5 Nov 2012

Manga Museums and Their Audiences: a Case Study on the Consumption of Popular Culture in Museums

A talk by Dr Mariko Murata

Discussant: Dr Lorraine Lim (Birkbeck)

23 November 2012, 6.30 pm
Birkbeck College, Room G01 – Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, London WC1 7HX

Organized by the Centre for Media, Culture and Creative Practice (Birkbeck, University of London) and LAPCSF

In recent years the number of museums and exhibitions dedicated to manga has been on the rise. Throughout Japan fifty to sixty institutions that can be said to fall under this category have been established. This is a typical case in which popular culture such as anime and manga, films and music, finds itself within the museum
context. However, a closer look into the institutions will tell us that they deal with manga in very different ways. For example, there are ‘manga art galleries’ which conceptualise manga as an art form, and equate it with original artwork; ‘manga museums’ which deal with manga related materials as historical artefacts; and ‘manga artist memorial halls’ which focus on a single artist as a celebrated local figure. Yet it remains true that in our everyday lives, manga as a medium takes the format of a book, and so these institutions can be conceived of as ‘manga libraries.’ Such combination of museums and popular culture, often referred to as the ‘high and low’ of the cultural axes, is not a phenomenon a priori. It arouses interesting questions on the consumption of popular culture.
What kind of a medium is manga when we see them in museums? How are manga generally consumed in Japan, and why should we have them in museums anyway? What do visitors do there? Looking into the results of the audience research that our research group has conducted over the past years, I would like to discuss on what the blend of popular culture and museums can bring to our society today.

Mariko Murata, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Sociology, Kansai University, Japan. She is currently a Visiting Scholar at Birkbeck from September 2012. Her research is on ‘museums as media’, or media and cultural studies on museums. She is interested in the differences and the negotiations between Japanese museums and Western museums in the age of globalization and popular culture. One of her latest topics is about ‘manga’ (Japanese comics) museums, which she will be presenting at the meeting.

Admission is free, but seats are limited. Please book your seat at: http://mangamuseums.eventbrite.co.uk

23 Jun 2012

Public Symposium: Creative Industries in East and Southeast Asia

Birkbeck College, University of London and the Japan Foundation are pleased to present a public symposium on the subject of Creative Industries in East and Southeast Asia, which provides an opportunity to hear the results of an academic conference held the day before. Spurred, but no longer led by Japan, countries in this region have endeavoured to catch-up with Western economies and are now competing against each other. Audiences in East and Southeast Asia are increasingly attracted to the cultures of other countries from within the region in an on-going interplay with globalised popular culture. This symposium will provide a fresh look at these dynamics, looking at how creative industries in these countries are moving up the global value chain, as well as examining growing regionalisation and the unexpected trajectory and localisation of the idea of ‘creative industries’ itself.

This event will feature a panel of academics from across the region, includingProf Yoshitaka Mouri from the Tokyo University of Arts, Prof Anthony Fung from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Dr Kim Yeran from Kwangwoon University. The timetable for the day will be:

DATE: 30 June, 2012  12noon to 3pm
VENUE: Richmix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA

12:00 - 13:00 
Focus on Fashion - Keynote presentation by Prof Hiroshi Narumi, Kyoto University of Art & Design, on A New Era of Tokyo Fashion with Dr Wessie Ling, Senior Lecturer at the London College of Fashion, as discussant.

13:00 - 13:30
Lunch Break

13:30 - 14:15
Panel - ‘Government and the Creative Industries: what is the right balance?’  - including Jenny White the British Council's Head of Art in its Tokyo Office and response from Dr Kim Yeran, Kwangwoon University.

14:15 - 15:00
Panel - ‘From Importer to Exporter: how can new generations of Creative Industry professionals form distinctive national identities? - including Ryo Sanada from The SRK, a production studio based in London & Jakarta.
This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please e-mail your name and the title of the event you would like to attend to event@jpf.org.uk.

7 Jun 2012

Symposium: Creative Industries in East and Southeast Asia

The Japan Foundation & Birkbeck College’s Centre for Media, Culture and Creative Practices present


This symposium will bring together some of the world’s foremost experts to examine creative industries in East and Southeast Asia and how it is shaped by and shaping the global relation of power which is rapidly tilting towards the East. Spurred but no longer led by Japan, countries in East Asia have endeavored to catch-up with Western economies and increasingly compete against each other. The focus is no longer exclusively on manufacturing and productivity but has shifted to nurturing creativity and culture and becoming a branded cool nation. In this historical conjuncture, this symposium provides a fresh look at East Asia’s move up the global value chain, growing regional cooperation and competition, and unexpected trajectory and localization of the idea of creative industries, which originated in the UK.

This event is free but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please visit our event page <http://www.eventbrite.com/event/3666087366>.

Date: (Fri) 29 June 2012 from 10:30 to 18:00
Venue: The Japan Foundation, London, 10-12 Russell Square, London WC1B 5EH

Speakers include
Professor Anthony Fung (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Professor Yoshitaka Mouri (Tokyo University of the Arts)
Professor Eunmee Kim (Seoul National University, South Korea)
Dr Yeran Kim (Kwangwoon University, South Korea)
Dr Lorraine Lim (Birkbeck)

For more information contact the organiser <s.oyama@bbk.ac.uk>

5 May 2012

Birkbeck’s Centre for Media, Culture and Creative Practices and London Asia Pacific Cultural Studies Forum Presents

Symposium: Global Japan
presenters: Oliver Dew, Dario Lolli, Simon Turner & Lyle De Souza
chairs: Dr. Jonathan Mackintosh and Dr. Shinji Oyama

REGISTER here: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/3500579327

The aim of this symposium is to present some of the very latest research being produced by Birkbeck PhD students on the general theme of ‘Global Japan’ to encourage dialogue on and an understanding of a Japan de-centred from its geographical location. The presenters range from those just beginning their PhD to those who have been doing their PhD for several years and are near completion. The topics use different, innovative cultural studies methodological approaches and encompass a number of mediums including music, literature, manga and film. Global Japan is a complex and dynamic subject, so it is hoped that after these presentations and a panel discussion a clearer idea of it evolves and the audience will have had a glimpse of the exciting directions that the scholars of the future are taking in the study of Japan and its international reach.

29 Feb 2012

Beyond Indignation: New Media, Anti-Nuclear Activism, and the ‘Abandoned People of Fukushima’

London Asia Pacific Cultural Studies Forum Special Talk:

Beyond Indignation: New Media, Anti-Nuclear Activism, and the ‘Abandoned People of Fukushima’
Dr Nicola Liscutin

Date: 1 March 2012, 6 - 7.30pm
Venue: Keynes Library (Room 114)
School of Arts,
43 Gordon Square
London WC1H 0PD

When in 12 March 2011 images of the explosions in the Fukushima Daiichi reactors filled TV screens accompanied by official assurances that all was under control and no harm would come to the population, many people in Fukushima and the Kantō region experienced what media scholar Manuel Castells has called ‘an extraordinary level of cognitive dissonance,’ which is to say, a huge gap between the fear-triggering force of the images and the framing of official statements. Alarmed citizens then turned in ever growing numbers to independent Internet-based media in search for reliable, ‘truthful’ information. Over the course of the past year, the importance and usage of these alternative media in Japan has increased dramatically. They have accelerated the development of ‘mass self-communication’ (Castells) and contributed significantly to the formation of (global) networks of solidarity and anti-nuclear activism in Japan.
In an article published last November in the Asia-Pacific Journal (http://www.japanfocus.org/-Nicola-Liscutin/3649), I examined these developments in some detail. Taking stock of more recent events and trends, this paper offers an update on the changed Japanese mediascape with regards to participatory journalism and citizens’ communication networks. By way of an example, I shall focus specifically on the mediation (and remediation) through alternative TV/Ustream and social media of the fight against silence by, and for, ‘the abandoned people of Fukushima.’

Nicola Liscutin, PhD, is a researcher of Japanese Cultural Studies affiliated until end of February with the Graduate School of Arts & Science of Tokyo University. From April 2012, she will be a Visiting Professor at the Institute for the Study of Global Issues of Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo