July 18, 2016, by Franziska Koch
Welcome to the International Research Network for Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art (ReNet MoCoCA)
About the network
The International Research Network for Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art (ReNet MoCoCA) – launched in March 2015 – is conceived to address the needs of the growing, divers, and globally scattered academic community in this field. It helps to bridge communicational and informational gaps that result from local institutional confines of projects, departments, and universities as well as culturally diverging schools of thoughts. It provides a means to overcome existent disciplinary, ideological, and epistemologically grounded boundaries that mark the global community of academics researching modern and contemporary Chinese art. A particular concern of the network is to encourage and facilitate a shared dialogue between scholars who are educated and active in the People’s Republic of China and scholars from other regions of the world.
Important to the networks self-understanding is that members are interested in a broad heuristic definition of “Chinese”, “China” or “Chinesness”, one that encourages a critical, cross-disciplinary and broad scope of research on art(istic) and aesthetic practices, objects, concepts, agents and their (entangled) histories. These were and are often strongly affected by national, cultural and geo-political boundaries – as those constituted by the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, to name just the most common. But art works, practices and concepts as well as the agents who are related with what is called modern and contemporary Chinese art at specific places and moments in time did and do transgress governmental units more often than not. Consequently, the research activities, publications and discussions by network members deliberately include the study of socio-cultural units – such as various Chinese speaking communities and diasporas – and engage with China-related discourses of various kinds. In short, members are interested in contextualizing prevalent notions of Chinese modern and contemporary art and visual practices with a critical look into (art) historical, cultural, socio-political, economical and other relevant genealogies and do not exclude research that relates to or compares these issues with other regions, cultures, communities, and time frames.
The Network presents an informal international association of junior and senior scholars (about 30 members when starting in 2015/16 and since growing steadily) who are dedicated to the research and mediation of modern and contemporary Chinese art including scholars working in institutions that are related with academic research such as museums, collections, cultural associations and centers or art magazines. The network’s key concern is to facilitate international, cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional horizontal communication of early career researchers when gathering, discussing, and sharing information as well as publishing their research. The network is also dedicated to enable vertical academic exchanges particularly supported by senior members, who foster a greater institutional openness for research on Chinese modern and contemporary art and help creating career opportunities for members in the growing field. The interdisciplinary set-up of the network, which is guaranteed by the various scholarly and institutional backgrounds as well as multi-fold thematic projects of the network’s members, constitutes a collective platform of diverse voices that are united in their research focus.
The network’s blog
This blog provides a communicative platform enhancing the dialogue of the network members with the aim to intensify research discussions and to grant innovative methodological approaches greater visibility within the academic community as well as in public reception.
The blog features several categories (see right hand column) that structure the news about the network members’ academic activities such as conferences, call for papers, and exhibitions as well as publications and job opportunities. It also allows the members to comment, tag, and link contents with other affiliated institutional and personal websites.
The blog is kindly provided by The University of Nottingham, UK, while its administration is kindly supported by Heidelberg University’s Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” in an informal collaboration.