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Vision of the main initiators

City of Kunming
City of Kunming, China

Why China? Prof. Ching Lin Pang, the academic director of the Program: “Understanding China - and more specifically being able to make sense of the current Chinese society in transition - is key to understand the world in the 21st century. As China is often the forerunner of societal changes - turbo speed urbanization, nexus cultural innovation and the market, digitalization, Artificial Intelligence, lockdown coping strategies - we can learn from China how to be flexible and adapt adequately to sweeping and unexpected changes in society, while taking into account our values and experiences. In other words you do not need to become a China-lover but you to be do well-informed about the changing times”.

Why art education? Prof. Pascal Gielen, Director of ARIA: “Since we know not the economy, but culture is the base of societies we need to take material and immaterial culture as the central medium to communicate with each other. Mutual understanding is pivotal nowadays, in times of growing neo-nationalism and hyper-globalization. Global markets fail, because they do not recognize nor do they take care of local cultural differences. So, we need professionals who can take care with in-depth knowledge of cultural mechanisms, cultural values and differences. We need curators who can build with co-imagination and in co-creation next to the global market paradigm a resilient civil society paradigm”.

Why intercultural and multilingual interaction? Prof. Dieter Vermandere: “The dynamic and process oriented view on ‘curatorship’ as ‘taking care of’ and its constant contextualisation are essential tools that allow you to go out and about and find your way in the very diverse world that we are living in. Flexibility, adaptability and tolerance of ambiguity are attitudes that are crucial, because developments in science, technology, communication are increasingly swift and radical. We are no longer on one long train track where we can sit back and relax: we’re commuting on a hectic, fast paced subway system that requires changes, split second decisions and real-time information management. Good communicative skills are essential here”.