Department of History

Local Action to Global "Agitprop": Digital Representations of Chinese Occupy Movements

B7 Hemsley (Staff Club)
Thursday 15th February 2018 (16:00-18:00)
Jeremy Taylor:

Dr Rachel Marsden is to deliver a paper on Local Action to Global “Agitprop”: Digital Representations of Chinese Occupy Movements on 15 February 2018.

This paper will examine the representation of social and networked artistic practices (and their after-lives) created in response to the changing geopolitical borders of Hong Kong and Mainland China, specifically key pro-democracy, anti-globalisation political uprisings known as Occupy Movements. This “art of protest” will be questioned through the digital online lens as creating a new global discourse - contemporary “agitprop” culture. It will discuss how the latter challenges historical preconceptions by appropriating the Occupy Movements of Tiananmen Square Protest (1989) Beijing, and Occupy Central, Umbrella Revolution (2014), Hong Kong. They will be further framed through the theoretical and conceptual frameworks of critical spatial practices and networked space (IRL and online). Examples of artists and artists’ collectives represented digitally and shared (virally) online will show how they become instigators of local action to global “agitprop” culture. As such, questioning how has the digital era and age of social media impacted global “agitprop” culture?


Dr Rachel Marsden is a curator, researcher and arts writer based in Melbourne, Australia.

Currently, Lecturer in Art Curatorship at the University of Melbourne teaching Masters level subjects ‘Exhibitions Management’ and ‘Curating Contemporary Art’ whilst contributing to the Faculty of Arts’ Exhibition Management Committee. In 2017, she initiated ACP PROJECTS (Art Curatorship Partnership Projects) to develop practice-led, professional development opportunities for graduate students through external partnership with arts and cultural organisations across Victoria and Australia. In relation to learning and teaching, she examines pedagogies of artistic and curatorial practices including interdisciplinarity, academic identities and internationalising the curriculum.

Recent PhD research examined cultural translation through networked curatorial practices in the Chinese context since 1980 towards the definition of the role of the transcultural curator. This has now expanded into investigations of infrastructure, ecology and policy of networked curatorial practices in Chinese and Southeast Asian contexts towards their cultural sustainability. Future collaborative research examines ‘Activating Archives: Narrating Hong Kong’s Cultural Identity post-1977’, including the social art and critical spatial practices of Hong Kong’s Occupy Movement (proposed AHRC project), and ‘‘Gender Scars’: Women artists in China and Beyond’ examining the female body and skin as ‘a living ritual’ (related to mental health and wellbeing) through photographic and performative artistic practices since the scar and wound of China's Cultural Revolution (undertaking preliminary research).

Furthermore, she is founder and curator of the independent transcultural exchange research platform The Temporary, and Governing Board Member for China Residencies (New York, USA) and NPE Art Residency (Singapore). Previously, she was Coordinator for Centre for Chinese Visual Arts (CCVA) (Birmingham City University, UK) where she co-developed a groundbreaking Masters in Contemporary Arts China program, and Research Curator for Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) (Manchester, UK). In addition to this, she has international experience of curating and teaching, specifically in Australia, China, UK and USA and as an arts writer, contributes to various in-print and online catalogues, books, magazines and journals most recently to Frieze Magazine, Randian, LEAP and ArtRadarAsia.


Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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