New Media Art Histories in Asia - AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award - The Courtauld Institute of Art

New Media Art Histories in Asia – AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award

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New Media Art Histories in Asia – AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award


PhD Programme

New Media Art Histories in Asia – AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award

New Media Art Histories in Asia – AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award

Nam June Paik, Bakelite Robot, 2002. Tate Collection, purchased with funds provided by Hyundai, Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee and Tate Americas Foundation 2015 © Nam June Paik Estate

A collaboration between Courtauld Institute of Art and Tate Research Centre: Asia providing a fully funded AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Award starting September 2017.

The supervisors are: Dr Wenny Teo (The Courtauld Institute of Art) and Dr Sook-Kyung Lee (Tate Research Centre: Asia).

For enquiries, please contact Dr Wenny Teo at

The Project

The aim of the ‘New Media Art Histories in Asia’ doctoral project is to examine the emergence and evolution of new media art in Asia in the 20th and 21st centuries. The primary resource will be the existing and growing body of video, film, multi-medial installations and digital artworks by artists from East, Southeast and South Asia in the Tate Collection.

In recent years, new media art has become the lingua franca of an increasingly globalised and hyper-connected art world, and the subject of a rich body of art historical and inter-disciplinary scholarship. Yet, few studies have focused on new media ecologies and archaeologies in and across the Asian region, specifically. This doctoral project provides a unique opportunity to examine the cultural, socio-economic, political and technological factors that have given rise to the development of new media art in one or more Asian countries in the context of a global art history, with a particular focus on questions of (geo)politics, identity and trans-national exchange.

While it will be essential for the student to determine the parameters of their research within this broad remit, some of the following questions might be used to frame the proposal:

  • How have new media art practices developed in Asian countries in the context of wider (geo) political and technological developments?
  • How have Asian artists utilised new media towards explorations of critical realism and documentary practice in post-colonial and post-war conditions?
  • What is the relationship between new media art, socially-engaged practice and political activism?
  • How might the growing number of immersive and spectacular multi-medial installations in Asia be analysed in relation to the expansion of the culture industries, and what does this entail about the commercialisation and populism of new media art forms in these contexts?
  • What role have media technologies played in documenting performance and site-specific installations in the region?
  • How might an understanding of the relationship between art and politics in Asian countries enhance or challenge debates on participation, collaboration and interactivity in art historical discourse?
  • How have new art practices in Asia been positioned within the global art canon, and to what extent might such practice constitute an alternative art historical narrative?

The successful applicant will have access to the Tate Collection of Asian art, and work closely with the supervisors to determine the geographical and chronological focus of the research, establish precise research questions and methodologies, and identify relevant archives and source material.

The studentship will be an integral part of both The Courtauld Institute of Art and Tate Research Centre: Asia’s core activities, contributing to the organisation of conferences, symposia, talks and seminars in the UK and beyond. The research student will also contribute to TRC: Asia’s research activities and assist curatorial activities in acquisition, display and exhibition programmes at Tate, where relevant, and play an active role in The Courtauld’s vibrant research culture.

For enquiries, please contact Dr Wenny Teo at

Entry criteria

We invite applicants who have obtained an MA in Art History or a closely related field, with research interests in modern and contemporary Asian art, visual culture and the political history of the region. Familiarity with post-colonial discourses, media theory and critical theory would be advantageous, as would the ability to read scholarly texts in one or more Asian languages. Applicants are expected to show a high level of preparedness for independent research, and undergo language training as required.

The award is for three years and covers fees and maintenance.  Please note that AHRC award eligibility requires the applicant to be resident in the UK for the preceding 3 years, with no restrictions on the time they may remain in the UK.  EU students are eligible for a full award if they have been resident in the UK for the three years prior to the start of the award. Students requiring a visa to study in the UK would not be eligible. For further information about AHRC eligibility and residency criteria, please consult the the eligibility guidance available on the AHRC web page: RCUK Terms and Conditions for Training Grants

You should also contact the Courtauld’s Admissions Team at

How to Apply

Interested applicants should follow the typical PhD application process as detailed on the How to Apply page and PhD Programme page.

The application deadline is 17.00 GMT 16 July 2017.

Courtauld Course Lecturer

Wenny Teo

Wenny Teo (张温惠) received a BA in History of Art and English Literature from the University of York (2003), and a MA (2004) and PhD (2011) in History of Art from University College London. Her doctoral thesis, ‘One World, One Dream: Contemporary Chinese Art and Spectacle’, supervised by Professor Briony Fer, examined the highly ambivalent relationship between contemporary Chinese art and spectacle from China’s ‘open door’ reforms in 1978 to the historical watershed of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Her research currently centres on socially engaged and participatory East and Southeast Asian art, subversive practices, geopolitics, language art and online visual culture.

Prior to joining The Courtauld as the Manuela and Iwan Wirth Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art in 2012, she worked as a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, and as curatorial assistant at Tate Modern. In 2014, she was an associate curator of We Have Never Participated – the 8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennial, and is currently co-curating an exhibition of newly commissioned Chinese outdoor installations at Cass Sculpture Foundation that will open in May 2016.

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