In 2010, Australia joined the Asia-Europe Meeting. Australia has strong cultural connections with Europe, but our geographic location puts us in Asia. So were we invited to join the ASEM as part of Asia or Europe? Many may perceive Australia as a portal between the two continents – particularly where trade and business are concerned. But when it comes to arts and culture it’s a different story, with criticism that Australia doesn’t exploit its potential.
In May 2012 a public forum was held in Melbourne to discuss the idea—Does Asia+Europe=Australia? The provocative question was tackled by a panel consisting of H.E David Daly, EU Ambassador to Australia; H.E.Patrick Renault, Belgian Ambassador to Australia; Lesley Alway, Asialink Arts Director; the event’s organiser, David Pledger, Artistic Director of Not Yet It’s Difficult; and the panel was chaired by Radio National’s Michael Shirrefs.