Art Fair Innovations

Lead Research Organisation: Royal College of Art
Department Name: School of Art and Humanities

Abstract

The dynamism and vitality of the fast-growing contemporary art scene in Shanghai makes it a fertile locality for the application and transfer of arts and curatorial management expertise. This project focuses on this location, building on multiple existing professional relationships between the UK academic staff and Chinese academics and key members of the cultural and commercial arts sectors in Shanghai. The project will provide a deeper understanding of opportunities and issues relating to the West Bund Art and Design Fair, one of Shanghai's main arts events, important to the city through its cultural enhancement and commercial activity.

The project will include: round table discussions with academic and industry experts, to take place in Shanghai and London; specialist participatory workshops on digital curation in both institutional and commercial contexts and on the current and future role of ceramics in the Shanghai art market; exploratory research on collections development, the impact of current policies and the expansion of the cultural sector in China, especially Shanghai. It will culminate in an engagement workshop that will be held on the site of the West Bund Art and Design Fair. To ensure the longer term retention and active dissemination of the insights gained, the project team will produce a set of working reports in an easily digestible format. These reports and a dedicated project webpage hosted on the RCA's website will outline the research undertaken and key findings for each focused investigation.

Each of the key threads of activity has been chosen for its potential to initiate a more extensive examination of aspects of the Shanghai art market and its related creative sectors. The proposed activities will act as a series of proofs-of-concept for more extensive and intensive UK-Chinese research engagement with and through the West Bund Art and Design Fair and Shanghai cultural institutions. These activities will also facilitate the direct engagement and networking necessary to build a shared understanding between the UK project team and their academic colleagues in Shanghai, as well as enabling the team of UK researchers to develop and consolidate reciprocal meaningful connections with key individuals working in or overseeing Shanghai's cultural sector.

Planned Impact

The project will benefit cultural institutions and commercial organisations, as well as the wider public in both China and the UK. It will increase understanding across national and cultural boundaries, counter cultural stereotypes of East and West, enhance the creative and cultural economy, and augment business opportunity.

The dynamic event and workshop exchanges between academic, museum and arts management professionals will maximise the communication of skill sets and knowledge, and showcase the unique resources of particular stakeholders. Critical academic engagements with the cultural sector in Shanghai and London will increase understanding of cultural dynamics and social responsibility within the arts management, curatorial and art practitioner communities.

The project builds upon the series of established partnerships developed between the RCA and Shanghai University, the West Bund Art and Design Fair, the International Awards for Art Criticism, the John Moores Painting Prize China and the Minsheng Art Museum. The success of JMPPC and IAAC demonstrate the potential benefits of such substantive long-term collaborations between academia and industry.

Each thread of activity has been chosen for its potential to initiate a more extensive examination of aspects of the Shanghai art market and its related creative sectors. The activities will act as a series of proofs-of-concept for more extensive and intensive UK-Chinese research engagement with and through the West Bund Art and Design Fair and Shanghai cultural institutions. These activities will also facilitate the direct engagement and networking necessary to build a shared understanding between the UK project team and academic colleagues in Shanghai, as well as enabling the team of UK researchers to develop and consolidate reciprocal meaningful connections with key individuals working in or overseeing Shanghai's cultural sector.

All the proposed activities will be recorded and showcased via specific project pages in the RCA website, following page protocols developed for funded research run through the School of Arts and Humanities (see https://www.rca.ac.uk/schools/school-of-arts- humanities/funded-research/). This page will be maintained and updated by school staff in order to promote instances of impact relating to the project, so providing a stable legacy and an opportunity to broadcast ongoing collaborative activity between contributors to, and beneficiaries of, the proposed activities after their completion. The project team will also identify further suitable digital media channels, in English and Chinese, to ensure effective dissemination in the UK and China across all relevant partners and beneficiaries.

The project reports have been conceived as a complimentary set of related texts. They will be published in an easily digestible format, following the protocols established by the POSTnotes reports issued by the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). This will facilitate their distribution to, and reception by, key policy-makers. The abstract for each of the reports will be translated into Chinese to ensure wider relevance. Digital copies of all these reports will be made available on the RCA Repository and linked to the project webpage.

Publications

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