Transferability of East Asian Arts Festivals in Rural Areas: Community Revitalization Through Creative Placemaking in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Japan
In rural areas of East Asia, the past decade has seen rising and maturing interest in "creative placemaking," a process by which communities are reinvigorated through collaborative activities centered around the arts and culture that utilize creative problem-solving. The thesis examines select innovative arts festivals and art projects within the framework of creative placemaking so as to analyze the possibility of transferring certain successful placemaking practices of rural Japan and Taiwan to rural China. The establishment and development of two experimental arts festivals for rural revitalization in China, Bishan Harvest Festival (Bishan Project) and Heshun International Art Festival (Xucun Plan), are explored in historic and sociopolitical contexts, followed by analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of the placemaking initiatives and the collaborative development in each project, together with other comparable cases in Japan and Taiwan. Drawing on extensive interviews and participant observation, the research presents case studies based on inter-comparisons between the creative placemaking projects, in order to demonstrate that arts and culture can indeed be a catalyst for the creative transformation of rural China as it has been in rural Japan and Taiwan. Cooperation with the local government and securing the support of local leaders are highlighted along with interaction and collaboration with the local community. Even though there are distinct external and internal circumstances, especially the different cultural policies and legal structures between Japan, Taiwan and mainland China that may seem to limit the transferability, more opportunities have opened up for rural revitalization through art and culture as China is on its way to reshaping its governance strategy, which will increase the possibility of drawing on the experience of rural Japan and Taiwan for the development of Bishan Project and Xucun Plan.