Marco Polo Project
We bring cultures together
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About us

About US

In our time of growing uncertainty, the world lacks common cultural practices to create a better future. We want to see a world where people are ready and able to learn from others and explore new insights with them. Our mission is to create intercultural spaces where globally connected people learn and explore collectively.

In the 13th century, the travels of an Italian merchant to China became the first best-seller in Europe - so fantastic did it seem that we could even describe a world so remote. Today, millions of new Marco Polos are interacting daily with unfamiliar places and people. As globalisation brings more of us together across cultures and languages, we must invent new forms of learning for the Marco Polos of today and tomorrow.

Founded in 2011 and inspired by the multicultural fabric of Melbourne, we are a registered charity headquartered in Australia, operating internationally, and committed to the public good on a global scale. You can browse through the pages of this website to read more about our Education Projects, our flagship event Translation Club, or the Marco Polo Museum where we curate a selection of original stories and ideas from East Asia for Western Readers. 

The Marco Polo Project Story 

Marco Polo Project started with a vision: a distributed global community, connected through digital channels, reading and translating the voices of contemporary Chinese writers, building intellectual bridges between the European and Asian traditions. This vision guided the development of Marco Polo 1.0 as a purely digital collaborative translation platform feeding into an online magazine.

Soon, however, the vision prompted lateral developments - online, through social media channels and partnerships with China-focused research and media outlets, such as Danwei Media and The China Story; offline, through partnerships and events with cultural, education and community-focused organisations. Our first 'All-you-can-translate' event in Melbourne, marked the start of Marco Polo 2.0, as our centre of gravity shifted from the medium - our platform - to the people - our community. A key milestone in that respect was the organisation of a global Festival of Digital Literature in 2013-14 that allowed us to develop global partnerships and experiment with new forms of audience engagement.

In turn, this phase led us to appreciate a new challenge: uncertainty is growing in all areas, the world is globalising, and yet we lack a common cultural practice to properly work together. What are the mindsets and skill sets that globally-minded people need in order to learn from each other, and together, bring about a better future? This question now drives the work of Marco polo 3.0. 

Get in touch! 

We are always happy to discuss potential collaborations, whether incubating a new project, running a pop-up Translation Club, or exploring the ways that our models or programs could apply in your context. We also run an ongoing informal internship program, and welcome people with a commitment to intercultural education to join us on the journey. 

If you're interested in the work of Marco Polo Project - or simply want to say hi - we would love to hear from you! Please contact us at info@marcopoloproject.org, or through our contact form