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Research Network for Transcultural Practices in the Arts and Humanities

From University to Shopping Mall, Socially Engaged Wandering

Wandering Scholar (WS) started as an alternative symposium in 2014. Organized in the

Chinese University of Hong Kong, the first WS explored the significance of non-productive

activities (such as wandering) in fields of academia and arts, and inquired how normative

procedures hinder intellectual contribution.

Later in 2014, some WS participants became highly involved in the Umbrella Movement

engaging in various formats, for instance, mobile democracy classes and on-site art

projects. We came to understand the efficacy of direct pedagogic action outside of universities,

which triggered the 2nd and 3rd phases of WS: wandering in a shopping mall and

wandering in an impoverished district.

All events aimed at breaking the monopoly of knowledge production and dissemination in

public settings. WS invited “specialists” (including a standup comedian, photographer,

graphic designer, publisher, b & b manager, and a neighborhood group) to walk the whole

group in everyday spaces, de-familiarize and recognize social architecture embedded in

the instant “soundtrack” of engaged discussant . WS relocated participants in a city

produced and reproduced by geo-politics and capital flow, and pushed them to question

the boundary of the personal and the social.

In this workshop, I will present WS as a case study of cultural/artistic engagement in public

sphere; discuss the formats, media strategies and practical tactics WS developed and

continues to develop in the context of an ever-worsening political situation in Hong Kong.


Yang Jing is a PhD student in the field of transcultural studies, affiliated with the Cluster of

Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” of Ruprecht-Karls-Universität

Heidelberg. She holds a Master of Philosophy degree in Gender Studies and

Communication, and a Bachelor degree in Museum Studies. Her research interest include

art activism in social movements, art and media. She also works as a writer and editor

publishing articles related with art, culture and video games for various media in Hong