Personal accounts

This year, I’m not doing a detailed hour-by-hour account of my trip. That’s not because I didn’t have much to report. It’s just that I decided only to focus on the bits which merit standalone articles. After all, you don’t particularly want to know what I had for lunch every day, or who my dinner […]

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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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Kang Ik-joong’s Floating Dreams installed on the Thames

by Philip Gowman 30 August 2016
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For one reason or another, today at the office I had my eyes glued to my PC screen most of the day. I didn’t have much time to enjoy the view from my window, from where I can see the Thames around the Greenwich peninsula. Which meant that I managed to miss one of the […]

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Caught on the plane: Twenty and Memories of the Sword

by Philip Gowman 13 December 2015
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I always look forward to long-haul flights as an opportunity to catch up on all the movies I should have been watching over the past year. And having just returned from an ultra-long-haul holiday, I can heartily recommend Singapore Airlines in-flight entertainment. My only complaint is that there was too much to watch: if the […]

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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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Please close your eyes and block your ears during the brief documentary on 2 Nov

by Philip Gowman 17 October 2015
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For all the wrong reasons, I’m not looking forward to the opening gala of this year’s London Korean Film Festival as much as I ought to be. Of course, I’m really looking forward to the actual movie itself. Ode to My Father has been a much-talked-about film, with admissions of over 14.25 million at the […]

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2014 Travel Diary day 11: The most expensive breakfast ever

by Philip Gowman 16 June 2014
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The return home, with thanks to all who made the trip special. Eulji-ro, Seoul, Monday 16 June, 8am. My last morning in Seoul, and I was seriously hung over. I had arranged to meet the Seoul bureau chief of my favourite newspaper for breakfast: he had suggested that we meet at my hotel, not far from […]

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2014 Travel Diary day 3: 사십구재

by Philip Gowman 8 June 2014
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The 49th-day ceremony (사십구재) for Sena Lee, who died in Seoul on 22 April 2014, held at Anjeoksa, Sancheon-gun, at which family and friends said farewell to her. According to dharma master Tim Lerch,  Traditionally, the period of 49 days after someone dies is seen as a time for that person to check their consciousness and digest their […]

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No-one’s in the mood for celebrating

by Philip Gowman 23 April 2014
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In a brief article two days ago, Variety noted the impact of the Sewol ferry disaster on the Korean box office, on TV schedules, and on pop concerts. No one is in the mood for enjoying themselves right now. Not that such an injunction is needed, but I hear that government officials and diplomatic staff […]

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How to organise and accommodate an ever-growing library?

by Philip Gowman 9 February 2014
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When I started this Korean lark over 10 years ago, obviously I didn’t have any books on the subject. Over the years, the collection has been piling up, literally. Translated literature; novels in English by Koreans and by foreigners about Korea; the regrettably necessary section on North Korea; books on Korean art, history, film, music, […]

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2013 Travel Diary #30: New Connections

by Philip Gowman 14 September 2013
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Museum of Modern Art, Gwacheon-si, Saturday 14 September, 1:30pm. I’m still wandering around some of the museum’s permanent collection when my phone rings and my 3pm appointment wonders if they can shift to 2:30pm. It’s 1:30pm by now, and City Hall is a one hour journey away, so the proposed new time is going to […]

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Kiejo’s Cambridge feast

by Kiejo Sarsfield 21 May 2013
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Kiejo Sarsfield tells how a housewife from Masan ended up supervising dinner for 60 in a Cambridge college. In March I had e-mail from Dr Michael Shin, Lecturer in Korea Studies and fellow at Robinson College Cambridge, about a Korean food event he was planning to organise in a couple of months. He was asking me whether I would be interested […]

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An apology to LKL subscribers

by Philip Gowman 17 October 2012
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If you are reading this, it is because you are one of my loyal subscribers who get new articles delivered into your email inbox as soon as a post is published. You’re probably waiting for news of a recently-organised event. Instead, you find a post with no useful information in it. As you may know, […]

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Thank you

by Philip Gowman 17 May 2011
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Tonight at the Korean Cultural Centre, I’m told that it was a record attendance for a Global Korea Lecture. So, thanks to the people who came along to my talk. I think I said most of the things I wanted to, but missed a couple of things. More importantly, thanks to the Ministry of Culture, […]

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The LKL Korea Trip 2011 – first thoughts

by Philip Gowman 10 May 2011
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I’ve just returned from a few days in Korea – the usual programme of meeting new people, renewing old friendships, covering old and new ground and enjoying lots of good food. It was a less intensive week than last year’s because I was under my own steam rather than being hosted by the Ministry of […]

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A Special Global Community

by Bella Frey 18 October 2010
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Bella Frey talks about life as a Korean adoptee in England. It was in the 1950’s when the first babies were adopted to the United States from a war torn Korea. Many of them had been left orphaned and others abandoned. Since then hundreds of thousands of Korean babies and children have been adopted overseas […]

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2010 Travel Diary #15: Korean Kites, Kim Ki-chan and Cho Se-hui’s Dwarf

by Philip Gowman 16 June 2010
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Tuesday 4 May 2010. Although I’m very proud of the organisation I work for – a multinational company with a long heritage – I try to keep my Korean hobby and my day job separate. But I thought that as I was in Seoul I ought to pay a visit to some of my local […]

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