Conference reports

If I had been given a fiver every time a journalist or PhD student asked to be put in touch with North Korean refugees in the London area I wouldn’t be exactly rich, but there would be a few more books overflowing from my already full bookcase. Whether it be for reaction to the latest […]

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Beth McKillop reports from the 2016 Culture Communication Forum in Seoul

by Beth McKillop 12 September 2016
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Senior Research Fellow and former Deputy Director at the Victoria and Albert Museum Beth McKillop was the UK’s representative at Korea’s annual Culture Communication Forum hosted by the Corea Image Communication Institute. Since 1990 when I first visited Korea to collect ceramics, outfits and furniture for a planned Victoria and Albert Museum Korea gallery, I’ve […]

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APPG provides summary of their conference on violence against women

by Philip Gowman 12 March 2016
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The All Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea has published a brief write-up of their conference on violence against women and girls in North Korea, which was held on 22 February in the Houses of Parliament. They hope to upload the conference papers in due course. The report includes photos of the event by the […]

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Why Han Kang’s Human Acts is likely to be my book of the year

by Philip Gowman 17 February 2016
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Han Kang: Human Acts Translated by Deborah Smith Portobello Books, 2016, 224pp Originally published as 소년이 온다, Changbi Publishers Inc, Seoul, 2014 Han Kang’s Human Acts hits the bookshelves in the UK just as The Vegetarian starts to make waves in the US. The latter book has already made its mark in the UK, making […]

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Exhibition visit: Noh Suntag at 43 Inverness Street and Fitzrovia Gallery

by Philip Gowman 15 February 2016
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In his written introduction to the two parallel exhibitions at 43 Inverness Street and the Fitzrovia Gallery, Noh Suntag says “I am exploring how the Korean War lives and breathes in contemporary Korean society. I glare at the space where divided powers manipulate the war and division at will, treating them as a chapter of […]

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A lunchtime of ceramics and an evening of awesomeness

by Philip Gowman 5 November 2015
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I wish the lunch break had been longer at today’s Korean film conference at SOAS. I was planning on having a quick snack at Mr Mok’s Bibimbap Cafe in Museum Street, maybe say a brief hello to my friends at It’s All Greek a few doors away, and then look in at the British Museum’s […]

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Event report: the stories of our North Korean friends in New Malden

by Philip Gowman 30 October 2015
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During last year’s New Malden Festival, the founders of the Korean Information Centre, Bona Shin and Glenna Debosco, hosted an evening looking at the experiences of North Korean refugees in New Malden. The event was a valuable opportunity for local residents and others to raise their awareness of this small community in their midst, and […]

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Brief conference report: Deconstructing Boundaries: is “East Asian Art History” possible, at SOAS

by Philip Gowman 12 October 2015
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This weekend’s two-day conference at SOAS (10-11 October), hosted by the Japan Research Centre, presented some fascinating papers on art history in East Asia. The question it asked – ‘Is “East Asian Art History” possible?’ – is at first sight a puzzling one (why should it not be?), until one scratches below the surface as […]

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Event report: Ambassador Hyon Hak-bong at Chatham House

by Philip Gowman 1 October 2015
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Yesterday the DPRK Ambassador HE Hyon Hak-bong gave an on-the-record talk at Chatham House followed by Q&A. Fuller accounts of the talk will no doubt appear. NK News, the Guardian and the Telegraph have already posted theirs. Here are the messages that LKL registered. Obviously, this is not intended to be a transcript – more a […]

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Kwak Kyung-taek quizzed at the first LKFF on Typhoon, filming in Russia and more

by Saharial 29 June 2015
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Kwak Kyung-taek is July’s featured director at the KCC. This gives us the opportunity to resurrect from the archives Saharial’s transcription of a Q&A with the director following the UK premiere of his movie Typhoon, at the first of the KCCUK’s London Korean Film Festivals back in September 2006. Q: What drew you to the […]

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Sheffield conference report – Comfort Women: Listening To Their Voices

by Philip Gowman 22 June 2015
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Short of bringing some of the surviving halmonis to the UK in person, it is difficult to imagine how the organisers of this weekend’s gathering in Sheffield could have assembled a better line-up of people to discuss the Comfort Women issue. We had Byun Young-joo, director of the trilogy of documentaries focusing on the Korean […]

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Making, dyeing and using traditional Korean paper – a rewarding day of workshops at the V+A

by Philip Gowman 12 April 2015
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A fascinating pair of workshops at the V&A on Saturday introduced an audience of conservators to the making and dyeing of traditional Korean paper, and of some of its modern uses. The workshops were presented as part of the Adapt & Evolve Conference 2015 organised by the Book & Paper Group of the Institute of […]

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Korea’s Economy in Transition – a report from the recent evening at Asia House

by Philip Gowman 24 October 2014
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Sometimes, when you go along to an evening talk, you are looking forward to the networking rather than the substance of what the speakers will be saying. Perhaps you think you won’t learn much, and you’re going along out of a vague sense of duty, because other people will expect you to be there. Well, […]

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K-Drama week: Yang Yun-ho, IRIS, and the current state of Korean drama

by Philip Gowman 6 October 2014
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The KCCUK’s K-Drama week included the opportunity to meet the director of one of Korea’s most successful TV dramas of recent years, IRIS, which has been screened in 26 countries and brings film-like tension to the small screen. Director Yang Yun-ho gave a talk on the current state of Hallyu at SOAS, and participated in […]

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Shin Dong-hyuk: “passionate human rights campaigner and an ordinary young man”

by Youngeun Koo 22 September 2014
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Youngeun Koo reports from the first of EAHRNK’s “North Korean Memoirs” events. On Tuesday 16 September, the UK had the rare opportunity to meet Shin Dong-hyuk in person. Shin is so far the only person known to have successfully escaped from Camp 14, a ‘total control camp’ in North Korea. Organised by European Alliance for […]

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The Seoul Philharmonic – a young orchestra with “an extraordinary sense of adventure”

by Philip Gowman 7 September 2014
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On 27 August, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra made its Proms debut, the first Korean orchestra to play at the famous music festival. At the Pre-Prom talk earlier that evening across the road at the Royal College of Music, Michael Fine and Hyunjin Park of the Seoul Philharmonic, and Dr Haekyung Eom of Liverpool University, talked […]

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The experience of North Koreans in New Malden

by Philip Gowman 30 July 2014
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A panel session about the experiences of North Korean defectors in New Malden is at first sight a strange event to promote as part of an arts festival. But the 7th New Malden Arts Festival overlaps with Malden Fortnight, a celebration of New Malden’s varied community, of which Koreans are of course a significant part. […]

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