The International Symposium -“Asia Literacy” in practice was held on Thursday 12 June 2014
at Monash University Caulfield Campus
The Symposium addressed the importance of “Asia literacy” as it has been widely discussed in Australia since the 1990s and was given renewed emphasis in the 2012 White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century. The Asia Education Foundation has been working hard to implement the cross-curriculum priority of “Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia” at Australian schools. But what Asia literacy really means and how it can be cultivated are not easy questions. In the academy and in Australian public culture, concerns have been raised about the risk of reproducing essentialist views that turn “Asian cultures” into stereotypes. Many have also criticized the promotion of Asia literacy as being too market-driven. These criticisms help us to focus attention on what we mean by “Asia” and what forms of engagement with Asia are occurring in Australia.
The symposium addressed four major domains of discussion:
Teaching “Asia” in the high school; “Asia Literacy” in business; Working with “Asia”: Material culture and activism and Embracing “Asia”: Towards an inclusive engagement
This one-day symposium expounded on the experiences of people who have been involved in practising “Asia literacy” through their work in such fields as secondary and university education, business, craft art, activism and media. Through the various experiences of invited speakers, this one-day provided participants with a wealth of informed perspectives on and critical insights into engaging with “Asia”.
This highly successful event, was attended by 60 participants from a number of academic and cultural institutions. The general consensus called for a further follow up discussion of this topic in the future.