Dr. Yuko Kikuchi
TrAIN Member - Reader
I was born in Tokyo and trained in Japan, the USA and UK. My on-going interest in cross-cultural dimensions of arts started with the UK-Japan cultural relations that produced an international travelling exhibition and book Ruskin in Japan 1890-1940: Nature for Art, Art for Life (1997), followed by my PhD work on the Japanese folkcrafts (Mingei) movement which led to the subsequent publication of Japanese Modernisation and Mingei Theory: Cultural Nationalism and Oriental Orientalism (2004).
Since then my interest has expanded to the relation between modernities and cultural identities in the colonial and postcolonial context in East Asia. With major funding from the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation and the Taiwanese government, I organized a series of conferences that culminated in the edited book, Refracted Modernity: Visual Culture and Identity in Colonial Taiwan (2007). I am also passionate about globalisation of design history studies, and inter-East Asian design histories and historiography. Since 2010 I have been leading a new international joint project ‘Oriental’ Modernity: Modern Design Development in East Asia, 1920-1990’, and the subsequent AHRC funded Project ‘Translating and Writing Modern Design Histories in East Asia for the Global World’ (2012-14). This project aims to develop a network of design historians who are locally active in East Asia in order to make their studies more visible in this Anglo-American centred field.
I have developed transnational and global perspectives through my involvement with the AHRB project ‘Nation, Identity and Modernity: Visual Culture of India, Japan and Mexico, 1860s-1940’ (led by Oriana Baddeley, Toshio Watanabe and Partha Mitter), and the AHRC project ‘Forgotten Japonisme: The Taste for Japanese Art in Britain and the USA, 1920s-1950s’ (led by Watanabe). Currently, I am also exploring a methodology for transnational design history studies in my current book project ‘Russel Wright in Asia’ which investigates the multidirectional design histories through American designer Russel Wright’s design intervention in Asia (Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia) during the Cold War period.
Nation, Identity and Modernity, Visual Culture of India, Japan and Mexico, 1860s-1940 was funded by the AHRC (then AHRB) between 2001 and 2004. A collaboration between The University of Sussex and the University of the Arts London, this major research project was led by Professors Partha Mitter, Oriana Baddeley and Toshio Watanabe.
Find out more about Nation, Identity and Modernity
Dr Yuko Kikuchi has been awarded the British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant for two years for her project work. She will investigate the influential American designer Russel Wright (1904-76) and his less well-known design projects in Asia (Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan and Hong Kong) during the 1950s-60s at the time of the Cold War.
Find out more about Russel Wright and Asia: Inter-Asia Modernities and Transnational Design History During the Cold War
This project aims to develop a network of native design historians in East Asia (Japan, Korea, PRC, Hong Kong and Taiwan) led by the core members Yuko Kikuchi (PI at CCW), Wessie Ling (COI at LCF) and Yunah Lee (University of Brighton). The central concern is the re-examination of East Asian design histories from their local perspectives, as a counterpoint to prevailing Anglophone, western interpretations.
Find out more about Translating and Writing Modern Design Histories in East Asia for the Global World
Japan-India collaborative project: Gurcharan Singh and his East Asian Ceramic Collection at the Government Museum and Art Gallery Chandigarh (2014-19)Japan-India collaborative project: Gurcharan Singh and his East Asian Ceramic Collection at the Governmen
Gurcharan Singh (1898-1995), known in India as ‘the father of studio pottery’ and a close friend of the British potter Bernard Leach has been little known in Japan even though he studied in Japan during 1919-22 and was involved in the formative period of the Mingei (folk crafts) movement during the Taishō period when progressive social movements and liberal art activities developed alongside the aspiration for a modern democratic nation. The project started as part of a collaborative investigation on inter-Asian modernity led by Professor Brij Tankha (Emeritus Professor, Delhi University), and Kikuchi was invited to talk about ‘Gurcharan Singh and the Transnational Mingei movement’ for the ‘India-Japan: Roads to the Modern’ in Delhi in 2014.
Find out more about Japan-India collaborative project: Gurcharan Singh and his East Asian Ceramic Collection at the Government Museum and Art Gallery Chandigarh (2014-19)Japan-India collaborative project: Gurcharan Singh and his East Asian Ceramic Collection at the Governmen
Wednesday 12 Feb, 2014,
18:00 to 19:45
Friday 30 May, 2014,
09:30 to 17:30
Design Museum, London
Tuesday 17 Feb, 2015,
17:30 to 19:00
Main Lecture Theatre Chelsea College of Art 16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU
Wednesday 03 May, 2017,
18:00 to 19:30
Main Lecture Theatre, Chelsea College of Art, 16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU
Completed PhD - From Victorian to Modernist: the changing perceptions of Japanese architecture encapsulated in Wells Coates’ Japonisme
This thesis chronicles the change in perception of Japanese architecture from the Victorian era, where it was little recognised, to its becoming an inspiration for inter-war modernist architecture and lifestyle; it aims to record how Japanese art, particularly the way in which it was displayed, underwent a similar renaissance, and the part played by architect-engineer, Wells Coates, in this reversal of opinion.
Japanese ‘influence’ on British design from the mid-1850s until the development of Art Nouveau is generally accepted, but during the inter-war period inspiration from Japan is less readily acknowledged.
Find out more about Anna Basham
Completed PhD - The relational and quotidian in contemporary urban China
My research addresses the work of contemporary Chinese artists based in Beijing, whose work is both formed in negotiation with a global audience and influenced by a historically and culturally specific form of urban development. The tide of economic progress in China has a direct impact on daily life and continues to fuel the art world, raising issues of authenticity, authority and ownership.
Find out more about Voon Pow Bartlett