Exploring the cultural sites and delights of Sydney's west

Date: 19/07/2002

Have you ever wondered just what western Sydney and Hong Kong have in common? Well a group of Australian and Hong Kong researchers are about to find out.

They will spend the next week exploring a diverse range of cultural sites in Sydney's west including Fairfield's Buddhist temples, Cabravale Diggers Club, Parramatta Mall, and the rapidly-expanding housing developments in Sydney's northwest suburbs.

They will also take in a cultural tour of Sydney's Rocks area, visit a Women's Community Health Centre in Leichhardt and witness inner-city subcultures intersecting in Darlinghurst and Kings Cross.

This exercise in hands-on cultural research is the brainchild of Ien Ang from UWS, and Meaghan Morris from Lingnan University in Hong Kong - both internationally renowned professors of cultural studies and theorists of globalisation and cultural change.

"What do you do when people from Hong Kong come to town? You show them western Sydney," says Professor Ang, Director of the Centre for Cultural Research at UWS.

"Western Sydney traverses the entire spectrum of cultural experience - from high fashion to hip-hop, clothing markets to garden markets.

"The aim of this exercise is to show cultural studies researchers that no matter what part of the world you live in, people's everyday experience is increasingly being shaped by the urgent challenges of globalisation.

"Whether it's the high rises of Hong Kong or the Rooty Hill RSL, the citizens of our global cities are dealing with the impact of new technologies, social movements and popular cultural forms.

"Questions of governance and national identity are on the public agenda, as are questions of migration, multiculturalism and Australia and Asia's place in the world order.

"All the dynamics of globalisation, economic and social change can be seen in western Sydney and there are many parallels with what's happening in other parts of the world."

Professor Ang says the collaborative venture with Lingnan University was borne out of an agreement between the two institutions to share knowledge and work together on research projects.

"This kind of collaboration addresses the urgent need for cultural research to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century," she says.

Professor Ang says she hopes the cultural exchange between the two universities will continue next year, when she hopes to take a group of UWS researchers to Hong Kong.

Background information

Professor Ien Ang is an internationally renowned writer on media reception, globalisation, multiculturalism and cultural change. Her most recent book, 'On Not Speaking Chinese', was launched earlier this year.

Professor Meaghan Morris is a leading cultural studies writer, social commentator and founding professor of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. Her work deals with questions of Australian national identity, politics, feminism and popular culture and her most recent book is 'Too Soon/Too Late: History in Pop Culture' (1999).

Ien Ang and Meaghan Morris will be available for interviews throughout the week.

For media interviews, contact:
Sharon Chalmers, Centre for Cultural Research, on 0419 170 457
Fiona Nicoll, Centre for Cultural Research, on 0421 344 207
Amanda Whibley, Senior Media Officer, on 9678 7472 or 0418 438 399