Joint East Asian Studies Conference 2019, University of Edinburgh

Vivien Chan, Juliana Kei and Janice Li (via Skype) in discussion with Dr. Jeremy Taylor, Photo by Dr. Helena Lopes
陳慧琳、紀逸純和李頌恩(透過 Skype)與 Jeremy Taylor 博士討論。相片由 Helena Lopes 博士拍攝。

On the 4th – 6th September, HKDHNet took part in the Joint East Asian Studies Conference, the UK’s major conference in the discipline jointly organised by the British Association for Chinese Studies (BACS), – Korean Studies (BAKS) and – Japanese Studies (BAJS). Taking place in the beautiful city of Edinburgh, we came together to present some of our own Hong Kong-related research, as well as talk about our project, curating the Hong Kong Pavilion at London Design Biennale 2020, for the first time.

Of course in the current political climate, discussion on Hong Kong was present from the beginning. In the introductory roundtable, asking ‘What is the place of scholarship in a Post-Truth World?’, the question of retaining nuance and complexity (posed by Dr. Michael Tsang of Newcastle University) came up about Hong Kong, a particularly pressing topic right now as most in the room collect the news from a constant feed of reports, images, videos, live-tweets and memes. Needless to say, the healthy handful of papers presenting on Hong Kong in the following days sought to reflect on the connections that histories (both contemporary and not) actually have with what is happening right now on the ground.

On the final day we had our panel ‘Traversing Boundaries: Material and Spatial Narratives of Twentieth-century Hong Kong’. Our main goal was simply to present together as design historians, and talk about why thinking about design matters in a place like Hong Kong. Between us, we presented on three different areas – shopping malls and housing estates, squatter and land, and the fashion and dress of elite Chinese women. We also announced our network together as Hong Kong Design History Network, to get a sense of interest in a different academic world, where we’re a little less comfortable than in design or history of design.

In our final questions, we were asked ‘why now?’ – why is it relevant to be doing design history in/of Hong Kong? Often it feels hard to justify why design matters when there is so much work to be done. But we concluded that in the current times, the urgency to find, create and share knowledge is all the more critical. In a place that has been at the centre of exchanging, making, distributing, selling and consuming things in history, now is the time more than ever to take notice of design history in Hong Kong.

The panel was an exciting way to begin sharing our work and opening up our community. If you’re interested in getting involved with HKDHNet, please do contact us, we’d love to hear from you!

9月4日至6日,香港設計史網絡參加了由英國漢學協會(BACS),英國韓國研究協會(BAKS)和英國日本研究協會(BAJS)在愛丁堡大學聯合舉辦的「2019東亞聯合研究會議」。 我們發表了一系列與香港有關的研究,並首次公佈我們的最新策展項目 – 2020 倫敦設計雙年展香港館。

當然,在目前的政治氣候下,關於香港的討論,從會議一開始便出現。 在引言圓桌會議上,紐卡索大學的 Michael Tsang 博士提出一個與香港息息相關、細緻又複雜的問題:「在後真相的世界,學術的定位在哪裡?」這是一個越見緊迫的話題,特別是現今大多數人通過即時報導、圖像、視頻、推文和網絡謎因(meme)不間斷接收新聞和訊息。毋庸置疑,隨後幾天在會議發表、關於香港的數篇論文,試圖健康地反思(當代與非當代)歷史,與當前正在發生的事情的關係。

在會議的最後一天,我們參與了「跨越邊界:二十世紀香港的空間與物質敘事」研討小組。 我們的主要目標是以設計歷史學者的身分參與,並提出為什麼在香港這樣的地方,需要思考設計議題。 我們介紹了三個不同的領域:購物中心與公共屋苑、寮屋與土地,以及中國精英女性的時尚和服飾。 我們還藉此宣佈「香港設計史網絡」的成立,分享我們在現時歷史學與設計史的典型學說以外,對學術世界不同面貌的興趣。

在最後的提問環節,我們被問到「為什麼現在?」 – 為什麼現在是適切的時候,研究在香港/ 關於香港的設計歷史? 當這個城市有太多事情要處理時,往往很難證明設計的重要性。 但我們的結論是,在當今時代,尋找、創造和分享知識實為更迫切和重要。 在歷史上一個以交換、製作、分發、銷售和消費產物為中心的地方,現在比以往任何時候都更加需要關注香港的設計歷史。

我們很高興這個研討小組能讓我們分享我們的工作和對外開放這個群體。 如果您有興趣參與,請與我們聯絡,我們很樂意聽取您的意見!