Exhibition Exploring Cultural Contact and Exchange between Venice and Suzhou

Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, and Soochow University, Suzhou
May 2019

This photography exhibition is being prepared by a team of professors from both Ca’ Foscari University and Soochow University in order to provide the opportunity to explore the long history of exchange, especially cultural, between Venice and Suzhou.

The exhibition will be subdivided chronologically to elucidate a number of specific themes:

  1. A Tale of Two Cities: The opening section of the exhibition will outline the specific cultures and topography of each of the two cities, including information about their respective origins and their development during the Renaissance and post-industrial periods.
  2. Exchange in the Time of Marco Polo: This section of the exhibition will investigate the first moment of contact between Venice and Suzhou as a result of Marco Polo’s voyage to China.
  3. Exchange in the Modern Era: This section of the exhibition will document the twinning of the two cities in 1980 and the contact that followed in the wake of this, including the increase in the Italian investment and the presence of Italians in Suzhou, as well as the increased presence of Chinese industry and people in Italy.
  4. The Future of a Partnership: This final section of the exhibition will provide a reflection on the possible development of Venice–Suzhou relations in the years to come, making reference to relevant government policies and documents.

The project will come to fruition in May 2019 with exhibitions in both Venice (in English) and Suzhou (in Chinese), and a catalogue documenting the exhibition will be published.

from CC0 Public Domain
from CC0 Public Domain

Interdisciplinary workshop on water management

Soochow University, Suzhou
November 2018

There are many aspects that connect Ca’ Foscari University of Venice to Soochow University, one of them being the fact that both are located in a landscape where water takes centre stage. While Venice has its canals, Suzhou is situated in a location where natural rivers and lakes interact with a complex network of artificial canals. The multi-functionality of this watery network makes it a valuable asset in terms of landscape management and territorial governance. The historical waterscapes in China are the result of a long evolution of water management efforts, most of which have aimed at assuring the water supply of urban areas, developing irrigation and providing commercial trade routes.

This workshop, organized in connection with a joint research project being carried out at the Suzhou Office with regard to water science, will use Suzhou’s tangible heritage of water control, exploitation and representation – its mills, dams, locks, dykes, bridges, inland harbors, landscape paintings and historical maps – as the point of departure for an investigation of how to boost the potential of urban waterways as a means of fostering sustainable eco-tourism, as well as how nanomaterials can be engineered to recycle water pollutants, both of which will become co-financed collaborative projects carried out by Ca’ Foscari and Soochow University.