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Asian Art and Culture Interest Group (AACIG) Column: Fall 2022

AACIG NAEA News Column: Fall 2022

Welcome to the 2022–2023 academic year! AACIG is pleased to continue with guest columnist Doug Blandy, the 2022 AACIG Distinguished Researcher in Asian Art and Culture Education, who shares about the ChinaVine project (Figure 1). This column also introduces InSEA’s newly published book, Teaching Chinese Arts & Culture: Content, Context, and Pedagogy, edited by Kevin Hsieh, Lilly Lu, and Yichien Cooper, which includes a forward by Blandy (Figure 2). Access ChinaVine at link, and download Teaching Chinese Arts & Culture for free at link to integrate Chinese art and cultural heritage into your curriculum.

Interpreting China’s Cultural Heritage—Part 2: Lessons Learned

Guest Columnist: Doug Blandy, University of Oregon

Figure 1. Learn about Chinese art and cultural heritage at ChinaVine.

What follows is the second part of an overview of a lecture I gave as the 2022 Distinguished Researcher award from the National Art Education Association’s Asian Art and Culture Interest Group (AACIG).

It is important to recognize that I did not bring to my fieldwork in China the ability to read Chinese or speak Mandarin, Cantonese, or any of the regional dialects; nor did I have an extensive background in China’s cultural heritage. What I did share with my Chinese colleagues was immersion in the field of folklore, a desire to learn from one another, and a belief that China’s cultural heritage was not fully accessible or appreciated by teachers and learners in the United States.

At the outset I recognized my limitations. Ongoing self-reflection, knowledge acquisition, and skill development on my part were necessary to responsibly engage with China’s diverse population and their heritages. I considered the differences between my approach to studying material culture and my partners’, acquired knowledge in a variety of ways about the context in which I was working, and adapted to the cultural contexts of the individuals and communities I encountered.

I have come to understand that what was uppermost in my mind was the concept of “deep listening,” a term coined by U.S. folklorist Henry Glassie. Through deep listening, I learned about the importance of a multimedia approach to interpreting China’s cultural heritage and the desire of Chinese scholars to assist those outside of China to appreciate China as a multiethnic nation. I learned that there is a long history of documenting China’s heritages, beginning with the Yongle Encyclopedia in the Ming dynasty. I learned to be attentive to how these cultural heritages were brought, and are brought, to the United States.

The United States is a multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural democracy. Preparing students to live in such a democracy requires a respect for all students and what they bring to the classroom and for those outside with differing heritages. Teaching Chinese Arts and Culture: Content, Context, and Pedagogy, edited by Kevin Hsieh, Lilly Lu, and Yichien Cooper, is a recent contribution to historic efforts to document an important and influential heritage.

The ChinaVine project concluded in 2017. Portions of the ChinaVine website can be accessed through the Internet Archive and the project’s digital archives through the University of Oregon Library.

Download the New Book Teaching Chinese Arts & Culture: Content, Context, and Pedagogy

Coeditors: Kevin Hsieh, Yichien Cooper, and Lilly Lu

Figure 2. Doug Blandy described the value of teaching about Chinese art and cultural heritage in the book’s foreword.

With more than 5,000 years of civilization, the characteristics and interdisciplinary features of Chinese arts and culture are great resources that art educators can use to achieve culturally responsive teaching. The content knowledge, pedagogies, and context information offered in this book will be beneficial to a variety of K–16 art classrooms. The various perspectives presented allow art educators to adapt, create their own curriculum, and develop culturally appropriate pedagogies and strategies uniquely geared toward their students’ needs and the school’s requirements.


Debrah C. Sickler-Voigt, AACIG Column Editor Professor of Art Education, Middle Tennessee State University. Email:

Yichien Cooper, AACIG Chair Lecturer and Field Supervisor, College of Education, Washington State University Tri-Cities. Email:

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