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Newsletter No. 66 (July 2015)

Report on “The 9th International Convention of Asia Scholars” Held at the Convention Centre, Adelaide, 5-9 July 2015

Alex Philp, Di Pin Ouyang

National Library of Australia


The International Convention of Asian Scholars Ninth Biennial Conference (ICAS9) was held in Adelaide from 5-9 July 2015. The theme for ICAS9 was ‘Interculturality’ and aimed at bringing together scholars from different cultural backgrounds to consider the concept. The Chinese Studies Association of Australia (CSAA), the Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia (MASSA) and the South Asian Studies Association of Australia (SASSA) were being held as part of ICAS9. A special event - InterculturAdelaide was an integral part of ICAS9 and was officially opened by the Hon Jay Weatherill, Premier of South Australia on Thursday, 9 July.

ICAS has grown into the largest biennial Asia studies event outside the US and the first time it has been held in Australia. The conference was attended by over 1,000 delegates from around the world covering all disciplines of Asia studies. The conference was not just for Asia specialists from Asian studies departments at universities. It was also for others who have a research interest in Asia, including academics from other disciplines.

Alex and Di gave a presentation at the Postgraduate Forum held the day before the Conference started. Alex and Di provided information about the Library's collections and services. The students asked a range of interesting and detailed questions and suggested research ideas. Since the conference ended some of the postgraduates have contacted the Library to further enquire about how they can access our collections. This is a great opportunity to publicise Asian collections and engage with scholars and postgraduate students.

The Conference program was conducted across 125 parallel sessions with various topics, including politics, history, business, tourism, defence, energy and other issues involving Asia. There were many interesting and stimulating presentations including those by Prof Takashi Shiraishi “Looking Back, Looking Ahead: Asia in the 21st Century” and the Smart Engagement with Asia research paper presented by Professor Kent Anderson and Professor Krishna Sen, which alerted us to the latest Asia research trends and what we should do to meet these changes.

The Library paid for a booth, primarily to promote the forthcoming Celestial Empire exhibition and to promote the library’s collections and services. We had many good conversations in the exhibition hall during morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea and answered a variety of questions. Throughout the conference, we also gave away many brochures, collection highlights and bookmarks. Talking to delegates in front of our booth turned out to be more fun than we expected and was one of our favourite parts of the conference.


ICAS, like every conference, provided a great opportunity for us to meet other librarians and to put colleagues in touch with other colleagues both between and after meetings – where a lot of the important ‘getting to know you’ business was done and new ideas exchanged.


We had a great time meeting scholars, readers of the Library and other researchers from around the world. It was a very worthwhile trip. Thanks NLA for the great opportunity to interact and engage with scholars, to learn, exchange, and network with delegates in the field of Asian studies.



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