Me and We: (re-)imagining community and social bonds now and in the future

16 Sep 2020

2:00 – 3:50 p.m. (GMT +08:00)


Order of Canada, OBC, Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, RCA and President Emeritus, Emily Carr University of Art +Design

Dr. Ron Burnett is Research Director, Centre for Transdisciplinary Studies, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, a recipient of the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia and was appointed a “Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres” in 2010, by the French Government. He is the author of two books, the editor of a third and over 150 articles published worldwide. He is the President Emeritus of Emily Carr University and is the former editor and founder of Ciné-Tracts Magazine.

Community and Covid-19: Notes from the Far Side of the Pandemic

Abstract: Communities are defined by boundaries, both imagined and real. Pathogens force separation and a hardening of borders while also signalling the need for cooperation and sharing. Pandemics like Covid-19 reveal strengths and weaknesses that are both systemic and haphazard. Social, cultural and economic structures and systems come under tremendous stress and this can lead to creative rebuilding, innovation or authoritarianism. This presentation looks at the impact of Covid-19 on a small university of art and design as a test case of whether communities of practice and shared interests can survive the contradictory pressures forced on it by the pandemic.

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Professor of Global Cinema & Creative Cultures, University of St. Andrews, Scotland

Dina Iordanova is a scholar of transnational cinema with particular interest in global film cultures and the dynamics of transnational film circulation. She is the author and editor of over fifteen books which deal with matters of Eastern European cinema and cultural discourse, transnational film and film festivals.

Giving In or Practicing Resilience at the Festival Circuit?

Abstract: I would offer reflections on the likely changes to the dynamics in the global film festival circuit, taking into consideration that in the absence of liveness the streaming platforms of all sorts and sizes enter direct competition with the festivals. I will also discuss the struggle of the film festivals to come up with alternative models in the context of lockdown. All this has direct repercussions on the communal aspect of cinema as an art that is made in groups in order to be collectively enjoyed. Will new types of social bonds be forged in these testing times?

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Prof. Koichi IWABUCHI

Professor of Sociology, Kwansei Gakuin University

Koichi Iwabuchi is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the School of Sociology, Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan. His main research interests are diversity, inclusion and cultural citizenship; trans-Asian cultural connections and cross-border dialogue; and critical public pedagogy. His recent English publications include:  Resilient Borders andCulturalDiversity: Internationalism, Brand Nationalism and Multiculturalismin Japan (Lexington Books, 2015); “Trans-Asia as method: a collaborative and dialogic project in a globalized world,” in Trans-Asia as Method: Theory and Practices, edited by J. de Kloet, Y. F. Chow and G. P. L. Chong(Rowman & Littlefield International, 2019); and “Globalization, Digitalization, and Renationalization”, Situations: Cultural Studies in the Asian Context, 2019, 12 (1).

Culture of solidarity in an era of the Covid-19 pandemic

Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has been making considerable and paradoxical influences on our lives—ecologically, politically economically, socially and culturally. This paper presents a very preliminary consideration on Covid-19’s ambivalent cultural impacts on the embracing of cultural diversity and inclusion in the Japanese context. “Stay at home” nationalism, xenophobia, racism and disparity have been newly engendered, at the same time the collective engagement with social justice, inclusive togetherness and the necessity of fostering altruism are being enhanced and shared. Their eventual consequences are yet to be known, but the pandemic crisis at least brings about an opportunity to encourage people to realize if faintly that our action, imagination and solidarity create our destiny. Whether and how such collective predisposition and will to change the world can be nurtured is one of the most significant cultural questions in an era of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Director of Huston School of Film & Digital Media, National University of Ireland, Galway

Rod Stoneman is an Emeritus Professor at the National University of Ireland, Galway and a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Exeter and the West of England. He was the Director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, National University of Ireland, Galway, Chief Executive of Bord Scannán na hÉireann / the Irish Film Board and previously a Deputy Commissioning Editor in the Independent Film and Video Department at Channel 4 Television in the United Kingdom. He has made a number of documentaries, including Ireland: The Silent VoicesItaly: the Image Business12,000 Years of Blindness and The Spindle. He is the author of Chávez: The Revolution Will Not Be TelevisedA Case Study of Politics and the MediaSeeing is Believing: The Politics of the Visual and Educating Filmmakers: Past, Present and Future with Duncan Petrie.

Pandemic: the Pandemonium of the Image


  1. The distorting presence of competitive individualism in commodity culture, transmitted through the image system.
  2. Inflected by recent experience of lockdown: remote working utilising digital modes for meeting and communication as part of a reconfiguration of the domestic domain as a space for work, education, creative activity – a different use of time and a different relation between people.
  3. Re-imagining community and cultural production post the pandemic.

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The opinions expressed by the speakers represent their own views, and do not reflect HKBU’s position.

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