Dragon Tails 2019

The 6th Australasian Conference on Chinese diaspora history and heritage explores "Translation and Transformation", featuring international panellists

Te Aro Seeds Limited (originally called Yee Chong Wing & Co): Garden annual, 1949-1950. Printed by L T Watkins Ltd., Cuba Street, Wellington [Front cover. 1949]. Te Aro Seed Company :[Garden guide or garden annual - price lists. 1900s-1940s]. Ref: Eph-A-HORTICULTURE-TeAro-1949-01-front. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Wai-te-ata Press is delighted to co-host Dragon Tails 2019, the 6th Australasian Conference on Chinese diaspora history and heritage, at Victoria University of Wellington on 20-23 November. This is the first Dragon Tails conference to be held in Aotearoa New Zealand, and this year’s theme – Translation and Transformation – highlights the processes of interpretation and change that have been central to the histories of Chinese diaspora around the world.

For Wai-te-ata Press, this conference offers an ideal opportunity to grow the international connections made during our 2018 research trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong. We proposed a special panel, Variant forms: transmissions and localisations, and invited three specialists from Taiwan, along with Wai-te-ata Press’ research assistant Ya-Wen Ho, to explore the transmissions and localisations of Chinese languages, letterforms, and print technologies in Taiwan and New Zealand.

Guest panellists Chen Shiunn-Shyang (陳訓祥 博士), Director-general of the National Science and Technology Museum, Chang Chien-Kuan (張介冠 先生), director of Ri-Xin Type Foundry, and Chen Hsiu-Mei (陳秀美 女士), designer and lead researcher of the Disappearing Types of Taiwan project, will showcase their work on preserving full-form Chinese letterpress and discuss how they collate, interpret, and reconcile different historical sources in restoration projects. The panel will also discuss localised strategies for connecting communities to their languages, and the role of new technologies in public access, outreach and engagement.

Convenors Grace Gassin and Karen Schamberger and co-host Sydney Shep are working with a local organising committee to reach local communities and tease out the nuances of Chinese experiences in New Zealand. The abundance and quality of proposals is such that the convenors are discussing running parallel streams, a new precedent for the Dragon Tails conference series.

Read the final programme and more about the conference's history and purpose.