School of Arts

A Ram Park

Key information

School of Arts PhD researcher
School of Arts
BA Fine Art (Goldsmiths College, University of London) in Studio Practice and Contemporary Critical Studies); MA Art History (Seoul National University); MA History of Art and Archaeology of East Asia (SOAS, University of London)
Email address
Thesis title
Alms for the Path of Awakening and Liberation: A Comparative Study of Korean and Japanese Elite Women's Buddhist Patronage, 1200-1700.


Born as the South Korean national, and with an award of BA Degree in Fine Art, my first social career began as an installation artist using the mediums of paper collage, video, and photography.  A long period of academic interest focused on Buddhism and Asian art gradually shaped my research path to study East Asian Buddhist art and language that assisted the learning in regional art history. The past experience of handling a camera in making artworks now became one of my invaluable assistants in documenting fieldtrips to Buddhist temples, outdoor rituals, and surveying votive images. The internship career at the National Museum of Korea further cultivated academic skills of project management, archiving object-surveyed reports, and editing texts for upcoming exhibitions. Various teaching experiences on Korean Buddhist art and delivering a paper at the international students’ conference also provided great opportunities to introduce the Buddhist heritage of my homeland to a broader populace, who were largely unfamiliar with the subject.  As a member of the Sakyadhita (‘Daughters of the Buddha’) Korea International Association of Buddhist Women, I was awarded with a certificate for completing the Global Empowerment Project in February 2023, with trainings of learning Buddhist philosophy and English translation skills.

Research interests

My research interest spans a diverse range of fields, including Buddhist art history, gender studies, foreign relations, and comparative analysis on palace politics. These seemingly distinct and separated fields of studies are the backbones that support my PhD thesis which compares Korean and Japanese elite women’s Buddhist patronage in the upheavals of the pre-modern dynasty in East Asia. Rather than pursuing the study of Buddhist art with the development of material culture, I am interested in mix-and-match different research fields that would encourage to understand art with interdisciplinary perspectives. My research also questions female agencies engaged with state ideology and the problems of voicing women’s spiritual quest under heavy obligations of patriarchal laws. In order to study the women’s Buddhist narratives that clashed with social norms, my research not only examines the Buddhist images sponsored by elite women, but also the textual works that attests to the criticisms and prejudice those women had to withstand in religious commitment. The cross-regional comparative research in Korea and Japan further enabled me to sketch other preliminary topics for future study — on diplomatic relations in the pre-modern East Asia and how the politic of gifts that evolved around Buddhist belief consolidated foreign alliance.

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