The Rural Assembly: Wu Mali

Keynote Lecture: Big Ideas

  • keynote Wu Mali by Rich Matheson 2

    Wu Mali © Rich Matheson

Past Event

This event was on Thu 20 Jun, 7pm

A leading practitioner of socially engaged art in rural areas, the keynote lecture for the conference is delivered by Taiwanese artist and curator Wu Mali. For over thirty years she has developed a distinctive approach to working with communities across Taiwan, in projects that consider rural culture, land use, environmental concerns, and the shifting relationship between the rural and urban in Asia.

The Rural Assembly draws on a series of public programmes and research that developed throughout 2018. It looks at contemporary artists and creative practitioners who are challenging the assumptions made about rural life and culture, providing a new vision of the countryside grounded in everyday experience and a critique of the rural-urban binary.

This culminating assembly considers how artists respond to the established and imposed divides between the rural and the urban. From re-imagined farming practices and food systems to architecture, community projects and transnational local networks, this three-day assembly brings together artists, curators, historians and critics to discuss the role of art in a rural context, inviting a critical outlook at our relationships with the rural today.

Supported by the Stanley Picker Trust.


About Wu Mali

Born in Taipei, Mali Wu is an artist and Associate Professor at the Graduate Institute of Interdisciplinary Art, National Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan. A highly influential practitioner and theorist of socially engaged art, she has developed numerous projects over a thirty-year long career. Her most recent solo show, Wu Mali. Working in Public 2006-2011, took place in Taipei in 2011. Her work has been included in biennials such as the 9th Shanghai Biennial, China (2012); 3rd Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Japan (2005); 46. Venice Biennial, Italy (1995). She received Taiwan’s National Award for Arts in 2016, the Taishin Arts Award in 2013, and was appointed co-curator of the 11th Taipei Biennale, 2018.

Ticket Information
  • You must book a ticket for each individual date of the assembly if you want to attend the full programme.
  • Don’t forget to include a booking for the coach option for the day at Wysing if you require this service.
  • In early June, you will be sent a link for session registration, to secure your place on the limited capacity sessions, such as walks and seminars. This is at no additional cost.
Wapke-Zvizzchi (2)

The Rural Assembly Day 1: Whitechapel Gallery

Fri 21 Jun, 11.30am – 6pm

Panels and seminars on embedded artistic practice in the rural, translocal networks, decolonising the rural and rural representations.


The Rural Assembly Day 2: Wysing Arts Centre

Sat 22 Jun, 11am – 7pm

With a focus on artistic practice and experience in the rural, the second day provides a slower pace with walks, a collective lunch and performances, screenings and seminars.