By Rebecca Wilson
Earlier this week, the American Society for Shufa Calligraphy Education hosted their annual conference here at Southwestern. Students, artists, and master calligraphers from around the world attended the event, and was the society’s eighth conference. Professor Carl Robertson, an associate professor of Chinese, organized the conference with the help of students from his First Year Seminar “Body and Brush: Writing Chinese Glyphs” as well as students from his Chinese independent study class.
This year’s conference focused on the transformation of Shufa, East Asian calligraphy, as it has been incorporated within different cultures. The main feature of the conference was the “Crisscross 24” exhibit, which was put together by students with the help of exhibition coordinator Kristen Van Patten.
The exhibit was on display for 24 hours, October 9th to 10th, and displayed a collection of work produced by the calligraphy masters who attended the conference.
On October 9, these masters gave students a demonstration of Shufa calligraphy at a reception in the Fine Arts Building gallery, assisted by Professor Robertson’s students. These demonstrations were designed to give attendees a greater sense of what writing Shufa entails.
“We got to teach other students how to write in calligraphy in close proximity of the calligraphy masters nearby,” first year and a member of Robertson’s FYS Taylor Hutchison said. “It’s kind of unnerving, because they’re the masters, and I’m sure we were teaching them wrong.”
The conference was designed to give students an opportunity to connect with the masters and learn about calligraphy and Chinese culture through experience. In addition to hosting workshops and the Crisscross 24 reception, the masters took a tour around the campus, and learned about the university.
Throughout the year professional calligraphers will continue to visit Southwestern to speak to students and teach workshops as a follow up to the conference and calligraphy exhibits.