Accessibility statement

Clustering Chinese plum blossoms by Chen Xianzhang

The Jiangning Foundation

Scholarships, cultural exchange and joint research

We are honoured to announce that the History of Art Department at York hosts a special cross-cultural initiative to promote links between China and the UK in the fields of art and art history.  The Jiangning Foundation facilitates research, teaching and other links between Chinese and British cultural institutions and universities.  

The Foundation is named after Jiangning Wang, who was a student in the History of Art Department at the University of York before her tragic death in November 2009. Created by the University, the Foundation reflects the contribution to Chinese-European cultural exchange that she made while she was a student at York. She was particularly interested in British Victorian art history, and her aim in life was to become an ambassador to promote cultural exchange between China and Europe.

Jiangning was one of the first people from mainland China to study art history at York – she was a pioneer – and I believe she would have welcomed this project.

Prof Michael White

The Foundation supports the following activities:

  • A well established partnership between the Department of History of Art at York with Peking University in Beijing, China, for student exchange, scholarships development, collaborative research and teaching
  • MA Scholarships for Chinese students in the History of Art Department at the University of York 
  • Lectures on Asian art 

"I am very pleased that the memory of Jiangning Wang is being honoured in this way," said Mr Victor Lang, a close friend of Jiangning's family. "I hope that this initiative will encourage more students from both the UK and China to research and study art history and devote themselves to bridging the gap between China and Europe in this field."

"The Jiangning Foundation will offer wonderful opportunities for British and Chinese students and scholars," said Michael White from the Department of History of Art at York. "We intend that the Foundation will support exhibitions and staff appointments, as well as joint research between Britain and China. Jiangning was one of the first people from mainland China to study art history at York – she was a pioneer – and I believe she would have welcomed this project."

The Foundation is designed to promote world-leading teaching and research in the field of Asian-European artistic exchange, and to provide a scholarly forum for art-historians and students from both East and West.

Kuang Sheng (Vivian)Kuang Vivian Sheng, is a second-year PhD candidate in History of Art, at the University of York. “I was funded by the Jiangning Foundation for my MA study at the department in 2011-2012. It was such an honour to be one of the first two postgraduate students from mainland China supported by the Jiangning Foundation, which aims to facilitate research, teaching and other links between Chinese and British cultural institutions and universities. My MA study at York was intensive and rewarding. I further developed my academic interests in modern and contemporary visual culture, psychoanalytical and post-structuralist feminist theories.

I am currently working with Dr Jo Applin on my PhD project—The Female Artists’ Fantasy of ‘Homemaking’ in the World: Mona Hatoum, Yin Xiuzhen, and Nikki S Lee, which examines the notion of ‘home’, instantiated and represented at the level of contemporary transnational artistic practices, in particular, by three chosen female artists from non-western origins. As an international student living in the UK for nearly six years, my research is also a reflection and exploration of my own intercultural experience gained from working in a foreign academic context.”

Recent Activities

July 2014, the Second Peking University Summer School

Amanda Lillie with Ding Ning and the Peking University Summer School‌We have been delighted to welcome students from Peking University to the University's second summer school.  As part of an intense programme of events organised by the University's Centre for Global Programmes, students were given a tour of York Minster led by Sarah Brown, who is currently overseeing the restoration of York Minster's Great East Window and taken to Liverpool by Michael White to see his co-curated exhibition Mondrian and His Studios at Tate, as well as the Walker Art Gallery.  Amanda Lillie guided students around the National Gallery in London where her co-curated exhibition Building the Picture: Architecture in Italian Renaissance Painting is showing until September 21st 2014.  As well as visiting other cultural highlights in Yorkshire, London, and the Lake District, students have been to see the acclaimed 'The Importance of Being Earnest' in York, and 'Les Miserables' in London.  In return, a group of York students will spend two weeks at Peking University, enjoying a mix of art history lectures and cultural visits in and around Beijing.

April 2014, Michael White visits China  Michael White and Ding Ning

"Over the Easter vacation this year, I spent an exciting three weeks lecturing and meeting ‌academics, students, curators and patrons in Beijing, Kaifeng and Hangzhou.  It proved to me how much we can learn from each other.  I discovered how fascinated Chinese people are with Western Art.  At the same time I gained a sense of the great depth of China's immensely long cultural history. I will never forget seeing the Longmen Grottos at Luoyang with tens of thousands of carvings of Buddha." Further details here.

July 2013, Peking University Students visit York

The inaugural Peking Summer School was organised by the University’s Centre for Global Programmes.  The development of summer schools is hugely important to international relations at York, and the passion for the arts shared by Peking University and the University of York made this a natural partnership.  Thirteen students accompanied by two academics from Peking University visited local heritage sites of importance, such as Beningborough Hall, Fairfax House and the Yorkshire Museum as well as travelling to London to visit Tate Britain, The British Museum and the National Gallery. Read more about last year's summer school.

June 2012, Current Research into Contemporary East-Asian Visual Culture Symposium at Tate Modern

Organised by Michael White as well as Marko Daniel of Tate Modern, Sally Lai of the Chinese Art Centre in Manchester, and Paul Gladstone of the University of Nottingham, this conference set out to showcase current research into contemporary East-Asian visual culture set against the background of major social, cultural, economic and political shifts that have taken place as a result of globalisation.  Further details here.

January 2012, Professor Ding Ning visits the department

We were delighted to welcome Professor Ding Ning of Peking University to the department where as part of a programme of events, he delivered a fascinating lecture on 'World Art in China: Global Challengesand Opportunities in Presenting the Art of Other Civilisations'.  Read more here.

November 2010, Workshop: Ai Weiwei Contemporary Art from China

‌‌On the occasion of Ai Weiwei’s exhibition in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall, the department hosted a major event to debate the significance of contemporary Chinese art and its reception in the UK.  Further details here.


For further information please contact Professor Michael White, Deputy Head of Department.