Professor Wessie Ling

Professor Wessie Ling is a professor in transcultural arts and design for the School of Architecture, Art and Design.

Professor Wessie Ling looking into the camera

Professor Wessie Ling is a professor in transcultural arts and design and holds a PhD, MA, and BA. She joined The School of Art, Architecture and Design in 2020, and is interested in cultural production and economy of fashion and the interplay between art and design. Previously, she held academic positions in Northumbria University where she was the co-director of AHRC Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) and the University of the Arts London. She was ASEAN Research Fellow at Mahidol University (2018) and Rita Bolland Research Fellow at the National Museum of World Cultures (2018/9). She has been a visiting researcher at the University of Hong Kong and Fu Jen Catholic University. Recent workshops and public lectures were delivered at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Ca’Foscari University of Venice, University of Bologna, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Parsons Paris The New School, Thailand Creative and Design Centre, Asia Society Hong Kong Centre, Tropenmuseum Amsterdam, Research Centre for Material Culture at the National Museum of World Cultures, Institute of International Visual Art (InIVA), Royal Academy, Fashion and Textile Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. She has acted as the peer reviewer for Bloomsbury Publishing, Journal of Design History, Fashion Theory, Visual Anthropology, Modern China and external funders such as Research Grants Council Hong Kong and European Research Fund. 

She is the recipient of external grants and fellowships from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Design History Society, the Arts Council England, the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia (Mahidol University), the Research Centre for Material Culture (National Museum of World Cultures), and the Mill6 Foundation Hong Kong. 

She advises the National Museum of World Cultures on acquisition of which artefacts have been exhibited at Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam and the World Museum in Rotterdam. She has been a long-term member of the Board of Trustees at the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art (CFCCA, Manchester). From vice chair of the board to committee member, she is currently a member of CFCCA’s Artistic Committee advising on curatorial strategy and direction.

Subject specialisms

  • Cultural production
  • Fashion theories
  • Transcultural and Chinese fashion

Professional activity 

  • Member of artistic committee for the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art (CFCCA), Manchester (2016-date; Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, 2009-15)
  • Rita Bolland Research Fellow for the Textile and Fashion Study at the Research Centre for Material Culture in the National Museum of World Cultures, the Netherlands, 2018-19 
  • ASEAN Research Fellow at the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia (RILCA) in Mahidol University, Thailand, 2018

A trained cultural historian and visual artist, Professor Ling uses academic writing and visual art practice to address her work. The discourse of cultural production and cultural property of fashion are common themes in her work; in particular, the construction, expression and creation of an identity when producing fashion, its relation with the transcultural locality and the tension within and outside of the fashion system in which it is produced. Fashion as an attitude, an idea or a resource, its pull-push force, the juxtaposition of its use and being used by it are threads in both her written and artwork. She has worked on the socio-cultural revolution of the Chinese dress through which dissecting the material culture in China. Her co-investigated Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) project, Writing and Translating Modern Design Histories for the Global World (2012-14), studied the transcultural links in the twentieth century design in which trans-East Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) cultural dynamics in the making of fashion, graphics, and product were examined. She is the author of Fusionable Cheongsam and co-editor of Fashion in Multiple Chinas: Chinese Styles in the Transglobal Landscape, and special issues for Modern Italy and Zone Moda Journal. In her visual art practice, she uses text and installation to create work that addresses the cultural properties of fashion. Neither is it a compliment nor a substitute for the writing. It is used both as a recording device and a way to create a field of exploration investigating issues of the (in)tangible assets of fashion, consumption, global capitalism, (post)colonialism, and cultural hybridity drawing on her dual role as artist and researcher. Works were exhibited in Saint Dominic’s Priory (Newcastle), Oxfordshire Visual Arts Development Agency, Danson House (Bexleyheath Trust), Brunei Gallery (SOAS, University of London), Saltram House (National Trust), the Victoria and Albert Museum among others. 

If you are interested in pursuing a PhD study with Professor Ling please email her directly with a brief summary of your proposal.

Research interests

  • Transnationalism
  • Transcultural exchange
  • Cultural production and identities
  • Cultural heritage 
  • Cultural economy 
  • Visual and material cultures
  • Cultural studies
  • Global fashion
  • Fashion, China and East Asia

Monograph

WESSIELING. Fusionable Cheongsam, Hong Kong: Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2007, ISBN: ISBN: 978-962-763068-5.

Edited volumes and special issues:

Peer reviewed publications:

  • W Ling. Textile, Apparel and Fashion Design in Hong Kong Fashion. In H Fujita and C Guth (eds) The Encyclopedia of East Asian Design (EAD), Oxford: Bloomsbury (1): 151-154, 2020, ISBN: 9781350036475
  • W Ling. Textile, Apparel and Fashion Design in Taiwan Fashion. In H Fujita and C Guth (eds) The Encyclopedia of East Asian Design (EAD), Oxford: Bloomsbury (1): 522-526, 2020, ISBN: 9781350036475
  • W Ling and D Van Dartel. Global Fashion as a Tool in the Ethnographic Museum. In W Ling, M Lorusso, and S Segre Reinach (eds) Global Fashion, Zone Moda Journal 9(2): 71-88, 2019
  • W Ling, M Lorusso and S Segre Reinach. Critical Studies in Global Fashion. In W Ling, M Lorusso, S Segre Reinach (eds) Global Fashion, Zone Moda Journal 9(2): V-XVI, 2019
  • W Ling and S Segre Reinach. Fashion-Making and Co-Creation in the Transglobal Landscape: Sino-Italian Fashion as Method. In M Marinelli and W Ling (eds) “Italianerie”: Transculturality, Co-creation and Transforming Identities between Italy and Asia, Modern Italy 24(4): 401-415, 2019.
  • M Maurizio and W Ling (eds) “Italianerie”: Transculturality, Co-creation and Transforming Identities between Italy and Asia. Modern Italy 24(4): 363-367, 2019.
  • W Ling. Beneath the Co-Created Chinese Fashion: Translocal and Transcultural Exchange Between China and Hong Kong. In W Ling and S Segre Reinach (eds) Making Fashion in Multiple Chinas: Chinese Styles in the Transglobal Landscape, I.B. Tauris/Bloomsbury 123-49, 2018.
  • W Ling and S Segre Reinach. Making Fashion in the Transglobal Landscape. In W Ling and S Segre Reinach (eds) Making Fashion in Multiple Chinas: Chinese Styles in the Transglobal Landscape, I.B. Tauris/Bloomsbury 1-12, 2018.
  • W Ling. Bag of Remembrance: A Cultural Biography of Red-White- Blue, from Hong Kong to Louis Vuitton. In R Blaszczyk and V Pouillard (eds) European Fashion: The Creation of a Global Industry, Manchester: Manchester University Press 283-301, 2018.
  • C Guan, S Qin, W Ling and Y Long. Enhancing apparel data based on fashion theory for developing a novel apparel style recommendation system. Trends and Advances in Information Systems and Technologies (AICS), Springer 747: 31-40, 2018.
  • C Guan, S, Qin, W Ling, G, Ding. Apparel Recommendation System Evolution: An empirical review. International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology 28(6): 854-79, 2016.
  • W Ling. Korea Vs Paris: There is no Fashion, Only Image or How to Make Fashion Identity. In R Menarini (ed) Cultures, Fashion and Society's Notebook, Milan-Turin: Bruno Mondador 1-14, 2016.
  • W Ling. ‘Chinese Modernity, Identity and Nationalism: The Qipao in Republican China’, Jacque Lynn Foltyn (ed.), Fashions:  Exploring Fashion through Culture.  Probing the Boundaries at the Interface Series.  Oxford: The Inter-Disciplinary Press, pp. 83-94, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-84888-015-3.
  • W Ling. ‘“Fashionalisation”: Urban Development and the New-Rise Fashion Weeks’, Jess Berry (ed.), Fashion Capital: Style Economies, Cities and Cultures, Oxford: The Inter-Disciplinary Press, pp. 85-96, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-84888-143-3. 
  • W Ling. ‘From Made in Hong Kong to Designed in Hong Kong: Searching for an Identity in Fashion’, Double Issue on Hybrid Hong Kong (ed. K. B. Chan), Visual Anthropology, 24(1), pp. 106-23, 2011. Reprinted in: K. B. Chan (ed.), Hybrid Hong Kong, London and New York: Routledge, ISBN: 978-0-415-69554-1.
  • W Ling. ‘Harmony and concealment: How Chinese women fashioned the Qipao in 1930s China’, Beth Tobin and Margaret Goggin (eds.), Material Women: Consuming Desires and Collecting Objects 1770-1950, Ashgate, pp. 209-25, 2009, ISBN: 978-0-7546-6539-7.
  • W Ling. 'Vers une nouvelle esthétique diasporique : espaces et modalités du travail des créateurs de mode étrangers à Paris', in Isabelle Pareys (ed.) Paraitre et Apparences en Europe occidentale du Moyen Age a nous jour, Villeneuve d’Ascq: Presses Universitaries du Septentrion, pp. 331-46, 2008, ISBN: 978-2-85939-996-2.
  • W Ling. ‘Chinese dress in The World of Suzie Wong: How the Cheongsam becomes Sexy, Exotic, Servile’, Special issue on ‘Fashioning Society’, Journal for the Study of British Cultures, 14(2), pp. 141-51, 2007, ISSN: 0944-9094

Conference proceedings:

  • W Ling. ‘Nationalism, Women and their China: What more the Chinese talk about when they talk about the qipao?’ in Janis Jefferies (ed.), TECHSTYLE Series 1.0: Ariadne’s Thread 1.3 Document, Hong Kong: Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile, pp. 92-101, 2017, ISSN: 978-988-14818-4-9.
  • W Ling. ‘The Fashion Week Contest and its Dialectics’, Conference Proceedings of The 6th International Conference on Design History and Design Studies, The Osaka University, pp. 282-5, 2008.
  • W Ling. ‘Paris and the Designers – Processes of Engagement of Oriental Designers in the Fashion Capital’, IFFTI Annual Conference Proceedings, Leishman, Brian (ed.), Tokyo: Bunka Women’s University, pp. 35-42, 2005, ISBN: 978-4-579-11142-8.

Practice-based research:

  • WESSIELING. ‘Holy Chic’, Solo exhibition, Newcastle upon Tyne: Saint Dominic’s Priory, 2016.
  • WESSIELING. ‘Labels of Desire’, ‘WSL’, ‘WESSIELING’ in Wastelands, Oxford: Oxfordshire Visual Arts Development Agency (OVADA), 2015.
  • WESSIELING. ‘Face the Elements’ (new work produced by Bexleyheath Trust), ‘Fashion Chess’‘National Dress’ in Couriers of Taste, Danson House, UK: Bexleyheath Trust’s, 2013.
  • WESSIELING. ‘National Dress’ (outdoor installation, new commission by Saltram House, National Trust), ‘Fashion Chess’ and ‘National Dress (indoor installation) in Sinopticon, Plymouth Amphitheatre, Saltram House (National Trust), Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, 2012.
  • WESSIELING. ‘National Dress’ (outdoor installation, new commission by Saltram House, National Trust), ‘Fashion Chess’ and ‘National Dress (indoor installation) in Sinopticon, Plymouth Amphitheatre, Saltram House (National Trust), Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, 2012.
  • WESSIELING. ‘For All Walks of Life’, ‘Maybe She’s Born with It’, ‘The News’, ‘Get Set for Spring’, in The Fabric of Fieldwork, with Professor Susan Ossman, Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London, 2012.
  • WESSIELING. ‘Fashion Chess’ in Fifties, Fashion and Emerging Feminism: A Contemporary Response. Collyer Bristow Gallery, London, 2011.
  • WESSIELING. ‘Fashion Chess’ and ‘National Dress’ in China Through the looking Glass, Commission works, Friday Late, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2011.
  • WESSIELING. ‘Sweatshop’, Commission work, with Lisa Cheung, Group show (curated by Zoe Shearman), Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, 2007.
  • WESSIELING‘Fusionable Cheongsam’ (accompanied with publication), Solo exhibition, The Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2007.
  • WESSIELING. ‘Game On: The World Fashion Conquest’, Solo exhibition, Exhibit (London), 2006. Exhibition travelled to MAK (Austrian National Museum for Applied Arts / Contemporary Art), Vienna, 2007.
  • WESSIELING. ‘Mapping Motifs: An exploratory journey through fashion, cities and identities’, Solo Exhibition, AVA Gallery, London, 2005.

Practice-based research related articles

  • WESSIELING and F Loscialpo. ‘Fashioning the everyday’, ADDRESS. Journal for Fashion Writing and Criticism, September (1), 96-101, 2011, ISBN: 2044-9275.
  • WESSIELING. ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Sweatshop’, Zoe Shearman (ed.), HUMAN CARGO, Plymouth: Plymouth University Press, pp. 30-5, 2011.Catalogue was nominated as ‘The Most Outstanding Non-fiction Book Published in English’ by the Gilder Lehrman centre’s 14th annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize, Yale University (USA), 2011.
  • W Ling and C Huck. 'Mapping fashion, cities, identities and the world fashion conquest', Darkmatter, 2008, 
  • W Ling. ‘London and Fashion as Visual Arts Practice’, Louise Clark (ed.), THE MEASURE, London: London College of Fashion (Distributed by Thames & Hudson), pp. 340-5, 2008, ISBN: 978-1-903455-07-4.
  • W Ling. (ed.) Game On: The World Fashion Conquest, Exhibition catalogue, London: EXHIBIT, 2006, ISBN: 978-0-9554308-0-0.