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Korea celebrates Cultural Diversity Week
  • May 21, 2021

Korea celebrates Cultural Diversity Week

Updated : 2021-05-21 16:05

By Park Han-sol

Cultural Diversity Week, a nationwide annual festival held since 2015 to celebrate May 21, or the UN-designated World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, kicked off Friday and will run until May 27.

Hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in collaboration with the Arts Council Korea, the event aims to introduce the value of diversity and inclusiveness through a series of cultural content-based online lectures and a special exhibition.

From May 24 to 27, 11 speakers including film critics, poets and sign language interpreters, will host virtual lectures on Naver TV. The sessions will focus on how the idea of inclusiveness is discussed or incorporated in digital media, films, publications and language.

Some of the specific topics that warrant attention are the complex relationship between global digital giants and cultural diversity, Korean cinema's inclusiveness (or the lack there of) and the ideology embedded in the choice of language that comes to shape one's belief and attitudes toward others.

Special online exhibitions are held throughout the week on OTT (over-the-top) service Watcha and music streaming platform Genie Music. Chung Se-rang, author of "The School Nurse Files," and indie documentary filmmaker Leekil Bo-ra are among many who have been invited as curators to select 97 works from films, songs and books with inclusive cultural representation.

The diversity week is also celebrated through online and offline events organized by 25 local cultural foundations nationwide.

In Incheon, the 9th Diaspora Film Festival ― an indie festival to promote the cinematic stories of migration, statelessness and changing identities ― takes place until Sunday. It opened with Reka Valerik's "Silent Voice" (2020), a documentary that centers on Khavaj from Chechnya, a constituent republic of Russia, a young gay man who in hiding out in Belgium where he is a migrant. Out of 58 selections from 30 countries, 18 will be available to watch on Purplay, a streaming service dedicated to presenting women's cinema.

A media art festival and art salon based on the five keywords ― sympathy, connection, community, everyday and plaza ― that make up the theme of cultural diversity will be held in Busan, while in Gwangju, a camping event under the goal of experiencing and learning about minority cultures will take place.

"In order for Korea to leap forward as a cultural powerhouse, it needs leading cultural creativity. And it is important to recognize that such creativity stems from diversity and inclusiveness," Culture Minister Hwang Hee stated, recognizing the symbolic role of the event.