CULTURAL DIALOGUE 2012 – BEIJING
The 3rd Canada-China Cultural Dialogue took place in Beijing June 25 and 26, 2012. The Canadian Fund for International Understanding through Culture (Can4Culture), and the Canadian Museums Association, co-organized the event with its partner, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) a Chinese non-governmental organization in special consultative status with the United Nations.
The Cultural Dialogues aim to develop and expand practical cooperation and foster people-to-people exchanges in the arts and heritage. This builds upon the successful meetings between Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Chinese President, Hu Jintao in February 2012 where consensus was reached for greater “cultural exchanges”, and an agreement signed to hold ‘a series of cultural activities in each other’s countries in 2013 and 2014”.
This year, Can4Culture invited and supported 15 Canadian museum and cultural directors, professionals and academics to travel to China to participate in the 3rd Cultural Dialogue, to meet their Chinese counterparts and explore opportunities for exhibition exchange, professional exchanges, research, as well as internships in the arts and heritage.
The first day of the Dialogue included speakers from Canadian and Chinese organizations who shared their expertise on leadership in cultural organizations. Speakers who addressed the 100 delegates included:
- Dr. Nelly Ng, Chair, Can4Culture
- Dr. John McAvity, Executive Director, Canadian Museums Association
- Ms. Denise Amyot, President and CEO, Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation
- Dr. William J.S Boyle, CEO, Harbourfront Centre
- Dr. Bernard Schiele, Professor, Université de Québec à Montréal
- Mr. Zhang Heqiang, The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries
- Mr. Chen Lusheng, Deputy Director, National Museum of China
- Mr. Chen Xiejun, Director, Shanghai Museum
- Ms. Li Hong, Deputy Director, Henan Provincial Museum
- Mr. Fan Yang, Deputy Director, China National Academy of Painting
As well, over 25 short presentations were made by participants on possible future projects and partnerships between institutions in each country.
Day two consisted of face-to-face working meetings and follow-up discussions between Canadian and Chinese delegates about the potential joint projects and partnerships that were presented on the first day.
This culminated in the signing of 12 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). The MOUs cover a variety of projects and were signed in the presence of Mark McDowell, Counsellor, Public Diplomacy, Canadian Embassy, senior representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs China and the Ministry of Culture, China.
- Joint organization of a travelling exhibition on Dr. Norman Bethune to be shown in main cities in Canada between the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation and the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation Research Centre.
- Hosting a Professional Development Training Program in Canada for museum professionals working in historical museums in the Jilin province, hosting Canadian youth internship opportunities in the Jilin Province and hosting the Chinese Professional Development Training Program participants to attend and participate in the CMA National Conference in the Yukon in May 2013 between the Canadian Museums Association and the Jilin Province Museums Association.
- Creation of projects that showcase Chinese and Canadian, and more specifically Chinese-Canadian, history and culture between the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and the Xie De Arts Investment Foundation.
- Performing and visual artists from Chinese ethnic minority groups to attend Planet Indigenous Initiative in Toronto between Harbourfront Centre and Can4Culture
- Stage China Today Festival in Toronto to showcase many Chinese artists subsequent to their appearance at the Folk Life Festival in Washington between Harbourfront Centre and Can4Culture and relevant minority cultural organisations in China.
- Artist exchange of Anshinabe artist to Tibet and Tibetan artists to Canada, sending a Norval Morriseau exhibition to Tibet and bringing to Canada an exhibition Thangkas/Midewan/Medicine exploring painting and healing, between the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the Qinghai Tibetan Culture Museum.
- Exhibition Exchange between the Museum of Vancouver and the Museum of the Jilin Province
- Exhibition Exchange between the Museum of Vancouver and Puppet Manchurian Palace Museum
- Shared or exchanged exhibitions on the theme of landscape between the Varley Art Gallery in Unionville and the Jilin Provincial Museum
- Shared or exchanged exhibitions on the theme of landscape between the Varley Art Gallery and the Puppet Manchurian Palace Museum
- Collaborative exhibitions between the Varley Art Gallery, the Markham Museum and the Qinghai Tibetan Culture Museum
- Exhibition Exchange between the Museum of Vancouver and the Museum of Qinghai Province.
The Canadian Delegation
Ms. Denise Amyot, President and CEO, Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation, Ottawa, Dr. William J.S Boyle, CEO, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, Dr. Victoria Dickenson, Executive Director and CEO, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ms. Kathy Gibler, Executive Director, Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Vancouver, Ms. Monique Horth, Executive Director, Corporate Secretariat, Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation, Ottawa, Dr. Ron Kydd, Associate Professor of History, Tyndale University, Toronto, Dr. Hing Law, Professor, PACE, Toronto, Dr. John McAvity, Executive Director, Canadian Museums Association, Ottawa, Ms. Cathy Molloy, Director, Markham Museum, Markham, Ms. Sylvie Morel, Board Member, Canadian Fund for International Understanding through Culture, Oxford Mills, Ontario, Dr. Nelly Ng, Chair, Canadian Fund for International Understanding through Culture, Toronto, Ms. Nancy Noble, CEO, Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver, Ms. Francine Périnet, Director, Varley Art Gallery, Unionville, Dr. Bernard Schiele, Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal and Ms. Audrey Vermette, Director of Programs and Public Affairs, Canadian Museums Association, Ottawa
Some of the Results
‘As a result of my participation the 3rd Canada-China Dialogue, we will soon host an 8 person delegation from the Beijing Confucian Temple Museum and the Beijing Guozijian (Imperial Academy) Museum as part of a joint exhibition on the principles and importance of Confucian thought in China and beyond. The exhibition panels were designed by the Confucian Temple and will be on display at Vancouver’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden from November 6 through November 30, 2012. We have partnered with the David Lam Centre for International Communications at Simon Fraser University to create a dialogue (English/Mandarin) about Confucian principles as part of the delegation’s visit. This international partnership would not have happened without my participation in the Dialogue. The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden was ready, as an organization, to explore partnerships with Chinese museums and the Dialogue was the perfect avenue to begin. The Dialogue allowed us to move on a bigger international stage than we could have ever done alone in a supportive and safe manner. The experience led to finding new Chinese partners and an upcoming joint exhibition. It also led to new friendships with fellow Canadian organizations. We want to go again.” Ms. Kathy Gibler, Executive Director, Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
“I felt that trip was most worthwhile, particularly the opportunity to meet with museum colleagues from China’s museum system. I will be using some of what I learned in China in my teaching for the Getty Leadership Institute this fall.” Dr. Victoria Dickenson, Executive Director and CEO, McMichael Canadian Art Collection
“The contacts and insights that we have gained at Harbourfront Centre through the Canada China Cultural Dialogues have been extremely informative in helping us formulate plans for greater cultural collaborations between our institutions and artists in China and we look forward to many fruitful exchanges in the future.” Dr. William J.S Boyle, CEO, Harbourfront Centre
We at Can4Culture wish to extend our appreciation for the facilitation and assistance from the following:
- Gordon Chow Enrichment Program
- Canadian Embassy in China
- Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Ottawa
- Chinese Consulate in Toronto
- Department of Foreign Affairs, Canada
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China
- Department of Canadian Heritage
- Ministry of Culture, China
The 3rd Canada-China Cultural Dialogue exemplified the very spirit of the fostering of relations between Canada and China.