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