Spotlight Taiwan

Contemporary Taiwanese Art, Culture and Cinema in Scotland


Spotlight Taiwan 2021

The Spotlight Taiwan project aims to promote Taiwanese culture, arts and cinema to a wider audience in Scotland and in particular to international visitors to Edinburgh. The 2021 Spotlight Taiwan programme consists of two strands: Film Festival and Lecture Series in Contemporary Art and Culture.

The 2021 programme hosts a one-week Taiwanese Film Festival at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh, the foremost independent cinema in the city, celebrating world cinema in all its brilliance and diversity. A selection of films include the featured films and one documentary,  My Missing Valentine (消失的情人節), The Silent Forest (無聲), I WeirDo (怪胎), Classmates Minus (同學麥娜斯) and Master Sheng Yen (本來面目).

The Spotlight Taiwan Lectures are delivered by prolific figures in contemporary Taiwanese film, art and media who developed their own vision into an unique visual presentation with a great diversity in Taiwan now. The first lecture “Algorithms into Humanities – Conversation with Taiwan’s Digital Minister Audrey Tang” is presented by Taiwan’s Digital Minister, Audrey Tang (唐鳳). This lecture focuses on the role of contemporary Taiwan’s democracy, welfare and digital power in the context of globalization and her vision of AI, transformative technology and social innovation.

The second lecture “Liqueered: The Performance In The Expend Field Of Liquefied Queerness” (擬酷液得:液態化的酷兒展演)is delivered by the Taipei-based multimedia artist YU Cheng-ta (余政達). Yu Cheng-ta has played multiple roles as artist, director, performer, curator and institutional executive and has extended his artistic practice in drag through the amalgamation of contemporary media, visuality and queer culture since 2017. Through his recent curatorial projects relating to queer, including “Queen Me” and “Liqueered”, the experimental film “Tell Me What You Want”, and the virtual characters “Watermelon Sisters” and “FAMEME”, Yu’s lecture shares his artistic views and discusses how artists can perform in the expend field of liquefied camp in-between the diverse institutional establishments and cultures.

The final lecture “Lee Mingwei: Six Stories” is presented by the acclaimed artist LEE Mingwei (李明維). Currently living in Paris and New York, Taiwanese-American artist Lee Mingwei creates participatory installations, where strangers explore issues of trust, intimacy, and self-awareness, and one-on-one events, in which visitors contemplate these issues with the artist through eating, sleeping, walking and conversation. Lee’s projects are often open-ended scenarios for everyday interaction, and take on different forms with the involvement of participants and change during the course of an exhibition. For this talk, Lee will share 6 encounters with beauty.

The Spotlight Taiwan in Scotland, led by Dr Chia-Ling Yang and Dr Li-Heng Hsu, is organised by the School of History of Art at the Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, in collaboration with Ministry of Culture of Taiwan (R.O.C), The Taipei Representative Office in Edinburgh, and the Filmhouse Edinburgh.


Spotlight Taiwan 2020

The one-week Taiwan Academy Film Festival is hosted by the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with the Cineworld in Edinburgh, celebrating world cinema in all its brilliance and diversity. This year, we are proudly presenting the works, Days (日子, 2020), by the acclaimed film director Tsai Ming-Liang (蔡明亮), along with a series of award-winning Taiwanese feature films.

The project hosts a series of Taiwan Academy Lectures by prolific figures in contemporary Taiwanese cinema, art and education who developed their own vision into visual presentations with great diversity.

The first lecture “When Past Becomes Future and History Becomes Art” (未終結的過去進行式) is delivered by Chien-Hui Kao (高千惠), a Chicago-based art critic, curator and independent scholar. This lecture will present how visual art was employed to represent taming and confusion, and how it imitated, manifested and resisted to speak of the individual and collective searches for an outlet. Kao is the recipient of “2019 Yishu Awards for Critical Writing on Contemporary Chinese Art”, Canada, and was the guest curator of the Taiwan Pavilion the 49th Venice Biennale. She has been widely published on contemporary art of East Asia.

In conjunction of Taiwan Academy Film Festival, Tsai Ming-Liang (蔡明亮) and Lee Kang-Sheng (李康生) deliver a joint lecture “Hand-crafted Films: In the Age of Film Industrialization” (手工電影:在電影工業的時代).
Tsai’s new project aims to transform the cinema into an art gallery where each screening could be an exhibition. He emphases the beauty and imperfections of each subject in his recent films who variously speak, stare, and, at one point, sleep as the camera quietly registers the weight of personal history and accumulated experience writ beautifully across every last pore and crevasse. The lecture will focus on his thoughts between art and film, cinema and museum and the challenges for the makers of ‘artisanal film”. The lecture will be followed by a conversation between the two film workers and a series of screening of episodes in Tsai and Lee’s recent films.

The acclaimed artist Yuan Goang-Ming (袁廣鳴) gives the final lecture on “Tomorrowland”. Yuan Goang-Ming is widely recognised as one of the most influential artists working in the field of new media art today. Yuan focuses on the issues on landscape, ruins, homes and dwellings in the new media. His recent works addressed what he refers to as the ‘perplexing state of the world today’, touching on a range of topics including surveillance, nuclear power, and the sense of estranged normality that looms over everyday existence in the shadow of various potential crises.



Spotlight Taiwan 2019


The one-week Taiwan Academy Film Festival is hosted by the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with the Filmhouse in Edinburgh, the foremost independent cinema in the city, celebrating world cinema in all its brilliance and diversity. A series of Taiwanese films, animation and documentary works are screened with post-screening talks by film directors Hsiao Ya-chuan (蕭雅全) and Shen Ke-shang (沈可尚).

In conjunction of Asia Week in the UK, the 2019 Spotlight Taiwan project hosts two Taiwan Academy Lectures by prolific figures in contemporary Taiwanese art and education. The first lecture given by Prof. Pao-shia Hsueh (薛保瑕) focuses on the challenges of staging Taiwanese and East Asian art across lines of cultural difference, institutional affiliation and the boundaries between art, art group and social movement. Ava Pao-shia Hsueh, former Director of National Taiwan Museum of Art and Dean of the College of Visual Arts, Tainan National University of the Arts, is an outstanding painter. Hsueh has cemented herself as a female Taiwanese artist who dares to create abstract artwork at an unprecedented grand scale, and her attempts at broadening and deepening her material manifests her ambition of finding new potential and momentum for abstract art in contemporary times. This special lecture is co-hosted by Edinburgh College of Art History of Art Research Seminar.

The second lecture hosts artist Shu Lea Cheang (鄭淑麗) who represents Taiwan at the Venice Biennale in 2019. As an artist, Cheang has worked in a variety of mediums—film, video, installation, web spaces—her output as varied as cyberspace itself. While still focusing on her own cross-gender-genre approach to art, Cheang proclaims the Net has crashed and moves on to invent BioNet where she finds viral love and hacks the ‘bio-tech’ in her current cycle of work. Her talk details her practice which combines artistic concerns with hot-button social issues, defined by her peripatetic and information-era existence.


Spotlight Taiwan 2018

Addressing to the emerging field of Taiwan’s animation industry, the 2018 Spotlight Taiwan in Scotland programme brings a two-week festival to celebrate Taiwan’s young talents in (3D) animation and VR art. The festival will showcase a 3D VR exhibition “+Realitie Incubation-VR Art of Tzu-Ning Wu” and screenings of 21 animations created by 11 artists with various methods and materials in the programme. Animation director Ching-Hsuan Lin and VR artist Tzu-Ning Wu present their work and post-screening Q & A, a VR workshop and talks. These events are free admission, open to general public.


Taiwan Academy in Scotland 2017

Following the success of Spotlight Taiwan film festival, concert, exhibitions, lectures and the contemporary Taiwanese art forum in the previous season, the Taiwan Academy in Scotland will host a series of dynamic lectures by the international acclaimed artists, scholars and writers.

To mark the ‘Taiwan Season’, the project brings an exciting collaboration with the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) to showcase the Taiwanese film directors in June 2017, to celebrate 70th anniversary of the EIFF and its contribution to world cinema. The Receptionist, a UK/Taiwan collaborated film project is selected in Best of British strand, and the post-screen Q & A with film director Jenny Lu (Lu Chin-ming 盧謹明) and EIFF artistic director Mark Adam is hosted by the Taiwan Academy in Scotland; the other Taiwanese film Godspeed (一路順風) by Chung Meng-hung (鍾孟宏) is showcased in World Perspectives strand.

Internationally acclaimed artist Mali Wu (吳瑪悧) gives a special lecture, chaired by Marko Daniel (Tate, London), over the themes she has been working on over years of her career; Prof. Junghee Moon (Center for Art Studies, Korea) gives insightful study on today’s ink art in Taiwan and Korea. In 2017, we are proudly hosting an international conference ‘Art and Translation: Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea’ with 15 scholars presenting their newest research, to open up the discussion in art in historical and contemporary contexts of changing geo-political and cultural identities of Asian locales – Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea in particular, and the relationship of these issues to visual production. Selected papers will be featured in Art and Translation (http://www.artintranslation.org) as two special issues in 2019.


Spotlight Taiwan 2015-2016

Focusing on ‘mobility and imagination’, the 2015-6 programme invited the speakers including Jun-Jieh Wang (王俊傑), Felix Schoeber, Ou Fan Leo Lee (李歐梵) and Ang Li (李昂), and hosted the international network workshop ‘Dimensions of Mobility: Travel and Adventure in China’s Modern Literary and Cultural Landscape’ and other events aim to engage with the most pressing and significant issues that are informing and affecting the development of modern and contemporary art and culture in East Asia.

The project brought an exciting collaboration with the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) to showcase the Taiwanese film, Paradise in Service (Jun Zhong Le Yuan 軍中樂園), on 24 & 26 June 2015, followed by the Q & A with film director Dozi Niu (鈕承澤).

Li, Ang - Sex, Food and Politics poster (PDF)

Jun Jaieh- Wang - Future Media poster (PDF)



Spotlight Taiwan 2013-2014

Spotlight Taiwan 2014 poster (front)  Spotlight Taiwan 2014 poster (back)

There had been exciting development in the Taiwan cinematic landscape in recent years, with more high quality and diverse films made each year as well as gaining international attention and recognition. Taiwan Film Festival provides a unique opportunity to see some of these great examples of contemporary Taiwan cinema on big screen, many of them premiere first time in UK.

7 award winning feature films by emerging Taiwanese filmmakers had been handpicked to share with the audience of Edinburgh, each with a unique theme and telling
touching modern stories in Taiwan, connected by the common thread of relationship and family. We hope they give a glimpse into the
kaleidoscopic life of Taiwan. We are also honored to have film directors Jung-Chi Chang (Touch of the Light; Taipei Factory), Ko-Shang Shen (A Rolling Stone; Taipei Factory) and Yin-Chuan Tsai (Stile) and cast from the films to attend audience Q&A after the screening, as well as an Asian Film Workshop in Edinburgh College of Art.

'Music from Formosa : Yu-Siang Huang' poster

The leading star from Touch of the Light, Yu-Siang Huang, gave a marvelous piano recital at Reid Concert Hall during the week of the Film Festival. It attracted more than 250 audiences, including MSP from Scottish Parliament and local communities, with raving reaction after the concert.

In promotion of Taiwanese culture and art, a public lecture series by Dr. Lyu-shun Shen, artist Chieh-jen Chen and Prof. Pao-Shia Hsueh examine the issues on identity and history through archives, maps, cultural perspectives and visual arts.

spotlight6To create more dialogue, we also hosted an art forum on Taiwanese Art focuses on contemporary Taiwanese artists, who received aboriginal Taiwanese, Chinese, Japanese and Western art inspirations and developed their own art into an unique visual presentation of Taiwan’s great cultural diversity. Through the study of contemporary artists and their circle, this event poses ‘Beyond Island’ as its main theme and addresses “margin/edge”, “preserve/transform”, and “space/phantasms” main as conceptual strands. The forum focuses on the challenges of staging Taiwanese and East Asian art across lines of cultural difference, institutional affiliation and the boundaries between art and design.

Beyond Islands: Contemporary Art of Taiwan and East Asia is consist of nine papers in three themed panels, 1) ‘Writing History’ of Contemporary Art; and 2) Local Colour and Global Vision: Biennial and International Exhibition; and 3) Art Policy and Development, followed by a roundtable discussion on challengesand prospects on policy and art commissions of Asian art in Western institutions. This programme aims to put the Taiwanese art in a global context by investigating its artists, networks and policy development. This event was the first art forum in the UK dedicated to the study of modern and contemporary Taiwanese art and artists.

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The 2013-2014 Spotlight Taiwan project was organised by History of Art at the University of Edinburgh, in collaboration with Ministry of Culture of Taiwan (R.O.C) and the Filmhouse. A series of events were launched to celebrate contemporary Taiwanese Art, Culture and Cinema in Scotland.