UM holds Macao Humanities Forum on interdisciplinarity in arts and life

Pan Gongkai

The University of Macau (UM) Faculty of Arts and Humanities (FAH) recently held the second Macao Humanities Forum featuring Prof Pan Gongkai, former president of Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) and former president of the China Academy of Art (CAA). During the event, Prof Pan delivered a speech on the pursuit of interdisciplinarity in arts and life. According to Prof Pan, ‘interdisciplinary’ is the way to go in arts.

In the lecture, which was chaired by Prof Leong Lampo, director of the UM Centre for Arts and Design, Prof Pan said that interdisciplinary creation should be based on the artist’s expertise and training in a particular field, and that this expertise will eventually influence all interdisciplinary creative activities. He believes that technology and humanities are the two ‘wings’ of human civilisation and that we should promote the development of humanities in an era of rapid technological advances. Drawing on his experience in Chinese painting, modern Chinese art history, and architectural design, he said that a Chinese ink painting, a philosophical reflection on art, a work of conceptual art, an architectural design, or even the management of a university, could all be considered as a form of artistic creation that could benefit from an interdisciplinary approach. Behind all these undertakings is an everlasting aspiration for, and pursuit of, common ideals in humanities.

During the question and answer session, Prof Pan explained the interdependence between theory and practice, stressing that self-directed learning skills are the key to success. On the international perception of the current state of Chinese art, he explained the cultural reasons why the Literati Painting has often been misunderstood by Western scholars and sinologists. He concluded by saying that if classical Chinese culture is to be rejuvenated, it should be informed by Western philosophy and aesthetics.

At the end of the event, Prof Pan donated several valuable books to UM, which were received by Prof Billy So, vice rector (student affairs) of UM and interim director of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences. Prof Xu Jie, interim dean of the FAH, presented a souvenir to Prof Pan.

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