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Cultural Leadership Forum discusses harnessing creativity

Rewritten by Leo R. Maliksi
The two-day “2018 Cultural Leadership Forum: Present Your Strategy” organized by Taipei City Government’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DOCA) concluded on Saturday, December 1. Cultural leaders from the Netherlands, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan attended the forum and discussed strategies on harnessing creative energy to achieve cultural leadership. This was the third year for the forum and more than 600 people signed up to attend.
DOCA Commissioner Chung Yung-feng (鍾永豐) welcomed the foreign participants during the opening ceremony and said that Taipei enjoys robust cultural leadership in many areas. “At DOCA, we don’t just lead a cultural organization, but organize cultural leaders,” he said.
The Italian political thinker Antonio Francesco Gramsci said that leadership involved complex relationships. He asked how could intellectuals become “organic intellectuals”?
We need to view the complexity of social politics and the dynamics of change through the prism of philosophy, sociology, and psychology, said Chung. “What we see may not necessarily make us happy, but only in this way could we be open to the historical process, to multicultural development. We can thus maintain an open mind and reach a consensus.”

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Photo from DOCA  
DOCA Commissioner Chung Yung-feng (鍾永豐) welcomes foreign participants
during the opening ceremony and shares his own experiences in cultural leadership.

On November 30, the Forum’s theme was “The Global Influence of Cultural Leaders.” Mr. Paul Tan, the Vice Chairman of Singapore’s National Arts Council, DOCA Commissioner Chung, Taipei Fine Arts Museum Director Lin Ping, and Mr. Zhang Jiyi, chairman of Taiwan Creative Design Center discussed the public nature of cultural leadership and cultural policy.
Mr. Tan spoke about “Our SG Arts Plan 2018-2022” that he said would have much influence in promoting greater diversity, artistic originality, and social cohesion. The plan is also in harmony with global trends.
Commissioner Chung spoke about the influence of cultural policies on the population. TFAM Director Lin shared her thoughts on “Post-Nature: The Museum as an Ecosystem,” this year’s theme of the Taipei Biennale. Mr. Zhang Jiyi, who had worked as Taitung County Asst. Magistrate and director of that county’s Cultural Bureau shared how he promoted the cultural policies of the Taitung municipal government.

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Photo from DOCA  
Left to right: Mr. Zhang Jiyi, chairman of Taiwan Creative Design Center, Taipei National University of the Arts Prof. Yiwei Geng (耿一偉), Singapore’s National Arts Council Vice Chairman Paul Tan, DOCA Commissioner Chung, TFAM Director Ping Lin, INXO Arts & Culture Foundation Executive Director Joyce Tang, Ms. Wendy Teo Boon Ting, founder and curator of Borneo Arts Collective, Shankou Province (Japan) Marketing Consultant Genki Desuka, and Mr. Frank Kresin.

The second session of the Forum was “The Mission and Responsibilities of a Cultural Organization.”  Ms. Joyce Tang, executive director of INXO Arts & Culture Foundation, Mr. Paul Tan, and Mr. Ju Tzong-ching, chairman of the National Performing Arts Center discussed how cultural organizations influence the society at large.
On December 1, discussions focused on cultural activities organized by civil society. Frank Kresin, the first speaker, had much experience in the use of new technologies for social goals such as the empowerment of (disabled) users, and enhancing education and development through the use of modern technology. Mr. Kresin discussed the issue of social innovation and the concept of the Flipped Classroom with Ozzie Su, founder of Za Share and Plan-b, an advisory group that promotes sustainable design.

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Photo from DOCA  
More than 600 people signed up to attend this year’s Forum.
Mr. Kresin first defined the activities of cultural leaders, be they government cultural organizations or small and medium private enterprises. He said that cultural leaders face a myriad of challenges. They need to understand the needs of their audiences. They need to build capable teams, take risks, and nurture creativity. They need to acquire a sustainable influence on society.