Coming soon: Hong Kong History Centre / 香港史研究中心即將成立

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Coming soon …

Across the next few months we are working on the formal establishment of the world’s first Hong Kong History Centre, here at the University of Bristol. Building on the seven years of activity under our Hong Kong History Project umbrella, which has seen us support conferences and workshops in Britain, Hong Kong, and Canada, network with colleagues internationally, and sponsor and support seven PhD students and four postdoctoral research fellows. We have incubated (so far) two books, numerous articles and book chapters, with two more books in press, and more great work on its way, with alumni of the project having moved on to postdoc fellowships and positions in Britain and in Hong Kong.

We will be steadily intensifying and broadening this range of activity. Our first new doctoral students have begun their studies, and we are beginning to appoint to the diverse range of positions that will form the Centre team, and its expanded range of activities.

Watch this space.

Robert Bickers & Vivian Kong



Introducing Vivian Kong

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Vivian Kong moved to Bristol to take up the Hong Kong History Project Doctoral Studentship in 2015. After the completion of her BA and MPhil degrees at the University of Hong Kong, she embarked on her PhD study of the pre-war British community of Hong Kong at the University of Bristol under Professor Robert Bickers.

Her interests in studying the Britons there originate from her MPhil research on the evacuation of British families from Hong Kong in 1940. While examining the public response towards the compulsory policy, Vivian noticed that many Britons there had already developed a local identity in Hong Kong, which contributed to their nostalgic comments about their lives there and reluctance to leave the city despite the threat of a Japanese invasion. She became interested in how they identified themselves and how their experience living there affected the way they perceived Britishness, and how they viewed British subjects of Asian descent in Hong Kong.

By reconstructing the lives of Britons in pre-war Hong Kong and their interactions with other communities there, Vivian’s doctoral research aims to explore the relationship between colonialism and Britishness. She is eager to examine how Hong Kong Britons’ colonial experience shaped their view of imperialism and Britishness. She is also interested to see how Britishness was defined by different communities in the colony, and what Britishnesss meant for them. While using a variety of written sources such as official documents, newspapers and memoirs, Vivian also employs oral histories in her research. She is currently recruiting former residents of Hong Kong who spent their childhood in pre-war Hong Kong to participate in her research.

Combining her research with public engagement has always been an important aspect of Vivian’s work. She has a blog where she shares the findings of her MPhil research, and in the future, her PhD research. The blog has put her in touch with not only surviving former residents of Hong Kong who were willing to bring in their insights and stories, and readers who wish to find out more about their family histories, but also interested readers hoping to learn more about an untold aspect of Hong Kong history.

2016 HK History Project Studentship Announced

The Hong Kong History Project Studentship for next year has just been announced. Generously funded by the Hatton Trust, this scholarship will support a doctoral project to be undertaken in the University of Bristol’s Department of History under the supervision of Prof. Robert Bickers starting in 2016.

Students will also get the opportunity to contribute to the Past Matters Festival of History.

For further information and details about how to apply, check out:

And be sure to check back next week to find out more about the research of Vivian Kong, current recipient of the Hong Kong History Project Studentship!

Project doctoral studentship, 2015-18

The Hong Kong History project has a 3-year award now open to applicants wishing to embark on PhD research in any aspect of the History of Hong Kong. The deadline for applications is 16th February 2015. We are looking for applicants interested in pursuing original research to be supervised by Professor Robert Bickers at the University of Bristol.

The studentship is funded by a generous donation from the Hatton Trust, as part of the new Hong Kong History Project, based at the University of Bristol. Possible doctoral projects could include, but will not be restricted to: subjects in the history of Hong Kong society, politics, culture and economy under colonial rule; Hong Kong elites (social, cultural and political history), individuals and families, and their interactions with the colonial government, Hong Kong society, commerce and culture; migration; entrepreneurialism; Eurasians. The research contexts for this work could include (but are not be restricted to) modern Chinese and East Asian history, modern British colonial history, or global history. It is expected that the project would require Chinese language skills.

Alongside their research, the studentship holder will help with aspects of Past Matters, a festival of history at the University of Bristol, which normally takes place each spring and includes public lectures, workshops, and a range of community events and will also run a schools or community event that emerges from their PhD research interests.

How to apply:

Please apply in writing to Professor Robert Bickers, at the Department of History, Bristol University, 13 Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1TB, or, with a formal research proposal, as well as a statement (no more than 1 page) of your suitability for a role that combines academic research with public engagement.

Please also make an online application for this studentship at Please select History on the Programme Choice page and enter details of the scholarship when prompted in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form.

Candidate requirements:  A pass at M level (or international equivalent)

Funding: Home/EU and International. Details: Home/EU: Full payment of tuition fees and maintenance stipend of £13,863 per annum. Overseas: £20,000 per annum


Follow this link to start an application.