Hong Kong History Project Alumni

CATHERINE CHANDr. Catherine Chan, Assistant Professor, Lingnan University 

I joined the the Hong Kong History Project (HKHP) as its second PhD studentship recipient. The project provided me with everything I needed to embrace the process of learning, failing, and radiating professionally and personally. I was able to broaden my network and meet inspirational people who have helped shape my career. More importantly, I found at the HKHP a safe and stimulating stomping ground that underpinned my growth as a historian. The years spent with Robert Bickers and peers have shown me how a foolish idea can develop into a great narrative if nurtured with effort, heart, and support.

I kept this close to my work as I ventured out to the world upon graduating. As I took on the positions of Assistant Professor at the University of Macau and now Research Assistant Professor at Lingnan University, I find solace in knowing I have the Hong Kong History Centre as a lifelong partner and I have friends, now working in different parts of the world, who share the same vision of restoring Hong Kong’s past through the diverse experiences of its inhabitants.

Thesis: Empire Drifters: The Macanese in British Hong Kong, 1841-1941
Katon LeeDr. Katon Lee, Lecturer, Hong Kong Baptist University

The Hong Kong History Project played a pivotal role in shaping my career. I am immensely for the generous studentship that supported my studies from 2016 to 2020. This enabled me to pursue my research on Hong Kong history. The project’s network connected me with a diverse academic community that not only fostered collaborative opportunities and intellectual exchange, but also enriched my personal growth.

I firmly believe that the project greatly assisted me in securing my post-doctoral appointments and nurturing my development. In 2019, I became an Assistant Lecturer at the College of International Education at Hong Kong Baptist University, and in 2021 a Lecturer at the Department of History there. I am indebted to the Centre for its unwavering support, which has been instrumental in shaping my academic journey and professional growth. I remain committed to advancing the understanding and appreciation of Hong Kong’s rich historical heritage and look forward to further collaboration and engagement within this vibrant academic community.

Thesis: Suit Up: Western Fashion, Chinese Society and Cosmopolitanism in Colonial Hong Kong, 1910-1980
Chris Wemyss Dr. Chris Wemyss  

I began my PhD research at the University of Bristol in September 2015, coinciding with the formation of the Hong Kong History Project - the forerunner of the Hong Kong History Centre. With the growth of the Project, the number of researchers studying Hong Kong history increased, forming an invaluable network. This community of fellow students and colleagues supported my PhD studies socially and intellectually, helping to ultimately shape my thesis. Regular meetings of the Project group allowed us to share work in progress, discuss recent work in the field, and invite guest speakers.  

As well as supporting some of my fieldwork in Hong Kong, the Project enabled me to organise several events. These included an exhibition of Hong Kong photographs at the Bristol Museum in February 2018, and a conference, All Roads Lead to Hong Kong, co-hosted with the University of Hong Kong in June 2019. I have carried the skills and network I gained from the Project into my post-PhD career as a Civil Servant.

Thesis: Britons Abroad: Navigating Imperialism in Late Colonial Hong Kong, 1980-2000
GEMMA O’NEILLDr. Gemma O’Neill  

Studying for a PhD with the Hong Kong History Project at the University of Bristol was one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve ever made. With the guidance of my supervisors, and through time spent with my peers at Bristol, I challenged myself to think about Hong Kong – and British – history beyond the confines of official records and narratives.

Being part of the HKHP has enhanced my professional life as a researcher and analyst, and the friends I made there have given me a life-long network of world-class historians.

Thesis: A New Way of Life: The Emergence of a Political Identity and Consciousness in Hong Kong, 1945-1979
HELENA LOPESDr. Helena Lopes, Lecturer in Modern Asian History, Cardiff University 

Helena Lopes is a historian of modern China and global history. Her research focuses on the international, political, and social history of the Second World War and the early post-war period in South China, including imperialism(s), anti-imperialism, and decolonisation, as well as experiences of movement, displacement and refugees. She is also interested in histories of Chinese migration more broadly, in histories of Portuguese and Welsh communities in twentieth-century East Asia, and in Chinese/Sinophone cinemas. 

She is the author of Neutrality and Collaboration in South China: Macau during the Second World War (Cambridge University Press, 2023). She holds a DPhil in History from the University of Oxford and held lectureships at the University of Oxford and the University of Bristol. At Bristol, she also worked with the Historical Photographs of China Project as Senior Research Associate in the History of Hong Kong and she was a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow in 2020-23.
Dr. Josepha C. Richard, Stacy Lloyd III fellow, Oak Spring Garden Foundation  

Josepha Richard is an art historian and historian of 18-19th century China, with a specific interest in studying the art of Chinese gardens, early Sino-Western interactions and the urban, social and art history of the city of Guangzhou (Canton). Her most recent project combines history of science and art, by researching botanically accurate paintings of Chinese plants commissioned by British trader John Bradby Blake in late 18th century Canton and kept at the Oak Spring Garden Foundation (Virginia). 
Thomas LarkinDr. Thomas M. Larkin, Assistant Professor of the History of the United States of America and the World, University of Prince Edward Island

I started at Bristol in 2017 as an affiliate of the Hong Kong History Project, funded by the Augustine Heard Studentship. This award provided the support to live and study in the UK, and a generous allowance for overseas research, workshop organisation at Bristol, and networking with peers. My experience was in turn augmented by the close professional and personal relationships formed with my cohort and the wider community of Hong Kong scholars; all of which directly stemmed from the initiative’s success at cultivating international research networks. 

Following my PhD, further funding from the Augustine Heard donor and from the Centre allowed me to build a strong portfolio of work and complete my monograph. As I transition into my next role as Assistant Professor at the University of Prince Edward Island, I look back with gratitude at the professional training and space to grow that the studentship and fellowship provided, and at the opportunities, in general, that our donors have created for myself and for an up-and-coming generation of historians.