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Call for Participants: Yunfest in Sydney

Seeing China: Documentary Films from the Yunnan Multi Culture Visual Festival (Yunfest) Workshops & Film Screenings in Sydney, Australia

"Petition" (dir. Zhao Liang)


Workshop dates & themes: 4 June 2012 ≠ Activism and Aesthetics 5 June 2012 ≠ Documentary as a Research Method

Public Film Screenings: 1-2 June 2012 7-8 June 2012

Organizers: Dr Jenny Chio and Professor Wanning Sun China Research Centre University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) Contact:

Independent documentary film production inside the People’s Republic of China has flourished in the past twenty years and shows no sign of abating, despite increased public and political attention to Chinese filmmakers and their projects.

“Seeing China” will explore the range of contemporary practices in documentary filmmaking in China today with screenings of recent documentaries, most selected from the Yunfest catalogue. Two day-long workshops at the University of Technology, Sydney, led by Chinese filmmakers, scholars, and the lead curator of Yunfest, will provide an opportunity for researchers to explore documentary filmmaking in China as a social, cultural, and political phenomenon. A list of films to be screened will be available on the UTS China Research Centre website in April 2012 (; films under consideration include Petition (Zhao Liang, 2009), Apuda (He Yuan, 2010), and When the Bough Breaks (Ji Dan, 2010).

We are now inviting scholars and postgraduate students to participate in the workshop series to be held on 4-5 June 2012 at UTS. We are especially interested in bringing together a dynamic, interdisciplinary group of participants (from fields such as ≠ but not limited to ≠ China Studies, Media Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Film Studies, and Journalism), and we welcome academics as well as filmmakers to apply. All workshop participants are highly encouraged to attend the film screenings, which will take place before and after the workshop dates.

Limited travel funding will be available to support ECRs and postgraduate students traveling from outside Sydney. Workshops will be held in English; some knowledge of Mandarin Chinese is helpful, but not required.

The first workshop, on 4 June 2012, will investigate the current conditions of independent documentary film production and circulation in China today, with a focus on the question of activism and aesthetics in documentary filmmaking. This workshop will be jointly led by Dr Yi Sicheng (Yunfest curator), Mr He Yuan (filmmaker), and Dr Luke Robinson (Lecturer in Film and Media Studies, University of Nottingham). The second workshop, on 5 June, will explore documentary as a research method and will include special screenings of student work from China. Mr Li Xin (Lecturer in Media Production, Yunnan Arts Institute) and Dr Jenny Chio (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UTS) will lead this workshop. All participants will be expected to participate in both workshops, in order to encourage the greatest possible exchange of ideas and to develop research collaboration opportunities.

We hope to facilitate intensive conversations on documentary film practice in the context of contemporary China, cultural studies, and media production. To be considered for this workshop series, applicants should submit by 15 April 2012:

1) A statement of your current research interests/production projects and how you will benefit from participation in the workshop series (500-800 words) 2) Your full contact and affiliation information, including email, phone number, and mailing address.

Please email your statements and information to Dr Jenny Chio ( as a Word or PDF attachment. Participants will be notified by 1 May 2012, at which time we will also circulate a few key background readings in preparation for the workshops.

“Seeing China: The Yunnan Multi Culture Visual Festival” is supported by a Special Projects Resources grant from the ANU Centre on China in the World and the UTS China Research Centre.


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