Migrant Diplomacy: Japan-Australia Collaboration to Enhance Cultural Diversity

Koichi Iwabuchi

Monash University/Kwansei Gakuin University

With the rise of antagonistic sentiments and movements against migration and (super-)diversity in many parts of the world, cultivation of a compassionate social imagination is urgently required to embrace human mobilities and foster cultural diversity. This paper discusses the role of museum and artistic activities in enhancing cultural diversity and inclusion, with a specific focus on a Japan-Australia exchange project. It aims to promote a cross-border dialogue and partnership between Immigration Museum in Melbourne, associated artists in Australia, and the counterparts in Japan, involving museums, artists, migrants, and people with multiple cultural roots and associated organizations. While this is a bilateral exchange project, the project also takes a trans-Asian approach to bolster understanding of the shared experiences of Australia and Japan on the common ground of human mobility The project encourages the participants to attain increased awareness of how they have been engaging with the same issue of embracing migration and diversity through cultural and artistic practices, which promote dialogue to advance mutual empowerment and collaborative engagement. The transnational dialogue and collaboration enabled by this project also nurtures new directions and practices to foster cultural diversity and enhance Australia’s engagement with Asian regions.


Koichi Iwabuchi is Professor of the School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University. From April 2020, Iwabuchi will take up a new post of Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan. His main research interests are media and cultural globalization, trans-Asian cultural connections, and multicultural questions and cultural citizenship.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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