I am in the final year of my PhD in Cultural/ Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam and will be graduating at the end of April 2019, with a view to defending my dissertation around May 2019.
My dissertation is titled: “Contemporary Practices of Chinese Calligraphy” and is supervised by Professor de Kloet and Professor Landsberger. As part of the research group “ChinaCreative”, I am researching contemporary practices involving creativity and calligraphy in China, while investigating how current governmental directives to promote “creativity” affect the daily lives and calligraphy practices of various actors in China.
In my thesis, I investigate five different visual cultural fields in China, namely: calligraphy education, water calligraphy in public parks, digital calligraphy apps and WeChat groups, modern calligraphic art, and font design. I use a range of methods that include participant observation, interviews, visual analysis and focus groups. This broad set-up has allowed me to engage with a wide variety of cultural fields and visual practices, which has deepened my understanding of the creativity/copying dichotomy; how creativity is performed through engagement with digital platforms; and how artistic practitioners negotiate traditional practices of calligraphy in their works today.