The Region: Dialogues on the Power and Precarity of Artist Self-Organisation in the Asia-Pacific

Sep 21 — 30, 2021



The Region: Dialogues on the Power and Precarity of Artist Self-Organisation in the Asia-Pacific was a digital symposium, co-created by West Space, Naarm (Melbourne, Australia); Para Site, Hong Kong; Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington, New Zealand); and Western Front, Vancouver, and co-facilitated by CAST Contemporary Art and Social Transformation research group based in the School of Art at RMIT University, Naarm.

In 2001, West Space, with seventeen international peer organizations, convened Space Traffic, a global conference that aimed to “bring together alternative art spaces from around the world to discuss, tackle, and explore issues surrounding non-mainstream art and culture with a focus on the Asia-Pacific.” On the 20th anniversary of the original symposium, West Space, in partnership with two of the original participants, Western Front and Para Site, and a new partner, Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, revisited this agenda from a contemporary context.

Across five panels, The Region examined pressing questions of power and precarity, with a focus on artist self-organization. The symposium considered the objectives, freedoms, and responsibilities of small institutions as they exist across contemporary contexts of urban gentrification and Western hegemony, whose shared futures are informed by local and specific histories, and which are expressed today through new forms of curating and collectivity.


Sep 21, 2021
Illusions of Structural Change? Resisting the Cultural Identity of Western Institutions in Artist-Run Spaces
Chair: Vanessa Mei Crofskey, Enjoy Contemporary Art Space 
Speakers: Vanessa Kwan, Tania Willard, and Tamsen Hopkinson

Sep 22, 2021
Working in Place: Cultural Perspectives and Responses to the Complexity of Gentrification
Chair: Andy Butler, West Space
Speakers: Keg de Souza, Elisapeta Heta, T'uy't'tanat-Cease Wyss, and Seelan Palay

Sep 23, 2021
Collectivism and New Forms of Curating in the Asia-Pacific
Chair: Celia Ho, Para Site
Speakers: Zoe Butt, Gridthiya Gaweewong, and Grace Samboh

Sep 29, 2021
Legacies: Acknowledging Histories, Imagining Futures
Chair: Susan Gibb, Western Front
Speakers: Ringo Bunoan, Lyna Kourn, Dr. Lana Lopesi, and Anthony Yung

Sep 30, 2021
The Scene: Future Friendships, Possibilities and Partnerships
Chairs: Marnie Badham and Tammy Hulbert, CAST research group, RMIT University
Speakers: Vanessa Mei Crofskey, Sebastian Henry-Jones (for Andy Butler), Celia Ho, and Susan Gibb

Presented with support from the City of Melbourne and RMIT University, Australia.

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Western Front is a non-profit
artist-run centre in Vancouver.

We acknowledge the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations as traditional owners of the land upon which Western Front stands.