The narrative that links the migrant rights movements with the formation of multiculturalism is now well known. There is still much to debate on the centrality of social justice in multicultural discourse and the dynamic versus static view of cultural representation.
In this seminar I aim to revisit some of the reflections by founding figures in Australian multiculturalism with the purpose of examining the cultural horizons that framed their motivation and aspiration.
It is my contention that among many of these figures there was not only a desire to see a more just society in which the welfare service, political rights and economic opportunities for migrants were developed in a more responsive manner or what we may call activist multiculturalism, but there was an implicit worldview that was not only focused on securing more rights for minorities and gaining support of marginalized ethno-specific communities, but also committed to a wider sense of diversity. This seminar will explore the aesthetic dimensions that relate to the rather vague and often abstract sentiments that were expressed toward cultural diversity, but were also expressive in the deeper forms of solidarity that emerged in the founding moments of multiculturalism.
Nikos Papastergiadis is Professor at the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. He studied at the University of Melbourne and University of Cambridge. Prior to returning to the University of Melbourne he was a lecturer at the University of Manchester. His current research focuses on the investigation of the historical transformation of contemporary art and cultural institutions by digital technology. His publications include Modernity as Exile (1993), Dialogues in the Diaspora (1998), The Turbulence of Migration (2000), Metaphor and Tension (2004), Spatial Aesthetics: Art Place and the Everyday (2006), Cosmopolitanism and Culture, (2012) as well as being the author of numerous essays which have been translated into over a dozen languages and appeared in major catalogues such as the Sydney, Liverpool, Istanbul, Gwanju, Taipei, Thessaloniki and Lyon Biennales.