International activities in regional revitalization and academic exchange continue despite the global COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 International Conference of New Praxis and Taiwan-Japan Alliance of Local Revitalization and Social Practice was held on-site and online and included 8 lectures and 5 group discussions, during which invited Taiwanese and Japanese scholars with academic and practical experience shared their universities’ research findings in social practice, including such aspects as social responsibility, regional issues, culture conservation, or curriculum design. NSYSU’s participating 11 faculty members and researchers with social practice experience shared the University’s achievements in local practice in various districts of Kaohsiung and the collaboration with Japan.

The Conference was followed by a working meeting of the Taiwan-Japan Alliance on Local Connections and Social Practice, held both on-site and online

The Conference was followed by an online working meeting of the Taiwan-Japan Alliance on Local Connections and Social Practice. The participating universities included 6 universities from Taiwan: NSYSU, National Chi Nan University, National Cheng Kung University, National Taiwan Ocean University, Tunghai University, and National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology and 4 universities from Japan: Kochi University, Shinshu University, Ryukoku University, and Chiba University. Dean of NSYSU Si Wan College, Professor Hong-Zen Wang represented the University to sign the alliance agreement during the meeting. In the future, universities of both countries will discuss ways to exchange and collaborate, hoping to spark more energy in bilateral social practice and promotion of regional revitalization in the future.

During the conference, the USR Project of the Department of Sociology: The City as a Commuseum – Socially Embedded Community Engagement shared its experience in Cijin and Zuoying, taking local needs and traditional crafts as the starting point. Postdoctoral researcher Ming-Yuan Tsai and Executive Vice Director of the Social Engagement Center Han-Yu Wu introduced the only community library in Cijin Island – Ki Tin Thak Chheh and how it works, and discussed the functions of a library in the community, its role and reason of being. Research assistant Wei-Chi Wang presented courses on woodworking, plumbing, and masonry for local residents and social service youth at the Cijin Social Development Base, presenting the energy that labor and crafts spark within the community.

The only community library in Cijin Island – Ki Tin Thak Chheh

Research assistant Wei-Chi Wang, a licensed woodworker, started a course on woodworking in Cijin Social Development Base.

The USR Project, in collaboration with Kaohsiung Museum of History, and NSYSU Institute of Education also teaches the culture of shadow puppet theatre, very important in Kaohsiung. As for traditional crafts, postdoctoral researcher Ying-Tze Chen, research assistant Min-Ru Liu, and Executive Vice Director Han-Yu Wu shared the opportunities for innovation of traditional arts in the modern society. Besides, Assistant Professor Shih-Hsiang Sung of the Program in Interdisciplinary Studies shared his experience in organizing local festivals in Yancheng: Don’t Sleep in Yancheng and Naughty Street Kids. He also discussed how to strengthen public involvement and cooperation with local partners and the public sector for the sustainable development of the event, after having successfully created brand benefits with the help of the University.

Don’t Sleep in Yancheng has already become a well-known local festival brand.

The Si Wan College Brand Creation Team exchanged local practice experience with Japan on their long-term work in the districts of Cianjhen and Caoya. Continuing the project team’s exploration on the value of labor in Cianjhen and Caoya, postdoctoral researcher Shiau-Ting Hung led the students from the cross-cultural multilingual community to explore the community, connect own experiences through the urban landscape and local culture of the districts, and share knowledge. Assistant Professor Yi-Shin Wu, together with the collaborating Himi City in Toyama Prefecture in Japan, discussed to how explore regional values outside the tourism industry in the times of the pandemic and shared an international online learning model: Taiwan’s vocational lectures for the Japanese audience. Assistant Professor Kayo Ito used the concept of plurilingualism to incorporate Japanese language teaching into cross-disciplinary learning and social responsibility, so that language education can truly help students expand their horizons.

NSYSU’s team in charge of the Humanity Innovation and Social Practice (HISP) Project, sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology, has explored Zuoying, Cianjhen and the area of the Old Port since 2018 to carry out collaboration and research in social practice. In the multicultural Zuoying district, where the old meets with the new, the team uses artistic expression to bring the community closer together, organizing cultural activities such as singing competitions and community theater, and even creating local songs and inviting residents to record music videos together, interacting to document the community’s daily life and culture. The Co-Principal Investigators of the Project, Professor Szu-Hsien Lee of the Department of Music and postdoctoral researcher Wei-Lih Yeh shared their experience in the Zuoying district, discussing local features and the connection to the University’s expertise, as well as establishing a strategy for social practice actions and reinterpreting the relationship between the University and the community.