readings illustrate China's use of cultural industries to pave the way for social, economic and political change. As case study we look at the role museums play in representing china's New Silk Road (NSR) project, also known as One Belt One Road (OBOR), consisting in an overland "Silk Road Economic Belt" and oceangoing "Maritime Silk Road".

Panel P037
Museums as contested terrains: Memory work and politics of representation in Greater China
  Session 1 Sunday 3 June, 2018, -