Masters of Culture


Introduction:In this lecture, Professor Chen will introduce the principles of benevolence, Confucius code of conduct, sense of responsibility and community standards that stand out as core values of Chinese culture, as well as the imagination and practice of a virtuous world, explaining that its values were not only widely accepted in East Asia’s pre-modern era but are also complementary to today’s Western contemporary values and have also real universal meaning to the establishment of a community related on an international level, of political cooperation and a world of harmony.

Speaker:Chen Lai

About the speaker:Professor Chen Lai is one of China’s most influential contemporary philosophers and thinkers, currently the Director of the Tsinghua Academy of Chinese Learning and Professor of the Department of Philosophy, also a member of the Central Research Institute of Culture and History. Mentored by the masters in Chinese studies Zhang Dainian and Feng Youlan, Professor Chen is the first Doctor of Philosophy in China, specializing in history of Chinese philosophy, mainly on philosophy of Confucius, Neo-Confucianism in the Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties and modern Confucianism. Winner of numerous awards, his achievements are leading the world in the fields. He is one of the two selected winners around the world of the “Confucius Award” in 2016; winner of the “Global Chinese Ceremony Achievement Award for Chinese Studies” in 2014 and 2016; the “Zhang Shiying Aesthetics Philosophy Academic Award” in 2017, which is the highest honour in the field; and the “Huilin Prize for Culture” in 2018 for the international dissemination of Chinese culture. Recent books include Confucius and the Modern World, The Ontology of Anthroponomy and From the Ideological World to the Historical World, among others, with many of his works and papers having been translated into English, Russian, Japanese and Korean, etc.


Introduction:“Handscroll painting” is an art form that has a long history in China, where it has developed distinct characteristics and exerted profound influence on other types of artistic expression. Although similar painting formats exist in other art traditions around the world, none is comparable to Chinese handscroll painting in terms of its historical continuity and artistic complexity. This lecture explores the “media specificities” of the handscroll through analyzing a series of masterpieces from ancient China, including The Nymph of the Luo River (Luoshen fu tu), Night Entertainment of Han Xizai (Han Xizai yeyan tu), Along the River During the Qingming Festival (Qingming shanghe tu), and others. Generally, the handscroll is a painting format that comes across as a “spatial” and “temporal” art, and in this sense it is similar to modern movies or TV. But its extreme “private” nature – only one viewer is allowed to hold it at a time – has specific social and cultural implications, serves particular artistic goals, and is related to special viewing conventions and settings. Ancient Chinese painters developed intense interest in the handscroll’s media specificities, and invented a unique visual tradition through continuously discovering the rich potentials of the handscroll as an art medium. Consequently, only through exploring such media specificities can we begin to examine the historical development of handscroll paintings – to understand how generations of artists have discovered and utilized the potential of this visual form, while simultaneously transforming an empty scroll into concrete and individualized artistic expressions.

Speaker:Wu Hung

About the speaker:Famous art historian, Professor of Department of Art History at the University of Chicago


Introduction:"Cultural creativity" and "creative economy" are two brand new concepts in recent years that help cities revive and regain economic competitiveness. Ambitious places recognize that their context and operating conditions have changed dramatically. They conclude that a business as usual approach will not get them to where they want and need to be. They understand that the resources and assets or attitudes and attributes that made them great and successful in the past may hinder them in the future. By sharing the successful cases in famous cultural cities across the world, Charles will prove in the lecture that ambition and creativity are the keys to establish a creative city, in addition to cultural events, imagination and creativity that he advocates for urban change. Charles will lead you to think from a new perspective on how to establish a creative, energetic and livable city.

Speaker:Charles Landry

About the speaker:Charles Landry is an international authority on the use of imagination and creativity in urban change. He innovated the concept of the Creative City in the late 1980's. Its focus is how cities can create the enabling conditions for people and organizations to think, plan and act with imagination to solve problems and develop opportunities. The notion has become a global movement and changed the way cities thought about their capabilities and resources.He works with cities around the world to help them make the most of their potential. He is widely acclaimed as a speaker, author and innovator. He facilitates complex urban change projects. Acting as a critical friend, Charles works closely with decision makers and local leaders helping to find apt and original solutions to seemingly intractable dilemmas, such as marrying innovation and tradition, balancing wealth creation and social cohesiveness, or local distinctiveness and a global orientation. Charles has worked and given talks in over sixty countries and helped shift how we assess and harness possibilities in reinventing our cities. His Creative City Index is a powerful tool to measure the creative eco-system of places. Charles has written over a dozen books most recently The Digitized City which explores crucial issues we face as we enter the urban age. His book The Art of City Making was recently voted the second best book on cities ever written by the planning website Planetizen. Other books cover the senses of the city, interculturalism and culture and commerce.