Summer Programme Schedule

Please note sessions are closed to participants with the exceptions of Monday’s Panel Discussion 1730-1930, Wednesday’s Films and Panel Discussion 1700-1900, and Thursday’s Book Launch 1730-1900 (Tickets Available below by Session description)

Day 1 – Monday 15 July

Westminster University, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW

1400-1600
‘Queer’ Asia: Concept, History, Challenges (Roundtable Discussion)
Led by J. Daniel Luther and Jennifer Ung Loh
Location: Fyvie Hall

Opening session addressing the concept, history, and challenges faced through the organisation of ‘Queer’ Asia. Now in our fourth year, ‘Queer’ Asia has held conferences, film festivals, events, and art exhibitions, but our first ever Summer Programme means to probe more deeply and explicitly the purpose of organising and the visions behind our collective work. Why, if so, is such work critically necessary and do (and which) communities benefit from it? This session will introduce some of the main themes and questions for the week, including ideas and reasons of organisational failure on the level of politics, questions of practicalities, and issues of representation. It enables an open conversation around strategies and issues in creating/ imagining communities that transcend geo-political brackets of regional identities, nationalities, or the questions of identity. It opens the floor to re-thinking queer and Asia: what shapes, forms, and resources does it need?
Timeframe: 2 hours

1730 – 1930
Panel Discussion: ‘Queer Asia as a Field?’ (Open Event)
Chair: Dibyesh Anand
Speakers: Nof Nasser Eddin (CTDC), Victoria Sin, Victor Fan (King’s College London)
Location: UG05, followed by reception in Fyvie Hall

Free tickets available here (registration necessary)

What is it to conceive ‘queer Asia’ as a field? Is it useful (or not) to organise around the terms ‘queer’ and ‘Asia’ (separately or conjoined)? How does this differ within varied practices and disciplines? What organisational capacity does it hold? Our Opening Panel invites our speakers to reflect on ideas of ‘Queer’, ‘Asia’, and ‘Queer Asia’ in their disciplines, areas of expertise, and/or practice. Coming from academic, activist, and artistic backgrounds, panellists will reflect on their divergent expertise in thinking about these questions and discuss some of the significant queries we reflect upon in organising around the terms queer and Asia.
Timeframe: 2 hours, followed by reception

Day 2 – Tuesday 16 July

Westminster University, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW

1030-1230
Concept Piece Discussions: What Is Your Version of a ‘Queer Asia’?
Led by J. Daniel Luther and Jennifer Ung Loh
Location: Fyvie Hall

Based on the ‘concept pieces’ submitted in advance, this session provides the opportunity for participants to get to know more about one another, their expertise, and backgrounds. Our aim is to discuss productively both the differences and similarities in conceptualising and organising, negotiating our own and others’ versions of a ‘queer Asia’: does it exist, does it have to exist, and if so, what does it look like? Is it important, and why? This session involves time for individual engagement and reaction and discussions as a group.
Timeframe: 2 hours

1230 – 1330
Lunch

1330 – 1530
Film Making as Research and Activism
Led by Xiaopei He, Pink Space Sexuality Research Centre
Location: Fyvie Hall

This workshop uses film as a medium to think through the meaning of queer in Asia, and to discuss what is queer. Xiaopei, a filmmaker and activist, will use film clips to show her own understanding of queer, gender and sexual politics and to share her own experiences of filmmaking as research and activism, engaging participants with discussions of how to use film to challenge sexual and social norms. Xiaopei’s work attempts to break the male dominance in LGBTQ politics; to problematize sex-negative attitudes popular in feminist politics; to portray oppressed and marginalized lives with laughter not tears; and to create an intersectional, international and subversive queer politics. The process of queer filmmaking and the ethics of filmmaking will be included.
Timeframe: 2 hours

1530-1600
Break

1600-1800
Rethinking Meanings of Pride Forum
Led by J. Daniel Luther and Jennifer Ung Loh
Location: Fyvie Hall

Pride has come a long way from the earliest Stonewall riots in NYC. With more and more cities in Asia holding pride festivals, to different forms of pride events such as Pink Dot in HK and Singapore for example, this forum brings together your experiences and understanding of what Pride means in Asian contexts. We aim to think collectively about the politics of ‘Pride’, the importance and necessity of representation and how past representation has succeeded or failed, and to question corporatisation. Together we aim to produce a workable manifesto for what we need to consider in coalitional organising and how not to pay lip service to diversity and inclusion.
Timeframe: 2 hours

Day 3 – Wednesday 17 July

King’s College London, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS

1100-1300
Music, Community and Activism – Building a Transnational Asian Queer Identity
Led by Hsien Chew, Proud Voices Asia
Location: River Room, King’s Building

Formed in 2012, Proud Voices Asia now consists of over 30 choirs concentrated in East Asia, but with representation from South East, South and West Asia, as well as Asian communities in North America. Its main purpose is to create a forum for cultural and information exchange around queer choral activism: the process by which group singing develops musicality, effects change in the internal and wider communities in which these choirs operate, and promotes both individual and societal senses of Pride. Hsien Chew is the founder and co-ordinator of Proud Voices Asia, a network of queer choirs from the Asian continent and its diaspora. In this session Hsien will touch on some of the challenges faced in building such a transnational LGBT+ network in Asia, including historical and linguistic barriers to communication, and the constraints of local religious, cultural, legal and political frameworks. He will explore how such interactions have helped define and express a local concept of ‘queer’ incorporating but discrete from dominant Western discourses, and how a distinct ‘Asian’ LGBT+ commonality, encouraged through shared experiences such as Proud Voices Asia’s biennial ‘Hand In Hand’ choral festivals (most recently held in Tokyo in April 2019), is coalescing.
Timeframe: 2 hours

1300-1400
Lunch

1400-1600
Navigating Queer Research in the Academy: A Roundtable Discussion
Led by Queer@King’s
Location: River Room, King’s Building

As part of the ‘Queer’ Asia Summer Programme, Queer@King’s is hosting an afternoon event that will feature scholars from King’s College London who work on and with queer theory. They will consider questions such as what does queer work mean to them? How is queer interpreted as methodology, object of study, or political investment? What are its crossovers and intersections? This round table will provide a platform for discussions about the relationship between queer theory, activism, and the academy.
Timeframe: 2 hours

1700 – 1900
QAFF ‘Feeling Bodies’ & Panel Discussion: Film Festival As Method – Curation, Challenges, Content (Open Event)
Speakers: Lindiwe Dovey (SOAS), Matthew Baren & Will Dai (CINEMQ), Theresa Heath (Queer Wotever DIY Film Festival), Poorva Rajaram (Bangalore Queer Film Festival), J. Daniel Luther (Chair)
Location: S -2.08 (Lecture Theatre), Strand Building 

Free tickets available here (registration necessary)

Cinema is rapidly changing the way queerness is imagined and visualised in diverse contexts. While rigid censorship laws, social oppression, and lack of funding push queer filmmakers to adopt a range of strategies in film making, distribution, and production, they have also resulted in queer film festivals emerging as crucial sites negotiating these regulatory powers amongst other critical goals. Keeping this in mind, this panel aims to examine how film festivals negotiate queer politics and challenges of distribution and exhibition through curation. It seeks to discuss questions on how festivals engage and contribute to queer politics in varied contexts, how curation can negotiate challenges of censorship, distribution, and funding, and what are the ways in which film festivals themselves situate themselves differently within divergent local contexts. It will incorporate the experiences of academics studying film festivals and festival curators.
Timeframe: 1.5 hours

Day 4 – ThursDay 18 July

SOAS University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

1030-1300
Methodology Workshop on Researching ‘Queer’ Asia
Led by: Eva C. Y. Li, King’s College London
Location: S113 (Paul Webley Wing)

In light with the increasing attention from both the humanities and social sciences on methodological issues on researching LGBTQI and other marginalised communities in the Anglo-American contexts (e.g. Brim and Ghaziani, 2016; Kulpa and Liinason, 2009; Nash and Browne, 2012) , this interactive workshop aims to advance an interdisciplinary discussion on researching queer communities and practices in Asia and among the diasporic Asian communities. It will (1) engage participants with existing epistemologies and research convention on gender and sexuality in their respective disciplines, (2) bring these diverse research conventions into productive dialogues and confrontations, (3) contest the applicability of research methods and queer critique in conducting empirical research in Asian contexts, and (4) critically reflect on our research practices in relation to the critical positions of queer, Asia, queering Asian studies, problematising/provincialising queer studies. Topics covered in the workshop will include, but not limited to, ethics in collecting data, representing ‘queer’ and ‘Asia’, dealing with (in)visibility, and dealing with ambiguities and silence in the research process. Participants are expected to reflect on their research and professional practices. It is also hoped to provide a platform for future trans-disciplinary and cross-sector collaboration.
Timeframe: 2.5 hours

1300-1400
Lunch

1400 – 1600
Reflective Session/Open Dialogue: Moving Forward
Led by Kate Korroch, University of California, Santa Cruz
Location: S113 (Paul Webley Wing)

The reflective session grapples with the ideas and questions that were presented over the course of the Queer Asia Summer Program. Participants will be invited to look ahead by discussing what they gleaned from the week and how we as an interdisciplinary group of thinkers plan to implement what we have learned. The Queer Asia model invites inquiry and offers multiple methods for thinking through ideas as they are taking form. Our opportunity is to see where the intersections and absences are within dialogues surrounding Queer Asia, acknowledge them, and work through building up knowledge and awareness. The session itself will take the form of an open dialogue with the goal of sharing how we will incorporate what was produced at the Queer Asia Summer Programme in our respective discourses and conversations to which we actively contribute at home.
Timeframe: 2 hours

1730 – 1900
Book Launch: ‘Queer’ Asia: Decolonising and Reimagining Sexuality and Gender, followed by Reception
Location: Atrium (Paul Webley Wing)

Free to attend, no registration necessary

Join us to celebrate the book launch of ‘Queer’ Asia: Decolonising and Reimagining Sexuality and Gender (Zed Books, 2019). We will be joined by some of our fantastic contributors who will discuss their chapters and some of the themes and questions raised by the volume.