We are delighted to announce our two Keynote Speakers for CMCI Emerging Voices 2019 Conference: Suhair Khan director of Google Arts & Culture’s UK partnerships and projects and Professor Hongwei Bao from The University of Nottingham.
Google Arts & Culture, Program Manager
Suhair leads on UK Partnerships and projects for Google Arts & Culture. Currently based in London, her work focuses on the nexus of art, culture, storytelling and technology. A long-time Googler, she joined Google in Mountain View before moving to Singapore and then London.
She is a graduate of both Cornell University and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Suhair grew up between Europe and Asia, and her interests and work have always drawn from an array of cultural and social influences – sometimes with chaotic results!
She has written extensively over the years on art, fashion, design and culture for publications including Vogue, Conde Nast Traveler, and Architectural Digest. Her advisory roles center around social impact, culture and technology.
Google Arts and Culture
Google Arts & Culture puts the collections of more than 1,800 museums at your fingertips. It’s an immersive way to explore art, history and the wonders of the world, from Van Gogh’s bedroom paintings to the women’s rights movement and the Taj Mahal. The Google Arts & Culture app is free and available online for iOS and Android. Our team has been an innovation partner for cultural institutions since 2011. We develop technologies that help preserve and share culture and allow curators to create engaging exhibitions online and offline, inside museums. Read about our latest projects on the Google Keyword blog.
Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham
Dr. Hongwei Bao is Assistant Professor in Media Studies at the University of Nottingham, where he also co-directs the Centre for Contemporary East Asian Cultural Studies (CEACS). He is also a member of the Institute for Screen Industries Research (ISIR) and Centre for Critical Theory (CCI) at Nottingham. Prior to Nottingham he taught at Nottingham Trent University, University of Potsdam, University of Sydney, and the National Academy of Chinese Theatrical Arts, Beijing. Hongwei Bao obtained his PhD in Gender and Cultural Studies from the University of Sydney in 2011. He was DAAD Fellow at the Free University of Berlin and British Academy Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths College, the University of London.
His research primarily focuses on gay identity, queer activism, independent documentary and alternative media production in contemporary China. He is the author of Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China (2018) and co-editor of Queer/Tongzhi China: Perspectives into Research, Activism and Media Cultures (2015). He has published articles on gay identity and queer filmmaking in academic journals including Cultural Studies, Culture Unbound, Global Media and China, Health, Culture and Society, Interventions, and The JOMEC journal. He is currently working on a book on queer community media and cultural production in contemporary China.
Queer China: Sexuality, Communication and Culture in the Global South
Entering the twenty first century, we see a proliferation of queer cultural expressions in major Chinese cities: from film festivals to art exhibitions, from community choirs to theatre performances, from PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) meetings to do-it-yourself same-sex weddings, from websites designed for ‘cooperative marriages’ to lesbian and gay hook-up apps. There seems endless creative energy and enthusiasm in these community events and cultural productions. All these, however, paradoxically take place in a country where queer rights are far from being guaranteed. In recent years, we see a tightening of government control on media freedom and grassroots organising; there are also worrying signs of ‘homonormativity’ associated with a burgeoning ‘pink economy’ catering to a predominantly young, urban and middle-class queer community. How do we make sense of this seemingly exciting and yet contradictory historical moment? Are we witnessing a gradual co-option of queer cultures by converging political and commercial forces, or are we in the process of a ‘long revolution’ characterised by deterritorialisation of desires and democratisation of cultures? What role do media, communication and culture play in the formation of identities, communities, and politics in the contemporary People’s Republic of China? Bringing together queer performances, images and texts, in tandem with urban ethnography, this talk will delve into the emerging queer cultures in urban China in the past two decades to interrogate the politics of being queer in the Global South.