Cross-Cultural Collaboration: Modes of Participation for co-creation of the Urban Public Space (Wednesday, 13 November 2019)

Speaker: Dr Minna Valjakka, Senior Research fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Date : Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Time : 3.00pm

Venue : AS8 #06-46 Conference Room

Please email to to register


Shifting forms of participatory agency and strategies are emerging from street art scenes worldwide. A case in point is the Micro Galleries initiative, a non-profit art endeavour, which since 2013 has diffused the genres of street art, participatory art, installation art and digital art. With a close analysis of their Festival in Jakarta in 2017, I will examine how the locally embedded, cross-cultural street art events in the urban public space foreground new methodological and theoretical challenges for the existing discourses and paradigms of participation in art. The Micro Galleries Festival reclaims the urban public space through simultaneous activities in everyday living environments and multidisciplinary co-creations between organisers, collaborators, artists on/off-site, volunteers, residents and visitors. This highlights not only intricate modalities and positionalities of participation which emerge from (un)planned collaborations and unexpected incidents, but also a need to investigate them. My study is based on a longitudinal and interdisciplinary research approach and is inspired primarily by Irit Rogoff’s (2005) and Sruti Bala’s (2018) calls for a broader and a more detailed theorisation of participation and extending it into the realms of visual culture and non-participation. Even in the face of contradictions and challenges, these kind of multimethod cross-cultural street art interventions hold the potential to expand the modes of participation beyond contemporary art into the spatio-aesthetic and socio-political conventions of the urban public space


Dr Minna Valjakka is currently Senior Research Fellow in the Asian Urbanisms Cluster at the Asia Research Institute (NUS). Through an interdisciplinary and comparative approach bridging together Art Studies and Urban Studies, Dr Valjakka examines urban creativity as a response to the distinctive trajectories of geopolitical circumstances, developments in arts and cultural policies, and translocal mediations in East and Southeast Asian cities. She has published extensively, and her recent publications include a co-edited volume (with Meiqin Wang), Visual Arts, Representations, and Interventions in Contemporary China. Urbanized Interface (AUP, 2018). Besides her academic work, she also collaborates with museums in terms of exhibitions, workshop, lectures and publications. In January 2020, Dr Valjakka will join University of Helsinki (in Finland) as Senior Lecturer in Art History and, furthermore, launch her new 5-year research project, Shades of Green, investigating the roots and current manifestations of environmental art in Asia.