Art director George Lois once proclaimed that the answer to all of the world’s problems can be found in creativity. Indeed, more than any other worldly systems, creativity is an essential driver for social and economic development. It is also an effective trigger for international dialogue, cultural discourse and innovation.
As such, dialogue and cooperation across the fields of arts and culture, science and technology, and the creative industries are indispensable if we were to envision a far-reaching relationship between Asia and Europe.
ASEF and EUC believe in paving way for opportunities, as well as facilitating activities and networks for artistic exchanges, joint creativity and the sharing of knowledge to nurture Asia and Europe’s next generation of problem-solvers and creative thinkers.
- Young Artists Exchanges ASEF has been engaging creative professionals and artists since 2002 with their young artists exchange programmes. To date, over 1,200 artists have taken part in ASEF-initiated creative initiatives spanning the fields of performing arts, photography, comic art, filmmaking, music composition and new media.
- Connect2Culture Over a hundred artists have been linked via the Connect2Culture programme. This unique initiative brings together cultural practitioners and environmental activists, as they seek to define their roles within the worlds of art and environmental awareness. A multi-functional avenue for reflection, artistic exchange and research, Connect2Culture aims to advance arts, culture and environmental sustainability through meaningful and diverse activities.
- Green Innovations, Our Future Together Europe Day Symposium & Exhibition ‘Green Innovations, Our Future Together’ was EUC’s first outreach event targeted at schools and the general public. The symposium and exhibition coincided with Europe Day festivities, and provided an apt platform for highlighting the European Union’s (EU) environmental policy and green technology innovations. The day-long event drew over 300 participants, who were treated to presentations by celebrated European companies recognised for their green CSR programmes, products and services, as well as talks on EU’s environmental policies.
Young Artist Exchange
The best creative works are often borne out of an inspired meeting of minds. To encourage the exchange of ideas, contacts and best practices, ASEF founded the Young Artists Exchange programme in 2002 to facilitate collaborative work and interpersonal encounters.
Since then, many young artists and cultural professionals from diverse disciplines across Asia and Europe have come together to embark on a series of artistic residencies. The areas covered are vast, spanning creative practices and artistic disciplines such as dance, music, film, visual arts, comic art, graphic design, photography and new media.
The dialogues and collaborations have allowed these young professionals to broaden their horizons as they explored different art forms, and shared their knowledge and experiences. More pertinently, they were able to develop professionally in their respective fields. As future leaders of the international art and creative worlds, these young artists most certainly benefited from the personal and business contacts, as well as cultural riches gleaned from the exchange.
Extending beyond the programme, the ASEF alumni initiated collaborative projects with other young artists, which helped provide an international orientation to their careers. Since 2010, ASEF has been promoting the young artists’ exchanges through a regular open-call programme known as Creative Encounters.
“Despite the difference existing between countries, cultures and politics, artists no matter from where they are coming, always find the way to speak a common language. I was impressed by the openness of all Pointe-2-Point participants and by their desire to discover and try new things.”- Alumni, Pointe to Point 2009
“It is important to start with a same point of interest, and then allow each other to develop in different direction, it is important to create a structure for the process or final presentation, but still allow plenty of space for ongoing experiment.”- Mei-yin (Malaysia), Pointe to Point 2007
“I have made a lot of friends and “family” (group of participants). Different ways of living and working approaches were found in this “family”, it serves like a source of knowledge or a think tank, which can nurture my artistic creation in the future... We still need to have deeper mutual understanding, after all we can move to another step for project collaboration opportunities.”- Jing-xin (China), Pointe to Point 2007
“As a photojournalist I seek to translate viewpoints into images that can be understood by maximum…The talk of recession, globalisation is quite relevant but what is more relevant to me is how it has affected a common man, to someone who is walking on streets short of time for his work, trying to save money, trying to understand how he can make his business work better…And how creatively he does best to make it work in everyday life.”- Alumni, Culture Future Creative Economy 2009
“I brought up many ideas which might become plans. I would love to carry on to work on comics in the internet and international.”- Alumni, Japan
“My standard lens changing into wide lens. Everything looks clearer now. Sharing our problems makes every goal seems easier to reach.”- Ramon Bautista (The Philippines), 5th Asia-Europe Film Development Plan Meeting 2006
“It is certainly a blessing to collaborate with musicians from European and Asian countries. We get to understand one another’s culture through music.”- Philip Tan, I'mPULSE Cracking Bamboo, 5th Asia-Europe Music Camp 2008
“As an artist, you engage with people, places and practices in ways that a tourist would not. Not only are you observing, you’re also looking for opportunities to collaborate with folk and traditional artists to set artistic processes in motion.”- Ekta Mittal (India), Mobile Artistic Platform 2010
“The ASEF project is an important starting point of my professional artistic life on an international platform and a great experience of intercultural communication. ”- Participant, 4th Asia-Europe Art Camp 2004
Cultural awareness is the cornerstone of all societal development. Drawing attention to the importance of cultural engagement, the programme Connect2Culture seeks to explore the roles and significance of art, culture and creativity in contemporary living.
The programme started in 2008 by focusing on environmental issues and sustainable development. This sparked an exchange of ideas, fostered through a variety of dialogue formats such as seminars, workshops, artistic projects, as well as joint-research and publications.
Connect2Culture’s diverse endeavours are especially conducive to cross-disciplinary brainstorming, as well as the building of networks between different stakeholders from Asia and Europe. The activities also provided pertinent policy inputs for ASEM governments, helping them relate to the significance of arts and culture in modern society.
“Art is able to excite our curiosity. That is its primary function. Curiosity leads to debate, and debate leads to communities to engage themselves.”- Rosina Gomez-Baeza (The Philippines), 2008
“The arts can play a part in making each and every individual personally responsible for his or her actions through inspiring dialogue, through negotiating conversation, through enhancing the human dimension, through igniting the imagination.”- Ong Keng Sen (Singapore), 2008