Asian Heritage Month events explore China’s architecture and intellectual diaspora

York visual arts professor Yam Lau will present his computer-generated animation and digital video project today, drawing on his field research in Beijing, China, as part of the 2009 celebration of Asian Heritage Month.

The talk, “A Chinese Courtyard House or a Dream?: A talk on space, time, image and China”, will take place from 2:30 to 4:30pm in Room 002, Accolade East Building, Keele campus. The event is co-presented by the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) and the City Institute at York University.

Right: Yam Lau’s Hutong House

Lau’s works create new sensations of space and time in architecture and the human activities that take place therein. One recent work in particular, Hutong House, reconstitutes the architectural layout and the associated ways of life of a traditional Chinese courtyard house as rendered in virtual space. In a sense, these digital works can also be categorized as creative documentaries

Lau will discuss how the unfolding of the historical house in virtual space constructs a pure and imaginary vision of China where the dynamic realities of past and present, real and virtual, are rendered provisional insofar as they become perpetually complicated.

Left: Yam Lau’s Hutong House

On Friday, May 8 from 12:30 to 2:30pm in Room B at 270 York Lanes, Keele campus, there will be a presentation based on an Australian Research Council Discovery Project, which traces communication networks of the Chinese knowledge diaspora in Australian and Canadian universities.

Professor Rui Yang, director of the Comparative Education Research Center at the University of Hong Kong, and education Professor Anthony Welch from the University of Sydney, will present “The Chinese Knowledge Diaspora and the International Knowledge Network: Australian and Canadian Universities Compared”.

Jorge Balán, a senior researcher with the Center for the Study of State & Society in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a visiting scholar at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies of Education, is the event discussant. 

Left: Anthony Welch

Welch, a Fulbright New Century Scholar (2007-2008), directs the Australian Research Council project The Chinese Knowledge Diaspora. Welch’s two most recent books are The Professoriate: Profile of a Profession (2005) and Education, Change and Society (2007). He is currently working on two more books about China, Southeast Asia relations and Southeast Asian higher education reforms, which are expected out in 2009.

Yang has published widely in the fields of comparative and cross-cultural studies in education, higher education and education policy sociology

The Chinese Knowledge Diaspora project is critical to enhancing wider knowledge of China. It offers fresh insight into prospects for greater trans-national research collaboration, bilateral advantages, and ways to replenish the ageing Australian and Canadian academic workforce with bilingual, bicultural Chinese intellectuals.

Right: Rui Yang

Asian Heritage Month was declared across Canada in 2002. This year, YCAR is presenting several events in celebration of the diverse culture and achievements of Asians and to highlight the importance of Asia-related research and studies at the University.

Many of the events are organized by YCAR faculty and graduate students and feature York, Canadian and international speakers. The events will focus on diaspora, education, history, architecture, visual arts, media, globalization, art, religion and rights, and literature.

For more information, visit the YCAR Web site or contact YCAR at For Asian Heritage Month events in the GTA, visit the Asian Heritage Month Web site.