INTRODUCTION

EthniCities: The Art of Seeing Diversity is the platform of a collaborative project of trans-East-Asia multiculturalism (TEAM), funded by Toyota Foundation Research Grant. The project aims to develop “multiculturalism from below” across East Asia (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong) by forming a cross-border alliance. In the region, the rise of (inter-Asian) migration has made ethno-cultural diversity more intensified and visible. While this has generated national policy discussion to administer cultural diversity, a substantial engagement has not yet made to fairly deal with diversity and make societies more inclusive. This project collaboratively tackles the shared imperative issue of advancing multicultural co-living from a trans-East-Asian perspective.

This is to reorient the discussion and the practice of multiculturalism beyond the framework of the nation-state and from below. Grassroots practices by various actors such as ethnic communities, citizen’s groups, NGOs, NPOs and local governments have advanced multiculturalism from below. EthniCities indicates such a de-nationalized local engagement with multicultural questions in the urban and rural areas of East Asia. Working together with those various actors across borders, this project will transnationally further foster “multiculturalism from below” by facilitating the sharing of experiences and collaborative empowerment. We will also design a pedagogical program for social learning to get a wider public involved. This is to institute cultural citizenship through East Asian collaboration to advance social praxis of embracing cultural diversity and nurturing self-reflexive dialogue in society.

Toward this end, we will organize two trans-East-Asian multicultural events (a visual culture event in Taipei on 23-24 April 2016 and a more wide-ranging multiculture event in Seoul in April 2017) that try out and discuss innovative ways of forging mutual empowerment, cross-border dialogue and citizen’s reciprocal learning. We believe that the organization of the events will facilitate the cooperative relationship and dialogues among participants in their everyday lives and practices. It will also function as the initial opportunity to make trans-East-Asian multiculturalism from below as a sustainable long-term project that transnationally nurtures the value of living together in difference in society—the value that has not been well cultivated within the existing framework of the nation-state—and advocates its incorporation into cultural policy of each society.

 

Your participation and collaboration is indispensable to make the project successful and innovative. Please join us!