2021 marks yet another year of fatalities from natural and human disasters. With the COVID-19 pandemic and climate crisis spreading worldwide, we continue to rethink how to coexist with other living beings on Earth. Besides the natural ecology, how do we engage with other forms of ecologies, including social, political, artistic, and even academic ones?

Founded in 1982, Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA) is situated on a hillside of Kuandu, close to the Tamsui River of Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan. The vast lawns and neighboring wetlands are home to hundreds of species of birds that migrate periodically to the nearby Nature Park.

As a member of Shared Campus, TNUA is honored to host this first Critical Ecologies (CE) symposium, bringing together various academics, artists, and students concerned with the agenda from the CE theme group.

Our agenda is being formed with thoughts such as those of Canadian anthropologist Julie Cruikshank (2006) in her study of glaciers pointed out how “local knowledge” often conjoins social and biophysical processes. Tao Indigenous writer and anthropologist Syaman Rapongan from the Orchid Island of Taiwan reminds us how local philosophies from the ocean can teach us different values systems and ways of living. Brazilian Indigenous movement leader and philosopher Ailton Krenak observed that COVD-19 discriminates against humans, due to the way human societies work. "It does not kill birds, bears, or any other beings, just humans" (2020, 3). He even emphasizes that we have to abandon our anthropocentrism (2020, 6).

This symposium and conference brings together researchers and practitioners working in the intersections of art, ecology, indigeneity, geopolitics, as well as science and technology studies, to build a cross-regional network of sustainable collaboration. The symposium on “Embodying Local Knowledges” includes the graduate student conference “Art and Critical Ecologies: Multiscalar Engagements,” organized by the Wanwu Practice Group from the City University of Hong Kong.

Symposium Chair

Dr.Yatin Lin (TNUA)

Symposium participation by

Heather BARNETT (UAL, London), Joelle BITTON (ZHdK, Zurich), Naomi BULLIARD (UAL, London), I-wen CHANG (TNUA, Taipei), Charity EDWARDS (Monash, Melbourne), Anna Katharina GRASSKAMP (HKBU, Hong Kong), Andreas KOHLI (ZHdK, Zurich), Nuria KRÄMER (ZHdK, Zurich), Yatin Lin (TNUA, Taipei), Nickolas Mangan (Monash, Melbourne), Patricia RIBAULT (Paris Beaux-Arts), Michael SIMON (ZHdK, Zurich), Jennifer TEETER (Kyoto Seika U.), Andrea Flores URUSHIMA (Kyoto Seika U.), Susan VAN ESCH (HKU, Ultrecht), Eva VERHOEVEN (UAL, London)

Hosted by

Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA)


The symposium and graduate students conference is open to public and free of charge. The registration links will be communicated by mid September.


  • Julie Cruikshank. Do Glaciers Listen? Local Knowledge, Colonial Encounters, and Social Imagination. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2006.
  • Ailton Krenak. Ideas to Postpone the End of the World. (English trans. by Anthony Doyle) Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2020.
  • Syaman Rapongan. “The Birth of a Fisherman,” (Eng. Trans. by C. J. Anderson-Wu), in The Anthology of Taiwan Indigenous Literature: Short Stories. Edited by Chen Fang-Ming. Taipei: Taiwan Indigenous Voice Bimonthly, 2015, pp.86-115.
  • Syman Rapongan. “Merman,” in Keywords of Taiwan Theory. Edited by Shumei-Shih et al, Taipei: Linking Book, 2019, pp. 103-112.