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Adaptation and Regional Revitalisation(アダプテーションと地域再生)

A Case Study in a Small Fishing Village on Sado Island


John Williams (Professor, Faculty of Foreign Studies, Sophia University)


November 22, 2023 / 19:00-20:30 Room 301, 3F Building 10, Sophia University In person only / No registration required


From 2013 until the present day, I have been regularly visiting the small village of Kitaushima on Sado Island. I have completed a documentary film about the daily life of the village and the changes there over the last ten years. Whilst making the documentary, I was award, a Priority Areas Research Grant by Sophia to research the ways that art practice can help regional revitalization. But while I was doing the research, which included making another film in the village, I realized that maybe my question was all wrong. Perhaps I should not be asking the question what art can do for the village? Perhaps the question should be, what can a village teach us about life?


I learned a lot through this research project, and I have tried to express what I learned in a poetic form in a fictional film shot in Kitaushima that incorporates local puppetry traditions and actors. This film is called Tabi and is a loose adaptation of Under Milk Wood, a famous Welsh play set in a fishing village in Wales. I will screen some clips from the documentary and from Tabi and talk about some of the themes and ideas in both the original play and the film.


I will also talk a little bit about my ongoing research project in the village with several Japanese and international artists, who are all interested in making art in rural areas and exploring the links or “entanglements” between humans and the natural world, including the animals, plants, and microscopic creatures we cannot see. How can art help us see these things and value them again?


This project was supported by the Sophia University Special Grant for Academic Research (Adopted Research Projects of Research in Priority Area 2020-2022)

The ongoing research project is supported by an ICC Collaborative Research Project Award.

Contact: John Williams (h-willia@sophia.ac.jp)


This event is part of the SORW 2023.

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