The Newsletter 84 Autumn 2019

IIAS Photo Contest Award Ceremony in the IIAS garden

Sandra Dehue

ICAS 11 marked the conclusion of the 25th year of existence of the International Institute for Asian Studies, one of the co-organisers of ICAS 11 and the home-base of the ICAS Team. On 17 July, we welcomed guests to a sunlit reception in the garden of our stately house along the Rapenburg canal in the centre of Leiden. It served a double function, being both the venue for the Award Ceremony of the 2019 IIAS Photo Contest and for the member meeting of the European Alliance for Asian Studies.

Fortunately, the renovation works of our building, which dates to the early seventeenth century, had been stopped for the duration of ICAS. Our garden had been adorned with beautiful plants and (small) trees, on loan from the Leiden University Botanical Gardens (one of the partners in the IIAS Cultural Programme), and we were good to go. Throughout the ICAS week, the garden had already served as a pleasant and quiet meeting place for quite a few participants. The weather was glorious, the atmosphere cheerful, and having a drink and a bite to eat while standing or sitting in the garden with old and new friends was truly wonderful.

The reception was attended by participants of the ICAS programme and others who were curious to see the nerve centre of ICAS and IIAS as well as members of the IIAS board and Academic Committee. Ironically, only a few members of the IIAS staff could attend, as most of them were of course busy managing the conference. Also present were delegates of the European Alliance for Asian Studies. Established in 1997, the Alliance brings together universities and academic institutions from throughout Europe. Its members were prominently presented at ICAS 11, and they organised several panels and workshops. With its secretariat co-managed by IIAS and NIAS in Denmark, the reception served as a meeting place to discuss new developments concerning Asian Studies in Europe.  

IIAS Photo Contest 2019

The reception was also the venue for the Award Ceremony of the IIAS Photo Contest 2019. Earlier this year, we launched a photo competition to involve our contacts in our birthday festivities in a creative way, just as we did on the occasion of our 20th anniversary in 2013. For the competition, we had invited photographs based on two themes. The first focused on ‘25 years of IIAS’, asking for photos of IIAS-related events and activities. The second theme related to the special motto of ICAS 11, namely 'Asia and Europe. Asia in Europe'.

3 winners attending the award ceremony. From left to right: Mesha Murali, William Peterson, and Emmanuelle Peyvel.





Nearly 230 photographs were submitted, and the final selection was made by a jury of three. The six best photos, three per category, along with twenty-one further photos on the jury's joint shortlist were displayed inside the IIAS offices. There was also a continuous slide show with all the entries on the big screen TV in the IIAS conference room. The winners were announced in a speech given by IIAS Deputy Director Willem Vogelsang; three of them were present at the reception and could be congratulated in person.

Space here is limited, with room only to print the winning pictures on these pages. However, we have published the 21 shortlisted photos on our website. Most of these pictures fall into the category 'Asia and Europe. Asia in Europe'. While this ICAS theme dealt with various contemporary social and geo-political aspects of the centuries-long contacts between Europe and Asia, the photo competition concentrated on the visual evidence of these contacts. The call for photographs formulated it as follows: "Asia and Europe have a long history of mutual exchange and influence, reflected both in past relics and contemporary phenomena, including art, knowledge, philosophy and religion, diplomatic ties, trade and industry, and diaspora. Let your imagination roam free!" It yielded a wide variety of interesting and fun pictures.

It was a real pleasure to receive and view so many marvellous and interesting images. I would like to thank everyone for sending in their photographs, and for the joy they brought. I would also like to take the opportunity here, to again thank my colleagues who sacrificed precious time in their busy work schedule around the organisation of ICAS, especially Elske Idzenga, who was part of the core ICAS Team, and Aafke Hoekstra. As members of the jury, they went through all the entries and descriptions with great attention. Thanks also to Thomas Voorter for the IT support and Annemarie van Leeuwen for organising the reception!

This was my first ICAS, and I am very happy to have had the opportunity to share in the experience. Contributing to the ICAS Cultural Programme (e.g., organising the two calligraphy workshops taking place at IIAS), I have gained a better appreciation of the enormous amount of work done by the ICAS team and the professionalism involved. The best part, however, was to get a taste of the 'ICAS vibe' first hand. It was so wonderful to see so many people from so many different places connect — some of them during the reception at IIAS.

I hope you enjoy the pictures.

The shorlisted photos can be found here:

Sandra Dehue, IIAS content editor and editor of the network pages in The Newsletter


Winners in the category ‘IIAS events and activities’

Christine Berg, Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble. Performance during the ICAS 7 opening ceremony, Hawai’i, 2011

Mesha Murali, Bhool-Bhulaiya. Photo taken as part of the documentation process for the Mehrauli Neighbourhood Museum, part of the Urban Heritage and Civic Services Conference 2016, organised by Centre for Community Knowledge at Ambedkar University Delhi and IIAS. As the sun starts to set, local residents start to gather on the steps of Adham Khan’s Tomb (Dehli, India) locally known as Bhool-Bhulaiya, eagerly waiting to view the annual Dussera procession, one of the many festivals celebrated in the neighbourhood.

Maria Sheila Garcia Medina, ICAS 10 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2017. Moments before participants arrived for the opening ceremony.





Winners in the category ‘Asia and Europe. Asia in Europe’



Jukka Aukia, Local boy playing with billiard balls in a Western sports bar in downtown Shanghai, 2016

William Peterson, Boys and girls at the Voyadores Festival in Naga City, Bicol, Philippines, in 2017. At the Voyadores Festival, which runs in conjunction with the massive Peñafrancia Festival, Asia’s largest Marian religious event, boys and girls engage in ‘street dancing’ in competitive teams. In this dance, the boys play the part of the ‘voyadores’ who row in small boats tethered to a barge that returns the sacred effigy of Mother Mary, known locally as ‘Ina’, to her permanent year-round home in a basilica upriver.

Emmanuelle Peyvel, Honeymoon in Bana, Vietnam. This photo was taken in Bana’s hill station, in the center of Vietnam. First established by the French settlers, the original buildings are long gone. The station was entirely rebuilt as a French village imitation by Vingroup, a Vietnamese joint stock company. The village has its own cable car station, castle and cathedral. Associated with French romanticism, the station is a popular backdrop for honeymoon photos.