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  Guest Speakers

Keynote Speaker

 Dr. Astri Wright

Professor, Department of Art History and Visual Culture, University of Victoria, in Victoria, BC, Canada.

Astri Wright is Professor of Southeast Asian Art History in the Department of History in Art at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, the only such position in Canada. A researcher of modern and contemporary Indonesian art since the mid-1980s, Wright contributed to the opening up of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art as a field of academic and curatorial inquiry. Teaching the subject in both undergraduate and graduate courses since 1991, she has also contributed to expanding the academic curriculum. Her 1994 book, Soul, Spirit and Mountain: Preoccupations of Contemporary Indonesian Painters (Oxford University Press), offered the first full-length analytical discussion of the topic in English since Claire Holt's pioneering Art in Indonesia: Continuities and Change (1967). Wright’s book was based on case-studies selected from within modern and contemporary streams of Indonesian art, ranging from painting to installation art. Since the publication of this comprehensive book, Wright has focused on contemporary women artists, socially engaged artists, and the first generation of modern artists in Indonesia. She writes from a post-colonial perspective, locating the artists’ agency in their conversations with other art practices, ranging from local-indigenous and historical to foreign, trans-regional and cosmopolitan (which can include but is not limited to western art). Dr. Wright is dedicated to reaching many audiences: besides numerous academic and general-public articles in English, she has also published bi-lingually, Bahasa and English as well as in Norwegian. Wright has also curated extensively since the early 1990s, most often focusing on artists of various Asian backgrounds living in Canada, with exhibitions such as “Roots, Remakes, Reflections: Global/Canadian Kaleidoscopes” and “Seeker, Sentry, Sage: Shades of Islam in Contemporary Art,” and three large annual exhibitions of women’s art for International Women’s Day.


Guest Speaker

Dr. Kuan-Hsing Chen

Professor, Institute for Social Research and Cultural Studies, Chiao Tung University, Taiwan

Kuan-Hsing Chen 陳光興 is Professor in the Graduate Institute for Social Research and Cultural Studies, Chiao Tung University, Taiwan, and a Executive Director of the Inter-Asia School Action Office,. He taught in Tsing Hua University (1990-2008) and has held visiting professorships at universities in the US, Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, China, Uganda, and Ethiopia, Japan, Macau U, Thailand. His recent publication Asia as Method—Towards De-imperialization (Duke University, 2010) has Chinese, Korean ,Japanese and Thai editions. He has edited volumes in English, including Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies (1996) and Trajectories: Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (1998), Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Reader (2007), Decolonizing the World: A Mahmood Mamdani Reader (2017). In recent years, he has been involved in the West Heavens Project (2010-), the Modern Asian Thought project, “Indian-China Social Thought Forum” (2010), “Asian Circle of Thought Shanghai Summit” (2012), “Inter-Asia Biennale Forum” (since 2014) and “Bandung/Third World 60 Years Series” (2015), “Third World Action Project” (2016). “Bandung School” (2017-). A core member of the Taiwan: A Radical Quarterly in Social Studies, he is a co-editor of the journal, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies: Movements (2000-) and Renjian Thought Review (mandarin Chinese; 2010-).
Full Academic Biography

Plenary Session panelists

YBHG. Datuk Dr. Ghulam Sarwar Yousof (Cultural Centre, University of Malaya)

Professor Dato’ Dr. Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof graduated in English from the University of Malaya (1964), and did a Doctorate in Asian Theatre at the University of Hawaii (1976). He was responsible for setting up Malaysia’s first Performing Arts programme at the Science University of Malaysia (USM) in Penang in 1970. Dato’ Ghulam Sarwar Yousof served at that university as lecturer and Associate Professor. He joined the Cultural Centre, University of Malaya (UM) as Professor in 2002. He also served as a Senior Academic Fellow in International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) from 2009 to 2014. Currently, he is Adjunct Professor at the Cultural Centre, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Apart from traditional Asian theatre, his major interests include Asian literatures, folklore studies, as well as South- and Southeast Asian cultures. As a creative writer, he has published poetry, drama as well as short stories. He has also done a translation of Kalidasa’s Sanskrit play Shakuntala as well as translations of Urdu poetry into English. Dato’ Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof’s most outstanding contribution to academia is in traditional Southeast Asian Theatre with his Dictionary of Traditional Southeast Asian Theatre (Oxford, 1994).

Prof. Dr. Tan Sooi Beng (Music Department, University Sains Malaysia)



Tan Sooi Beng is Professor of Ethnomusicology at the School of the Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang. She is the author of Bangsawan: A Social and Stylistic History of Popular Malay Opera (Oxford University Press, 1993), and co-author of Music of Malaysia: Classical, Folk and Syncretic Traditions (Routledge, 2017). She is also one of the authors of Longing for the Past, the 78 RPM Era in Southeast Asia (Dust-to- Digital, 2013), which won the joint SEM Bruno Nettl Prize, 2014. Tan is the Editor-in- Chief of Wacana Seni, Journal of Arts Discourse and serves in the Advisory Editorial Board of Asian Music (USA). She is an elected Executive Board Member of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) and the Asia Pacific Society of Ethnomusicology (APSE). She has been actively engaged in the practice of community theatre for young people for the past three decades and is currently trying to revive the endangered Potehi glove puppet theatre in Penang. Her latest book, Potehi Glove Puppet Theatre of Penang: An Evolving Heritage (GTWHI, 2017) is a collaborative effort with the tradition bearers and community.




Prof. Dr. Mohd Anis Md Nor

Professor Dr. Mohd Anis Md Nor is an Adjunct Professor of Performing Arts at the Faculty of Music and Performing Arts, Sultan Idris Education University in Tanjung Malim, Perak; the External Examiner for Sunway University’s Performing Arts Program; and Managing Director of Nusantara Performing Arts Research Centre in Kuala Lumpur.  He was formerly a Professor of Ethnochoreology and Ethnomusicology at the Cultural Centre University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur before retiring in 2015.

He was the 2007-2008 William Allan Neilson Distinguish Professor of Music, Dance and Theatre at Smith College, Northampton, Mass. USA; the 2011 Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan; a European Union Erasmus Mundus Fellow in 2012 at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology at Trondheim, Norway; and the Program Committee Co-Chair for the 70th International Council for Traditional Music Anniversary and 44th ICTM World Conference (2017) at the University of Limerick, Ireland.

Currently, Professor Dr. Mohd Anis Md Nor is the Secretary General of World Dance Alliance (WDA Americas, WDA Asia Pacific and WDA Europe); Chair of the  International Council for Traditional Music Study Group on Performing Arts of Southeast Asia (ICTM PASEA) (as a non-governmental organization in formal consultative relations with UNESCO); Guest Editor of ICTM Yearbook for Traditional Music 2018 vol.50; member of the Malaysian National Academic Awards Selection Committee; and Merdeka Award Nomination Committee.

He has published more than 20 books, 93 chapters/articles, and 151 keynotes/conference papers on the performing arts of Malaysia and Southeast Asia focusing on music, dance and theatre, and has pioneered the study of Zapin dance and music in Southeast Asia since 1985 and has published widely on the said topic. 

His most recent publications are;

Mohd Anis Md Nor (ed.) Perspectives in Dance Education. Kuala Lumpur: Nusantara Performing Arts Center, 2017.

Mohd Anis Md Nor (ed.) Perspectives on Bajau/Sama’ Diaspora. Sabah Museum Monograph Vol. 18. Kota Kinabalu: Sabah Museum, 2017

Mohd Anis Md Nor and Kendra Stepputat (eds.) Sounding the Dance, Moving the Music: Choreomusicology in Maritime Southeast Asia. London and New York: Routledge/SOAS Musicology Series, 2016.


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