Programme (Live-Stream)

Due to continued uncertainties surrounding the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, ACCS2020 will be held Online via Zoom.

The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies (ACCS) is an interdisciplinary conference held alongside The Asian Conference on Asian Studies (ACAS). Keynote, Featured and Spotlight Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives from different academic and professional backgrounds. Registration for either conference will allow delegates to attend sessions in the other.

This page provides details of featured presentations, the conference schedule and other programming. For more information about presenters, please visit the Speakers page.

Conference Outline

All times are Japan Standard Time (UTC+9) (time difference)

Thursday, May 28, 2020Friday, May 29, 2020Saturday, May 30, 2020

14:00-14:15: Welcome Address & Recognition of IAFOR Scholarship Winners
Joseph Haldane, IAFOR, Japan

14:15-14:30: IAFOR Documentary Photography Award

14:30-16:00: Plenary Panel Discussion
The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Crisis of Global Politics: A View from Asia
Jaewoo Choo, Kyunghee University, South Korea
Brendan Howe, Ewha Women’s University, South Korea
Kei Koga, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Mingjiang Li, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
June Park, National Research Foundation of Korea, South Korea
Haruko Satoh, Osaka University, Japan
Yang Xianfeng, Yonsei University, South Korea

This panel is sponsored by The Korea Foundation

16:00-16:30: Virtual Coffee

16:30-18:00: Plenary Panel Discussion
Design and Democracy
Bruce Brown, Royal College of Art, United Kingdom
Saito Nagayuki, International Professional University of Technology, Japan
Ryuji Yamazaki-Skov, Osaka University, Japan
Moderator: Joseph Haldane, IAFOR, Japan
This panel is co-organised by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), Japan Office

09:05-09:15: Welcome from the Organising Committee
Baden Offord, Curtin University, Australia

09:15-09:55: Keynote Presentation
Donald Hall, University of Rochester, United States

10:00-11:15: Live-Stream Session I

11:15-11:30: Virtual Coffee

11:30-12:45: Live-Stream Session II

12:45-13:45: Lunch Discussion Groups

13:45-14:35: Live-Stream Session III

14:35-14:50: Virtual Coffee

14:50-16:05: Live-Stream Session IV

16:10-17:10: Panel Discussion
Communication, Technology and Transparency in Times of COVID
Gerard Goggin, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Joseph Haldane, IAFOR, Japan

17:10-17:30: Networking Session

13:50-14:00: Welcome from the Organising Committee
Seiko Yasumoto, The University of Sydney, Australia

14:00-14:50: Live-Stream Session I

14:50-15:05: Virtual Coffee

15:05-16:20: Live-Stream Session II

16:20-16:35: Virtual Coffee

16:35-17:25: Live-Stream Session III

17:25-17:40: Virtual Coffee

17:40-18:30: Live-Stream Session IV

18:30-18:45: Virtual Coffee

18:45-20:25: Live-Stream Session V

20:25-20:40: Closing Session

The draft version of the Conference Programme will be available online on May 07, 2020. All registered delegates will be notified of this publication by email.

The above schedule may be subject to change.

Featured Presentations

  • Communication, Technology and Transparency in Times of COVID
    Communication, Technology and Transparency in Times of COVID
    Plenary Panel Discussion: Gerard Goggin, Mark Pegrum & Joseph Haldane
  • Design and Democracy
    Design and Democracy
    Featured Panel Presentation: Bruce Brown, Ryuji Yamazaki & Nagayuki Saito
  • Covid-19 pandemic and the crisis of global politics: A view from Asia
    Covid-19 pandemic and the crisis of global politics: A view from Asia
    Plenary Panel Discussion: June Park, Jaewoo Choo, Haruko Satoh, Xiangfeng Yang, Mingjiang Li, Brendan Howe & Kei Koga
  • Dislocation/Invitation
    Keynote Presentation: Donald E. Hall

Final Programme

The online version of the Conference Programme is now available to view below via the Issuu viewing platform. Alternatively, download a PDF version. The Conference Programme can also be viewed on the Issuu website (requires a web browser). An Issuu app is available for Android users.

The Conference Programme contains access information, session information and a detailed day-to-day presentation schedule.

Accepted abstracts of confirmed presenters are available here.

Pre-Recorded Virtual Presentations

A number of presenters have submitted pre-recorded virtual video presentations.
We encourage you to watch these presentations and provide feedback through the video comments. A full list of these is on the conference website.

Previous Programming

View details of programming for past ACCS conferences via the links below.

Communication, Technology and Transparency in Times of COVID
Plenary Panel Discussion: Gerard Goggin, Mark Pegrum & Joseph Haldane

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a number of issues into focus relating to governance, decision-making and transparency in and between nation states, not least as these involve communication and technology. This panel will compare and contrast responses from several national contexts, and look at questions of privacy and freedoms in the context of lockdowns, and the conflicting roles of technology to both free and constrain.

Read presenter biographies
Design and Democracy
Featured Panel Presentation: Bruce Brown, Ryuji Yamazaki & Nagayuki Saito

Organized as part of ACAS/ACCS2020, in association with the OSIPP-IAFOR Research Centre at Osaka University, this Panel is co-organised by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Japan (KAS).


For most people the terms “design” and “excess” are vaguely understood—so they are more powerful in the hands of people wanting to use them to influence human behavior and individual choice. This is important if we are to defend the democratic right of all citizens to exercise freedom of choice (and to give them choices to make); yet to also recognise that, in a world based on mass communications, any attempt to manage the democratic exercise of free will, on behalf of all citizens, can produce seemingly irrational results leading to social instability.

From this dilemma has emerged a paradox in which freedom of choice is both a perceived human right and an illusion of political authority. This is an issue of design. But, as has often been observed, “theories of design developed in the twentieth century have ignored these issues”. From the mid twentieth century onwards the design profession expanded in line with the mass production of consumer goods. This abundance of stuff stimulated a culture of desire that served to distract people’s attention away from the human condition and the exercise of political will.

From the late twentieth century onwards the advent of digital technologies revolutionised these earlier systems of production, distribution and consumption to create a world of individuals and tribes where the process of distraction has been further heightened through an excess of stuff and data. As observed by the American sociologist, Herbert Simon, “a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention”. This said, the massive changes taking place to design over the last fifty years have largely gone unnoticed. Design has moved from being “a plan to make an artifact” into a space where “to design is to devise courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones”.

If we are to take seriously the claim that “the modern world lacks harmony” then designers need to understand and reclaim this territory—to believe that design has the power to influence human behaviour for better and for worse. What is at stake here is our belief in the right of all people to human dignity through democracy. In this context we may have to recognise that the wealth of excess accompanying freedom of choice is part of the human condition—but learn to manage it productively through design.


In order to explore the intersections of design with democracy there are two (amongst many) potential themes for debate.

The Attention Economy: is a theory that the annual avalanche of data and information we now experience is like anesthetic that neutralizes our attention and subsequent ability to make informed decisions. The economic theory underpinning this is that our attention is now such a scarce commodity that is being sold to the highest bidder. It is a design problem because as our attention spans decrease and we become more exposed to a lot of conflicting stimuli, designers (of products, apps, even art, etc.) need to capture our attention and so steer us to prioritize and give attention to "the things that matter". Defining "the things that matter and are worth our attention" becomes a democratic question because these definitions in most societies are championed by the dominant groups while the marginalized groups try to forward alternative definitions to varying levels of success (be they among classes, between corporations, between governments).

Responsible Design: The new, and powerful, interactions between data, technology, privacy and security, and design raise serious questions. For example:

Read presenter biographies
Covid-19 pandemic and the crisis of global politics: A view from Asia
Plenary Panel Discussion: June Park, Jaewoo Choo, Haruko Satoh, Xiangfeng Yang, Mingjiang Li, Brendan Howe & Kei Koga

The Covid-19 pandemic is now not only a global health crisis but much more. It has unleashed a cultural war in global politics, shaken the foundation of the healthy functioning of the global economy, thrown into sharp relief the fragility of the UN system when the US leadership is absent, and plunged societies all over the world into anxiety about an uncertain future. The IAFOR Research Centre at OSIPP (Osaka School of International Public Policy) has convened this special panel, as part of its “Korea and Japan in the Evolving China-US Relations” project sponsored by the Korea Foundation, to discuss the following two issues that are relevant to globally relevant Asian middle powers, Japan and Korea: (a) the impact of China-US relations on the system of global governance; (b) the claim that Asians' "authoritarian tendency” is an asset to tackling the outbreak.

Read presenter biographies
Keynote Presentation: Donald E. Hall

IAFOR’s special theme in 2020 is “Embracing Difference”, which builds on two previous years’ themes: examinations of fear for what the future might hold (2018), followed a year later by explorations of our ability to shape alternate futures (2019). The continuing timeliness of both topics has been fuelled not only by global political trends, but also (and in ways that largely account for those trends) the fact that individuals today are being confronted incessantly with forms and intensities of “difference” as never before in human history. Unless we are wholly off the grid of media and extra-communal encounter (as we might find with self-isolating religious communities), we are confronted daily with lifestyles, belief systems, languages, and ways of being that are radically different from our own. Whether face-to-face or mediated, these continuing micro-shocks of encounters with epistemological difference can be terrifying, exhilarating, disorienting, or even erotically stimulating (if not several of those at once). Much hinges on how we decide to process such encounters, a choice for which, I argue, we bear responsibility. To the extent that we can actively choose to frame such “dislocations” as desirable “invitations”– to question the rightness of our own stances, the security of our own “truths,” and the limitations of our own knowledge – we can welcome encounters with difference as necessary for learning and growth. Too often, of course, they are processed much more narrowly as violent threats to insular selfhood, to national and cultural primacy, and to religious absolutes. We as teachers, scholars and public intellectuals have a role to play in reframing a public debate on the fundamental value of “difference”. Beyond our common and often tepid proclamation of respect for “diversity”, it is imperative that we promote and defend the inherently generative effect of the “unsettledness” that terrifies so many of our fellow citizens. Invitations to rethink our “selves”, our beliefs, and our values should be celebrated as inherently educational opportunities, rather than feared as apocalyptic threats to coherence or community.

Read presenters' biography