In conjunction with fellowships and grants—continuing through in-person, virtual, and hybrid programming—ACC's inDialogue online series has provided a platform for diverse voices of artists and arts professionals from Asia and the United States. As 2020 comes to a close, we look back on the twelve talks hosted across all regional offices with 33 speakers representing Hong Kong, Japan, Myanmar, the Philippines, Taiwan, and the U.S.

From visual art, architecture, curation, dance, film, theater, music, and more, this series has highlighted myriad artistic disciplines. The topics, too, have spanned a wide range of questions, including: how has theater, contemporary art, and dance adapted to the challenges of COVID-19? How can international exchange impact and engage a broader community through online learning? What is the essentiality of art during crisis and what is the role of artists in the future? In what ways have artists with a focus on social practice and racial justice responded to 2020 in the United States? How can artists empower communities of color, immigrants, and the disenfranchised?

Each inDialogue has served as both a window into individual artistic practices, as well as a record of processing ongoing waves of crisis, hope, and response. July’s inDialogue brought playwrights in discussion around artistic processes mapped against the national context of the U.S. and Hong Kong. Inspired by Black Lives Matter protests, David Henry Hwang (ACC 2011, 2012) was exploring the history of Black-Asian alliance in America; meanwhile, Candace Chong Mui Ngam (ACC 2004, 2012) considered the potential impact of Hong Kong’s national security law on future theater works. September’s inDialogue greeted the school year with a lesson on international virtual exchange with musicians organizing the Gitameit-SUNY Myanmar Spirit Worship Project (ACC 2020).

October’s inDialogue “Our Futures Are Tied” ushered the final stretch of the U.S. election season with Aram Han Sifuentes (ACC 2019), Weston Teruya (ACC 2018), Carol Zou, and Megha Ralapati in discussion on artistic practices focused on social change, racial justice, community engagement, and voter disenfranchisement. Megha contextualized artistic action and response within the context of 2020. “This unprecedented moment,” she said, “a moment of heightened complexity—socially, politically, and spiritually—can be described in the words of German philosopher Walter Benjamin as ‘nowtime.’ A moment that is ripe and rich with opportunity, full of energy...with great potential waiting to be unlocked, begging for transformation."

In processing the challenges of 2020 and envisioning possibilities of growth and renewal in 2021, our last inDialogue focused on the recycling of paper, word, artistic expression and identity. Poet-lawyer Reginald Dwayne Betts, papermaker Kyoko Ibe, and theater maker Elise Thoron (ACC 2008, 2010, 2015) joined ACC in conversation and performance around Dwayne’s solo performance of his book of poems Felon and the Million Book Project bringing micro-libraries into 1,000 prisons across the country.  

We are excited to continue the inDialogue series in 2021 as a platform that elevates the voices of artists building capacities among communities, contextualizing our present within our past, and responding to the crises of today. 

Visit ACC's YouTube to watch the full 2020 inDialogue series: ACC YouTube