The Courtauld and Asymmetry Art Foundation announce new pioneering collaboration

Press release, 28 February 2022

The Courtauld x Asymmetry Chinese and Sinophone Contemporary Art Research Programme

  • The collaboration consists of two postdoctoral fellowships, a public lecture series, as well as an annual international symposium.
  • The Asymmetry Postdoctoral Fellowship at The Courtauld will be a unique opportunity for exceptional scholars to advance the study of Chinese and Sinophone contemporary art in one of the world’s leading centres for history of art and conservation.

The Courtauld and Asymmetry Art Foundation are delighted to announce a pioneering collaboration aimed at furthering and diversifying knowledge of Chinese and Sinophone contemporary art.

The Asymmetry Postdoctoral Fellowship in Chinese and Sinophone Contemporary Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art is a dedicated postdoctoral fellowship which will foster sustained and collaborative study of Chinese and Sinophone contemporary artistic practice. For the first time in The Courtauld’s rich history, the esteemed institution will collaborate with Asymmetry Art Foundation, a young emerging foundation with a mission to create a more diverse landscape in the academic and artistic arenas, to offer an opportunity for exceptional scholars to develop their research, build professional networks, gain teaching experience and become leaders in the field.

Granted to early career academics with a doctorate in art history or related disciplines with a strong research portfolio in Chinese and/or Sinophone contemporary art, the Asymmetry Postdoctoral Fellowship is a two-year fully funded placement. Selected from an Open Call via The Courtauld, the first fellow will start in September 2022, and the second in September 2024.

The Asymmetry fellows will be mentored by Dr. Wenny Teo, The Courtauld’s Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art. Alongside the fellow’s own academic research and teaching posts, they will be involved in the organisation of the lecture series and international symposium.

The Asymmetry Lecture Series, part of The Courtauld Research Forum, will bring together influential guest speakers including artists, curators, art historians and writers from relevant fields to present lectures, participate in talks and chair panels on Chinese and Asian contemporary art for students and the wider public.

The Asymmetry International Symposium will be an annual conference to advance research and debates around contemporary art in China and the Sinophone world.

The Asymmetry Postdoctoral Fellowship provides teaching and research posts in a world leading institution, creating career-defining opportunities for future work within the international contemporary art and academic world. Contributing to contemporary art history, alongside curatorial practice, this collaboration broadens Asymmetry’s core mission of deepening cultural knowledge in and about Asia through meaningful exchanges and progressive research opportunities, to further integrate this field into the future of art discourse.

Professor Deborah Swallow, Märit Rausing Director at The Courtauld said “We are grateful to Asymmetry, whose generous grant has enabled us to invest in these posts, lectures series and annual symposium. These roles will continue to transform The Courtauld’s areas of research, and play a role in our continuing efforts to decentre and decolonise the curriculum.”

Dr Wenny Teo, Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art at The Courtauld added “It is an honor to collaborate with the Asymmetry Art Foundation towards fostering innovative research in the dynamic field of Chinese and Sinophone contemporary art, and nurturing future generations of scholars. We are excited to welcome the Asymmetry Postdoctoral Fellows to The Courtauld’s vibrant research culture, and look forward to the critical debates and conversations engendered by the annual lecture series and international symposium.”

Michèle Ruo Yi Landolt, Deputy Director of Asymmetry Art Foundation commented “Being able to return to my alma mater and working with The Courtauld towards more inclusivity and representation in the research and promotion of Art History is not only fulfilling on a personal level, but essential in the achievement of a more diverse artistic and academic landscape.”

Yan Du, Founder and Director of Asymmetry Art Foundation said “Our mission to promote research and knowledge of Chinese and Sinophone contemporary art and curatorial practice should also include studying the discipline of Art History and its relevant fields, which is why the collaboration with The Courtauld is so meaningful. There are currently very few universities in the world that offer this at such a dedicated standard, so being able to contribute to the canon with the programmes that we have created together makes this partnership even more unique.”

The Open Call for the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Chinese and Sinophone Contemporary Art will be opening soon, with the first Fellow to be selected in late spring/early summer 2022.



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About The Courtauld

The Courtauld works to advance how we see and understand the visual arts, as an internationally-renowned centre for the teaching, research of art history and a major public gallery. Founded by collectors and philanthropists in 1932, the organisation has been at the forefront of the study of art ever since, through advanced research and conservation practice, innovative teaching, the renowned collection and inspiring exhibitions of its gallery, and engaging and accessible activities, education and events.

The Courtauld cares for one of the greatest art collections in the UK, presenting these works to the public at The Courtauld Gallery in central London, as well as through loans and partnerships. The Gallery is most famous for its iconic Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces – such as Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère. It showcases these alongside an internationally renowned collection of works from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance through to the present day.

Academically, The Courtauld faculty is the largest community of art historians and conservators in the UK, teaching and carrying out research on subjects from creativity in late Antiquity to contemporary digital art forms – with an increasingly global focus. An independent college of the University of London, The Courtauld offers a range of degree programmes from BA to PhD in the History of Art, curating, and the conservation of easel and wall paintings. Its alumni are leaders and innovators in the arts, culture and business worlds, helping to shape the global agenda for the arts and creative industries.

Founded on the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to engage with art, The Courtauld works to increase understanding of the role played by art throughout history, in all societies and across all geographies – as well as being a champion for the importance of art in the present day. This could be through exhibitions offering a chance to look closely at world-famous works; events bringing art history research to new audiences; accessible and expert short courses; digital engagement, innovative school, family and community programmes; or taking a formal qualification. The Courtauld’s ambition is to transform access to art history education, by extending the horizons of what this is, and ensuring as many people as possible can benefit from the tools to better understand the visual world around us.

About Asymmetry Art Foundation

Asymmetry is an independent London-based non-profit art foundation dedicated to nurturing curatorial practices and the development of cultural knowledge in and about Asia through global exchange. Asymmetry operates as a transnational, transdisciplinary, and forward-thinking organisation that fosters meaningful cultural exchange between creative practitioners, international institutions, and audiences through a range of initiatives.

Asymmetry was founded by Hong Kong and London based art collector and patron Yan Du in 2019 after recognising that the advancement of curatorial practices (including the work of academics, writers and thinkers) is essential to the arts eco-system, but not widely supported.

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