Spotlight Taiwan Programme ‘Making Place and Place Making’

30 October 2018

The Spotlight Taiwan Programme ‘Making Place, and Place Making: Vernacular Heritage in the Urban Development in Taiwan’ was supported by the Ministry of Culture of Taiwan and hosted by IIAS in Leiden, the Netherlands, from 30 October to 2 November 2018. It was a truly collaborative effort that was organised by a group of Taiwanese partners together with IIAS.

It was an exciting programme, not in the least because of the discussions and practical workshops jointly led by scholars with an academic background and the enthusiastic staff of various Taiwanese NGO’s involved in community building. The Taiwanese partners included the Graduate Institute of Architecture and Cultural Heritage, Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan; the Graduate Institute of Building and Planning (GIBP), National Taiwan University, Taiwan; the Wanhua School Co., Ltd.; the Yuanli Hi Home Co., Ltd., and the Taiwan Dream City Building Association. The opening session, on 30 October, was attended by the Taiwanese Representative in The Netherlands (The Hague), Dr Tom Chou, who gave a short speech in which he expressed his gratitude for the programme and, in a broader context, the cooperation between Taiwan and Dutch universities.

The programme focused on the question of how ‘heritage’ might be utilised as a means to promote social cohesion in an urban environment. It included a series of lectures and a workshop at IIAS as well as a series of practical workshops on rush weaving and an exhibition at the Textile Research Centre (TRC), Leiden. The rush weaving was of particular interest, not only as an old craft that is being revived in Taipei, but also because it is being used to help different communities in this city to regain their strength and cohesion. All parts of the programme were well attended, especially with students of the Leiden MA programme on Critical Heritage Studies (including Taiwanese students), which forms part of the Double Degree Programme in Critical Heritage Studies of Leiden University, IIAS, National Taiwan University and Yonsei University in South Korea. Other participants included students and scholars connected with other IIAS programmes on Urban Studies. The final reception, at the end of the highly satisfactory programme, was held on Friday 2 November and was attended by some thirty participants and other guests who took an interest in the discussions.

From left to right: Ku Mingyun (Taiwan Dream City Building Association, Wanhua, Taipei), Vivian Chen (National Taiwan University), Dr Tom Chou (Taiwanese Representative in The Netherlands)