London, Asia is a collaboration between Asia Art Archive (AAA) and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (PMC).

This project posits London as a key, yet under-explored site in the construction of art historical narratives in Asia, and examines its influence through exhibitions, patronage, art writing, and art education. London, Asia also reflects on how the growing field of modern and contemporary art history in Asia intersects with and challenges existing histories of British art. 

London, Asia does not propose a comparative framework, but rather encourages new perspectives on the entanglements, historic and contemporary, between London and Asia. By looking at examples of particular exhibitions, events, institutions, and individuals, this project asks broader methodological questions about the ways in which the art histories of Britain and Asia have been, and are being, written, circulated, and negotiated. The project is envisaged as a series of interventions and conversations with no specific end point; rather, these initiatives and resources are intended to open up and fuel generative engagement with an area that art historians, curators, and researchers have yet to examine in a systematic and critical way.

Through this three-year period AAA and the PMC will collaborate on a series of discussions, events, and programmes, in addition to archival and digital projects. It will reach out to a broader community of interest to shape and realise these initiatives, and we anticipate the collaborative development of a repository of digitised materials, filmed conversations, oral histories, and texts that will be made available as open-access resources.Key research strands include:

Exhibition histories
Institutions (such as the British Council and the Commonwealth Institute)
Art schools and pedagogy
Art writing

The London, Asia Research Award

The second phase of London, Asia will explore the institutions and institutional histories that are key to shaping a more nuanced understanding of the cultural entanglements between London and Asia across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Like exhibitions, institutions produce multi-layered and multi-temporal histories. They are nodes within a complex web of connections. In thinking about the role that institutions have played in forging these connections, we can cut across different time periods, bringing together a range of people, objects, materials and approaches.The award will be granted to one successful applicant to facilitate research on the ‘Institutions and Institutional Histories’ strand of the London, Asia project. The successful grant holder is expected to visit both AAA (Hong Kong) & the PMC (London) to engage with the staff and research communities at both institutions. The award is an honorarium of $10,000 (USD) which will be made in two payments: one at the beginning of the award and one at the end. The project should be completed in six months from the time the award is made.The successful award holder will research a specific institution or institutional history, or a particularly pertinent time period within an institution’s history, that is relevant to the London, Asia project.The recipient will be required to submit a short interim report six weeks into the project and a c.10,000-word report at the end of the award outlining their findings, along with relevant images and resources. Primary materials and documents collected and research tools such as bibliographies and exhibition timelines compiled during the course of the research may be shared via the AAA and PMC websites. We would also expect the successful grant-holder to give a talk about their project at both AAA and the PMC.

How to Apply

Please submit:

  • An outline (1000 words max) describing your potential research project and interest in the London, Asia collaboration more broadly.
  • A two-page CV
  • A budget and travel plan outlining how you propose to spend the award (factoring in the cost of travel to Hong Kong and London and accommodation during your visits).

Send applications by email as a PDF file to:
Dr Sarah Victoria Turner
Deputy Director for Research

Paul Mellon Centre is an educational charity committed to supporting original research into the history of British art and architecture of all periods. It is the sister institution to the Yale Center for British Art, with which it collaborates closely, and is part of Yale University.