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Arts Festivals and Global Multiculturalism

European Union’s Euro-Festival Project 2011 conducted a research to study arts festivals’ role in the exchange of ideas across borders and boundaries of a city, nation and the broader community. One cannot underestimate how arts festivals strengthen cultural diversity. Arts festivals tell the stories of a society, its culture, politics and the role of cultural policy. Arts festivals mediate, present and celebrate diversity.  Multicultural society provides people a richer life style and broader cultural experience, offers more options and consequently deepens democracy.  In which, private initiatives is one of the main drivers of the process of cultural integration.

Contemporary culture, arts and aesthetic concepts have been interacting with one another and gradually shaping a framework of identity for peoples and nations around the world. Artists are becoming an exemplar of a cultural group in the globalised society. International arts festivals with multiple art forms and cultural origins are ideal vehicles to deliver an opportunity in exchanging artistic and cultural experience.

Globalisation obviously did not harm cultural uniqueness in any way; Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism actually encouraged artists to explore more possibilities, even if not directly. Artists are constantly searching for inspiration from wide-ranging sources, and therefore art forms and styles are enriched and renewed. Dun-Qing Dancing integrated modern western ballet with traditional Taiwanese Hakka elements and Chinese imperial court dance. Mexican Mariachi absorbed indigenous, opera, salon music, waltz and Spanish music techniques. Tokoton Japanese Taiko’s traditional performing style has been adapted by many western percussion performers. However, the cultural distinctiveness can still be effortlessly recognised and appreciated by a broad range of audiences.   

Members of World Arts & Multi-Culture Inc. (WAMCI) believe that sharing excellent art works and delicate cultural experience will enhance understanding and admiration among people from different cultural background, and further promote the spirit of Harmony Day. WAMCI frequently organises various forms of art performances and exhibitions in the last 13 years.  Additionally, performing arts festivals have been held to celebrate Harmony Day since 2014. From 2016, the event was extended to an international arts festival and the response from the audience and wider community have powerfully encouraged us to keep working towards a major annual arts and cultural event in Brisbane.

 

Edward Lin

Chief Executive Officer

Brisbane International Arts Festival

17 March 2016