Mekong Cultural Hub

Take Part in Meeting Point 2024

Perspectives from the Grassroots

The 2024 Meeting Point on Art & Social Action aims to capture a snapshot of the issues that grassroots practitioners are grappling with today, and to make spaces for dialogues with policymakers and researchers. We want to give a platform to the short-term and long-term perspectives that practitioners see for themselves and for the arts in Asia, and discuss how more space can be created for not just thinking ahead, but making progress to get there. Most importantly, the Meeting Point is a precious space for practitioners to reflect, connect and make friendships.

Thanks to our co-organisers VICAS and Heritage Space, we are delighted that this year’s in-person Meeting Point will take place in Hanoi, with our main campus at the Temple of Literature. We have talks, performances and interactive sessions that will spotlight Vietnam, and we hope the program will also offer attendees a chance to get to know the local context.

Important dates!

March 8th-16th:
Local Gatherings in various locations across Asia

March 15th-16th:
Online Meeting Point

March 21st-23rd:
In-person Meeting Point in Hanoi

In-person Meeting Point in Hanoi

The full duration of the in-person 2024 Meeting Point on Art & Social Action in Asia will be 2.5 days, from March 21st – 23rd, 2024. The Grand Opening on March 21st will include an introduction to the arts and culture ecosystem in Vietnam from co-organizer, VICAS (National Vietnam Institute of Culture & Art Studies), followed by a roundtable discussion ‘Caught in the Middle’ between three Southeast Asian organizations initiated from the ground up to work on gaps in funding and policy in their local arts ecosystems. This will be followed by a reception and a live performance.

Days two and three will take place at the Temple of Literature campus, providing a unique cultural and historical context in which to have our exchanges. The program will be a mix of plenary and parallel sessions including:

  • Curated Conference group sharing
    • Lifecycles of Grassroots Org: Action research findings on managing small arts organizations.
    • Hitting Pause: Insights from artists exploring career evolution.
  • Local Gatherings – reports from the field
    • 9 artists present highlights of workshops and conferences they organized in different countries, moderated by Jeffrey Tan.
  • Participatory creative action
    • Get out of your head and into your senses as you surrender to a safe space that will be created by 7 artists working together in residency before the Meeting Point to create ways for us to engage with each other and with the Meeting Point themes through sensing, feeling and connecting using creativity
  • Asia-Asia Connections
    • Informational and dialogue sessions hosted by regional organizations, including UNESCO’s Regional Office in Bangkok, On the Move, and Asia-Europe Foundation.
  • Interactive Sessions
    • 8 hosts (4 from Vietnam and 4 from Asia countries) selected by open call to facilitate diverse and interactive sessions on grassroots perspectives during Meeting Point

There will also be plenty of space during breaks, lunches and evenings to connect outside of the arranged sessions, and explore potential connections to take forward after your time in Hanoi.

If you are interested, please feel free to browse the program further HERE.

Register here!

Registration to attend the in-person Meeting Point is NOW OPEN! We are using the Swapcard platform to manage the event and this is where the detailed program and logistical information will be provided in due course, including the different event descriptions, the schedule and the profiles and contacts of the speakers and attendees convening at the meeting point.

Please use the link to register, and please note the following:

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact meetingpoint@mekongculturalhub.org

Online Meeting Point

On March 15th and 16th we are delighted to create a virtual Meeting Point, with 4 online sessions exploring our theme Perspectives from the Grassroots from different viewpoints.

On March 15th we will have two sessions exploring RESILIENCE, the first one looking at Lifecycles of Grassroots Cultural Organizations in Asia, and the second on Resilience Strategies and Resources for Independent Practitioners in Arts, Culture and Society in Asia. On March 16th we will focus on REGENERATION. The first session Hitting Pause: Examining Purpose & Practice, is a sharing from four artists and producers who have been doing exactly that, and the second session Art Residencies as a way to Extend Your Practice will look at what role residencies can play in development of artists, curators and producers in the region and how to know if a residency is a good choice for you.

All sessions last 90 minutes and are hosted on Zoom, in English language. More information and links to register are below. Keep checking back for more updates!

Life Cycles of Grassroots Cultural Organizations in Asia [March 15th, 2pm-3:30pm Bangkok time]

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In this session, six practitioners will share reflections after a six-month process of collectively seeking to understand the life cycles of grassroots culture organisations in the Asia region.

As people involved in running organisations at different stages of maturity, they will share some of the challenges they have faced that made them want to explore this topic, and the findings they have generated through looking into the prominent characteristics, needs, challenges, and directions for the future, of different types of cultural organizations representing a total of 8 Asian countries.

Speakers

Resilience Strategies & Resources for Independent Practitioners [March 15th, 4pm-5:30pm Bangkok time]

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Resilience is the ability to keep going despite challenging circumstances, and to bounce back after challenges and set backs. It is an essential skill for artists in Asia, who face ongoing challenges including lack of resources, isolation, lack of public support for their work, and having limits placed upon their creativity and expression.

For this session, MCH is delighted to welcome representatives from three different organisations doing practical work to improve conditions and opportunities for practitioners working at the intersection of arts and society: Manu from Artists at Risk Connection, Deepthy from Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Right Asia and Pacific, and Yohann from On the Move. Moderated by MCH’s Program Manager for Networks & Alliances, Zun Ei Phyu, the group will start by setting up a framework of what we mean by resilience as it applies to artists and cultural workers in Asia before moving into a discussion which will explore:

  • The strengths and the gaps we see in the Asia region from the perspective of resilience among independent arts practitioners
  • Perspectives on the importance of networks in building resilience
  • Lessons to be learned from other sectors
  • Feminist approaches to resilience

Before opening the floor to the audience for further insights, question and discussion, the three panelists will each give an overview of the opportunities and resources available from their organisations related to resilience for people in the arts.

Hitting Pause: Examining Purpose & Practice [March 16th, 2pm-3:30pm Bangkok time]

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Art practitioners are often caught in an endless cycle of servicing their stakeholders. Running after time, resources and opportunities to execute projects or simply survive sometimes comes at the cost of their own wellbeing. Some lose track of their purpose and vision altogether.

Since June 2023, with prompting and support from conference Curator, Kathy Rowland, a small group of Southeast Asian artists and producers have unpacked how their sense of mission intersects with their methods of practice, within the context of the regional ecosystem. Is it possible to break the cycle? Can we make changes so that our sense of mission remains undiminished without running ourselves into the ground?

Speakers

Art Residencies As a Way to Extend Your Practice [March 16th, 4pm-5:30pm Bangkok time]

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For practitioners in Southeast Asia, travel, networking and peer exchange are invaluable mechanisms for personal and professional development. Arts residencies offer all of these and more. Today, arts residencies serve not only as spaces for providing time and physical space but also as platforms for fostering connections and opportunities. With the support of a local host, residents can immerse themselves in the local culture and art community, forging future connections. With the right amount of time and active engagement, they can significantly influence residents’ future work and perspectives. In this session, Iris Hung,  president of Taiwan Art Space Alliance, invites insights from practitioners running residencies in Southeast Asia, focusing on themes of connectivity, sustainability, and hospitality. They will share lessons and advice for practitioners based on their experience and offer perspectives for the future.

EXPLORE MEETING POINT 2024

Partners

Meeting Point 2024 is implemented in collaboration with:

Co-organisers

partner

Venue Partner

Supporters

Mekong Cultural Hub is organising Meeting Point as a program of Living Arts International:

Living Arts International’s partners and supporters to organise this program include:

Previous Meeting Points