Scholarships, cultural exchange and joint research planned for The Jiangning Foundation

Posted on 16 December 2010

The University of York and the History of Art Department launch of a major new foundation to promote cultural links between the UK and China.

The Jiangning Foundation will facilitate research, teaching and other links between Chinese and British cultural institutions and universities. Its first projects will be History of Art MA scholarships and a programme for visiting academics at the University of York. 

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 welcome this project

Professor Mark Hallett

The first activity sponsored by the Foundation will be two MA Scholarships for Chinese students in the History of Art Department at the University of York. The Department also expects to welcome visiting experts in Asian art during the Foundation's first year. York has also established a partnership with Peking University in Beijing, China, for student exchange, scholarships development, research and teaching partnerships.

"We hope that the Foundation will grow to encompass research, learning and innovation in a range of programmes centred on the arts and culture of China," said Professor Brian Cantor, Vice-Chancellor of the University of York. "We also aim to build strong links with academic and cultural organisations in China as partners in this endeavour."

"I am very pleased that the memory of Jiangning Wang is 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 Professor Mark Hallett, Head 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 welcome this project."

The initiative responds to a number of wider trends, including the University of York's strong international focus, the increasing interest in transnational issues within History of Art, the extraordinary economic, social and political changes now taking place in Asia, and the new global geographies that these changes bring in their train.

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.