Denise Kwan is currently a PhD candidate on the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures at University of Westminster. Having studied Fine Art Sculpture (University of Brighton) and Curating Contemporary Art MA (Royal College of Art, London) Denise is interested in the potential and agency of using creative research methods and experimental writing to explore the relationship between people and objects. Previously, Denise has worked on the curatorial department at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (2009-2011) and has also written for Art Review and CCQ Magazine.
Since 2012, Denise has taught at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David on the Contextual Studies Department and at Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL on the Fine Art Sculpture Department. In these institutions, her teaching was focused on the issues of identity politics, representation and artists' practice. She was responsible for three years of undergraduate study and supervised dissertations. She has also guest lectured at the University of Brighton and Copenhagen Art School, Denmark.
PhD Title: The Talking of Objects: migratory experiences and subjectivity of British Chinese women
The analysis of Chinese migrants in Britain has tended to focus on the categories of ethnicity and economy. As a result, gendered experiences in a British Chinese context have been overlooked. My research focuses on the experiences of the first and second generation of British Chinese women, in particular, I am interested in how objects can offer another perspective on migratory experiences. To understand the position of the female migrant, my research recognizes that as people travel, so do objects and in this case, the focus is upon the everyday objects that women have inherited, purchased and preserved to understand how identities are entangled through the objects that are kept.
Overall, this research is situated along the interdisciplinary overlaps between migration studies, material culture and art-making. To examine the role of objects in enacting belonging and identity for British Chinese women, participatory research through art workshops and life-story interviews are conducted with British Chinese women across the two generations.