[Event Recap] Imagining the Future: Community Innovation and Social Resilience in Asia

group photo opening

The Centre of Urban History, Culture and Media, CUHK organized its first international conference entitled "Imagining the Future: Community Innovation and Social Resilience in Asia" on 23-25 February 2017. In the context of profound changes and uncertainties brought by globalization to physical, social, and cultural space, the conference provides an interdisciplinary forum on which scholars critically examine and imagine the future city together. Eighty scholars and practitioners from 28 different institutions in 13 different countries or territories across Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Americas attended the 2.5 day conference.



We were honored to have Prof. Wong Siu-lun, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Hong Kong, as the keynote speaker. Prof. Wong's talk, entitled Chater's Choice: An Indian Armenian in British Hong Kong, examined the life of Sir Catchick Paul Chater and showed how historical sociology helps us to understand the development of a metropolis and how it interplays with personal choices and circumstances.



Papers were presented in 18 panels, covering various aspects of the built environment, cultural practices, and social groupings of Asian cities. For example, the "Visions from the Margins of Hong Kong" panel examined how domestic workers and refugees use different art forms to generate dialogues about multiculturalism in the city. The "Religion and Rituals in the Intercultural City" panel compared the changing religious landscapes in Hong Kong, Singapore, Hsin-Chu, and Shanghai under globalization and secularization. The "Negotiating Play and Leisure in Urban Society" panel discussed the connection between sports and public space using cases studies from Brazil, China, Hong Kong, and India. A publication is being planned to make the full research papers available to a wider audience.



Parallel events included an exhibition on social resilience of marginal groups in Hong Kong, including migrant domestic workers, South Asians, and ex-offenders. In the fieldtrip to Wanchai, participants saw how the local community revitalized their neighborhood under urban renewal policies. The documentary "Intercultural Hong Kong Series: Feeling South Asian" was premiered to showcase the cultural practices of South Asians in Hong Kong and the challenges they face. The closing performance by Talents Displaced, a group of asylum-seekers, refugees, and their allies, epitomized the diversity and inclusivity of Hong Kong Society through rap music and dance.



The conference program, including the presentation abstracts, is available at  http://iofc.cuhk.edu.hk/cuhcmconference/program/

會議日程及演講摘要可見: http://iofc.cuhk.edu.hk/cuhcmconference/program/


Photo caption: At the opening ceremony: Prof. Fanny Cheung, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) (1st row, left 9), keynote speaker Prof. Wong Siu Lun (left 8), and Centre Director Prof. Maria Tam (left 7) with guests and participants.