Art in the Countryside: Symposium on Art and Regional Revitalization through Case Studies from Japan

12.08.–14.08.2022, Symposium, online

August 12 - August 14, 2022

Details of this symposium, incl. its programme, will be published on this website in August.

Organizers: Barbara Geilhorn (Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien) and Gunhild Borggreen (University of Copenhagen)

Since the beginning of the new millennium, regional arts projects and festivals have sprung up in many places in rural Japan, including the Triennial in Echigo-Tsumari and the Toyooka theater festival. Many regions anticipate a cultural boost in the form of such events to create new types of social, cultural and economic capital in the area. Some rural communities also engage with art projects to promote countryside lifestyles and environmental awareness.

The symposium investigates the potential of the arts to develop creative responses to the multiple challenges and opportunities of the Japanese regions in an interdisciplinary environment, including scholars of Visual and Performing Arts, Cultural Policy, Japanese Studies, Tourism Studies, and Social Anthropology, as well as artists and practitioners. We follow Michael Woods’ concept of a “global countryside” as “a hypothetical space, corresponding to a condition of the global interconnectivity and interdependency of rural localities” [Woods, M. 2007. “Engaging the global countryside: globalization, hybridity and the reconstitution of rural place.” Progress in Human Geography 31(4): 492] to scrutinize the interrelatedness of local, national and global flows as represented by recent developments in visual and performing arts. This is a suitable approach, since both forms of arts are increasingly merging into each other. The symposium aims to look into socio-cultural discourse and innovation triggered by the arts in the Japanese regions, thereby addressing issues that are relevant for Japanese society as a whole and well beyond.