SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute celebrates SOAS Centenary with London exhibition on Chinese migration and symposium in China

23 May 2017

SOAS China Institute (SCI) celebrated the School’s Centenary with special events in the UK and China, including an exhibition on Chinese migration and a symposium in China.

The exhibition ‘British or Chinese? Stories of Migration, Family and Identity’ is based on the research of SCI Deputy Director Dr Jieyu Liu. The exhibition draws on life history interviews Dr Liu and her team have conducted with UK residents of Chinese ethnic origins over the past 18 months and is divided into three major themes: migration, family and identity.

SCI exhibtion

Above: One of the images from the new exhibition

Dr Liu said: “When Britain commenced maritime trade with Qing dynasty China in the late 17th century, the first Chinese migrants came as sailors aboard East India Company ships and lived in London near the docks. Since then, the Chinese who have come to make their home in Britain have journeyed from the expansive Chinese Diaspora, with diverse origins, and distinct dialects and customs.

“This exhibition builds upon the interviews with people of Chinese ethnic origin in the UK and documents their stories in migration, family and identity making.”

The exhibition was opened by the Mayor of Camden, Councillor Richard Cotton, and ran until 27 May at the China Exchange. The exhibition is now on show in the Paul Webley Wing at SOAS until 16 June.

In addition, the SCI brought together international scholars at Zhejiang University (ICSZU) last month at a special centenary symposium to discuss a wide range of issues relating to overseas Chinese communities.

Speakers included keynote speaker Professor Wang Gungwu, University Professor at National University of Singapore, Emeritus Professor of Australia National University, and former Vice Chancellor of University of Hong Kong; Dr Jieyu Liu and Roman Kierst from the SCI, Professor Fan Jieping from ICSZU and academics from Wenzhou University, Qingdao University, Hangzhou University of Science and Technology and Sheffield University.

The symposium was co-hosted by the SCI and Institute of Chinese Studies at ICSZU to celebrate the SOAS Centenary and 120 years since the founding of Zhejiang University, one of SOAS’s Centenary partners.