Tue, Feb 25, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Cultural council chair says UK visit successful

FRUITFUL JOURNEY Tchen Yu-chiou says that meetings with the British arts establishment have already helped to put this country on the arts map

By Ian Bartholomew  /  STAFF REPORTER IN LONDON

Tchen Yu-chiou (陳郁秀), chairwoman of the Council for Cultural Affairs, left London for Paris yesterday morning to continue her work establishing Taiwan as a recognized member of the international cultural community.

At a press breakfast before her flight, she said that her four-day stopover in London had been important both in generating ideas and also for a number of projects that are to be put into effect almost as soon as the delegation returns to Taiwan.

During the London visit, Tchen and members of the delegation -- including members of Taiwan's arts establishment and government ministries -- engaged in talks with UK think tanks such as the Foreign Policy Center and DEMOS, both of which advise the British government. Both organizations put forward ideas that Tchen is hoping to put into effect at home.

Tchen's European trip, which included a visit to Denmark last week, is aimed broadly at vitalizing the spectrum of Taiwan's cultural life.

One of the main initiatives is in the field of education; but, Tchen pointed out, "If there is something to do, we should all get down to work."

She add that her report for the trip would be filed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so that it would have a broader application than merely a council project.

Both in Britain and in Denmark, substantive projects for educational cooperation were discussed. Discussions included the prospect of Taiwanese students participating in education programs related to Denmark's Images of Asia festival in August and a global arts network which is currently being brought together by the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in the UK.

It was determined that both the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the CCA would participate in the selection of students for the two programs.

"Both these projects [which seek to incorporate Asia] have omitted Taiwan. This is simply because they don't know enough about us. It is very important that we participate. We must be recognized as part of Asia! If not, we will lose much of our competitive advantage," Tchen said.

The desire to be better known by the international community ties in with Taiwan's desire to serve as some kind of regional center for the arts.

"In the area of publishing, Taiwan is in a very strong position creatively," said Jan Hung-tze (詹宏志) of the PC Home Publication Group, who joined the delegation in London.

"It has a domestic market which is just big enough, and is much more creative than China at the moment," he said, suggesting that Taiwan might play a role similar to the UK's in the Chinese-language publishing world.

Jan has been put forward as the leader of what in Britain is called the "creative entrepreneur's club," an ICA initiative that brings together young creative people who want to establish businesses.

"The entrepreneur's club will draw on software designers and such like people," said Danny Yung (榮念曾), a consultant to the delegation.

"We have to redefine places such as [the Huashan arts district in Taipei], so that they do not become ghettos for impoverished artists," Yung said.

"It needs a mixed population, which is why I hope that people like Ray Chen (陳瑞憲) or Edward Yang (楊德昌) might establish themselves there" Yung said.

"The Ministry of Education can also play a role in using the space for seminars," Yung said.

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