Spotlight Taiwan

Contemporary Taiwanese Art, Culture and Cinema in Scotland

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 2023 Spotlight Taiwan programme consists of two strands: Film Festival and Lecture Series on Contemporary Art and Culture.

Prof. Pey-chwen Lin’s (林珮淳) Revelation and Notification of Pey-Chwen Lin’s New Media Art “Eve Clone Series” introduces a sequence of artworks that conveys the artist’s imagination and interpretation of the posthuman, and especially that of posthuman female bodies. She applies AI machine learning algorithms and 3D modelling software to create more realistic facial features for the “Eve Clones.” Her works present insightful views and thoughts about the increasingly important contemporary cultural issues of gender, technology and art.

The film director Mingchuan Huang (黃明川) brings his award-winning documentary films, including Deepest Uprising (波濤最深處)Chin Chih Yang—Face the Earth (肉身搏天) and Alley Forever Young (給自己的情書). His lecture “Before the Deepest Uprising” gives a summary of an independent filmmaker story, in which a struggle of breaking through the conventional definition of documentary, pursuing visual art, literature and contemporary culture observation to become essential topics of a nation’s concern against the massive wave of practice in traditional disciplines.

The film director  Tsung-lung Tsai (蔡崇隆) and sociologist Dr Isabelle Cockel bring their controversial work And A Mile to Go (九槍), the Best Documentary Film at the 59th Golden Horse Award, to meet the Scottish audience with the post-screening talk. The 2023 Spotlight Filmfest will conclude with Mingliang Tsai’s (蔡明亮) Your Face (你的臉), a film of a conversation of nothing but honesty.

The Spotlight Taiwan in Scotland, led by Prof. Chia-ling Yang, is organised by the School of History of Art at the Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture of Taiwan (R.O.C) and the Burrell Collection, Glasgow.


Spotlight Taiwan 2022

The 2022 programme hosts a selection of films including the award-winning films, Goddamned Asura (該死的阿修羅)Increasing Echo (修行)Listen Before You Sing (聽見歌再唱)My Best Friend’s Breakfast (我吃了那男孩一整年的早餐), and Waiting for my Cup of Tea (一杯熱奶茶的等待). In conjunction with the film festival, Dr Pin-chuan Chen (陳斌全) will give a talk on “Challenge and Change: The History of Taiwanese Independent Documentary” to address the issue of how Taiwanese documentary engages with unique social and political circumstances.

The four lectures will focus on the challenges of staging Taiwanese and East Asian art across lines of cultural difference and the boundaries between architecture and fieldwork, and artists and scholars who seek to explore Taiwan’s past through artistic practice and archival documentation, illustration, and popular writing. The lecture series includes “TEHCHING HSIEH: LIFEWORKS, 1978-1999” delivered by the acclaimed performance artist Tehching Hsieh (謝德慶); FIELDOFFICE ARCHITECTS + SHENG-YUAN HUANG” by architect Sheng-yuan Huang (黃聲遠); Drawing and Being Drawn by Emotions” by illustration artist Pei-hsin Cho (卓霈欣); and Imagination: The Wonderland of Picture Books” by Prof. Su-hsing Lin (林素幸)


Spotlight Taiwan 2021

   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 includes 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 a unique visual presentation with 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 an 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.



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 speaking of the individual and collective searches for an outlet. Kao is the recipient of the “2019 Yishu Awards for Critical Writing on Contemporary Chinese Art”, Canada, and was the guest curator of the Taiwan Pavilion at the 49th Venice Biennale. She has been widely published on contemporary art in East Asia.

In conjunction with 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 emphasizes the beauty and imperfections of each subject in his recent films that 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 screenings 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 of 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, animations 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 with 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 was given by Prof. Pao-shia Hsueh (薛保瑕) and focused 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 the 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 manifest her ambition of finding new potential and momentum for abstract art in contemporary times. This special lecture is co-hosted by the 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, and web spaces—her output is 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 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, and open to the general public.


Taiwan Academy in Scotland 2017

Following the success of the 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 internationally 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 the 70th anniversary of the EIFF and its contribution to world cinema. The Receptionist, a UK/Taiwan collaborated film project is selected in the 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), on the themes she has been working on over the 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 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 an 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 the big screen, many of them premieres first time in the 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 reactions after the concert.

In the 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 of identity and history through archives, maps, cultural perspectives, and visual arts.

spotlight6To create more dialogue, we also hosted an art forum on Taiwanese Art focused on contemporary Taiwanese artists, who received aboriginal Taiwanese, Chinese, Japanese, and Western art inspirations and developed their own art into a 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 challenges and prospects on policy and art commissions of Asian art in Western institutions. This programme aims to put 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.

IMG_0260 IMG_0546 IMG_0596

The 2013-2014 Spotlight Taiwan project was organised by the History of Art at the University of Edinburgh, in collaboration with the 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.