Art Spaces and Cultural Production in Post-Reform China: Evidence from the Case of Shenzhen

    • Cover Photo
    • Presentation speakers
      • Christine Kaiser, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong
      • Gianni Talamini, City University of Hong Kong


    After experiencing a demographic growth from few thousand inhabitants to more than ten million in only three decades, Shenzhen is currently in transition from an industrial to a post-industrial economy. The passage implies the establishment of a middle class with higher demand for a diversified cultural offer, as well as the need of redefining its international image as a mean to enhance the capacity to attract foreign investments and skilled international labor. Within this context, art spaces can play a key role in shaping the city’s cultural identity, at both international and local level. Therefore, their presence in the city is officially encouraged, economically sustained and ideologically oriented. This research aims at understanding how the quantitative growth of art spaces is related to the current transition in the economic structure of the city, by analyzing the dynamic pattern of their diffusion in relation to the expansion of the tertiary sector of the local economy. Moreover, this study will employ in depth interviews with selected stakeholders to provide a better understanding of their curatorial and artistic approaches. The study highlights peculiar dynamics in the diffusion of art spaces and the emerging of a ‘dissociative identity disorder’.