At this point in the semester, we all know the Zoom drill — wake up, roll out of bed and into your desk chair, and promptly turn your camera off to go make a cup of coffee. I would strongly recommend actually getting out of bed, though, or else you might end up like me: falling back asleep in the middle of your math lab in a breakout room. This is just one of the many reasons why the Asian Students Association (ASA) has taken a different approach when developing their inaugural Asian Creatives Festival (ACF) this fall.
Throughout the week of Oct. 26, members of the Duke community can attend virtual student-led workshops designed to celebrate the work and passions of Asian creatives on topics ranging from tea ceremonies to graphic design. According to ASA’s Facebook page, the festival will be “an opportunity for our community to learn and grow different artistic skills as well as see the unique and vast talent others have. [The] Asian Creatives Fest is for anyone who has ever thought of the crossroads of their ethnic culture, identity, and arts and is open to all skill levels.”
“We don’t just want this to be a bunch of performances, per se, that people watch. We wanted it to be more hands-on… We wanted to engage people more”, said ASA co-events chair Jamie Lim, T ‘22. “You can learn something new, it’s fun, it’s not like you’re going to class.”
If you are still feeling hesitant to sign up for Zoom workshops, senior and co-events chair Rena Zhong assures that your Zoom experience with ACF will not resemble the, at times, mind-numbing experience of sitting in a lecture or attending a webinar.
“Zoom fatigue comes a lot from being in lecture and listening to someone talk at you without having interactions with other people,” Zhong said. “So I think the workshops would give people a chance to actually talk to each other.”
There are a range of workshops in the arts, including quite a few focused on different forms of dance. For any student interested in dance or even if you’re just looking for ways to be active this fall, there’s a workshop for you at the ACF, even if you’re totally unfamiliar with Asian forms of dance.
Among these workshops are the Duke Chinese Dance workshop, hosted by Duke Chinese Dance (DCD) and a K-pop Dance Workshop hosted by Pureun. Or, if the performing arts aren’t necessarily your cup of tea, there are plenty of other workshops to attend, such as an origami workshop.
“We also wanted to create a space for people who aren’t necessarily in the performing arts. For example, our poetry workshop or our graphic design workshop. We still wanted to have a space for those types of creative arts as well,” said Lim.
Although this year’s ACF is shaping up to be a great week of events, the festival was not originally intended to be virtual.
“The original envisioning of the event by Rena was that it was going to be a day in the Ruby. All day there would be workshops and performances going on. We would maybe have an art exhibit” Lim said.
Transitioning to virtual programming has been an obligation for most organizations on campus this fall because of the pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped ASA from engaging with first years and making the most of the virtual situation. So far, they have hosted online events such as “Among ASA”, where members all played the game “Among Us” together, and “(Boo)kbagging”, where students sought bookbagging advice from upperclassmen. If you are interested in getting involved with ASA, they have created a website which details all of their upcoming events for the semester as well as the schedule of events for the ACF.
Looking towards the future of the Asian Creatives Festival, Zhong expressed hope that sometime relatively soon students would be able to attend the event in the Rubenstein building and interact with each other in-person.
“I hope next year’s exec and board will continue this tradition. Hopefully, if things are okay again and everyone is back on campus, they’ll be able to do something at the Ruby where people can actually go to workshops physically and see these performances live,” Zhong said.
The hope that we can begin to gather and connect again as a Duke community in the near future has been a universal feeling this fall, but in the meantime, check out virtual events such as the ACF as clubs make the best of our current reality.
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