Asian Studies

Past events

Selected seminars, conferences, lectures, film screenings, exhibitions, and workshops in Asian Studies (2015 -).

Asian Studies Seminar Series

a traditional Chinese temple with lamps outside

Each semester, Asian Studies welcomes a fantastic range of guest speakers and colleagues to present an evening seminar on their research.

The topics span fields as diverse as film and media, literature, religion, society and politics in China, Japan, Korea and, more broadly, East Asia.

Please note that speaker titles and universities, as listed, date from the time of the event and may have changed.

Korean Studies Distinguished Lecture Series

Scottish Centre for Korean Studies Distinguished Lecture Series 2022 to 2023

This series from the Scottish Centre for Korean Studies has been running since 2020, latterly in collaboration with our Korean Studies PhD reading group “Korea and Its Neighbours”.

Previous lecture topics have included Korean literature, poetry, and cinema, North Korean development, East Asian international relations, Korean history and society, and queer Korea.

Often, speakers will present on recent publications, and audiences have the opportunity to participate in question and answer sessions after their presentations.

Selected lectures have been recorded and uploaded to the Scottish Centre for Korean Studies’ YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Please note that speaker titles and universities, as listed, date from the time of the event and may have changed.

Conferences and symposia

The Yun Posun Memorial Symposium

Nine conference delegates standing in front of a conference banner

The Yun Posun Memorial Symposium was established in March 2013 to foster new partnerships between the UK and Korea, promoting longer-term understanding and the growth of contemporary Korean studies and culture in Scotland.

It is jointly organised by the Yun Posun Institute for Democracy and the University of Edinburgh.

The symposium is named after Yun Posun, who graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1930 and ultimately became the father of the modern democratic movement in Korea.

Typically, the conference comprises a mix of panel sessions, keynote plenaries, workshops and networking opportunities. Topics covered have included political economy, international development co-operation, and US-China relations.

The 2018 conference in Edinburgh incorporated cultural performances from Korea and Scotland, an exhibition of new art inspired by the conference theme, a film screening, and a guest lecture with the Asia Scotland Institute on Digital Disruption.

Please note that speaker titles and universities, as listed, date from the time of the event and may have changed. 

Dates Theme Venue Keynote speakers and discussants
16 May 2024 Advancing the ROK-UK Global Strategic Partnership Yun Posen Residence, Seoul Dr Youngmi Kim (University of Edinburgh); Jessica Cope ( Head of Science, Innovation and Health, UK Embassy to Korea); Professor Ihn-hwi Park (Ewha Womans University); Professor Wontaek Kang (Seoul National University); Emeritus Professor Chan Wook Park (Seoul National University)
2 and 3 November 2021 A New Agenda for South Korea-UK Cooperation in the COVID19 Era Online (Zoom; YouTube) Tae-sik Lee (Former Ambassador to UK and US); Dr Youngmi Kim (University of Edinburgh); Professor Chan Wook Park (Seoul National University); Professor Ihn-hwi Park (Ewha Womans University)
17 October 2019 A New Partnership between ROK and UK in the 21st Century Seoul  
8 and 9 October 2018 Inequality in Global Cities, Seoul in Comparative Perspective Playfair Library, University of Edinburgh  

More conferences and symposia

An aeriel view of the city of Seoul with Bukhan Mountain in the background and title of conference overlaid

Dates: 19 and 20 June 2023

Venues:  Playfair Library and 50 George Square (19 June), 50 George Square (20 June)

Organiser: Korean Studies at the University of Edinburgh as part of the Academy of Korean Studies CORE project

Keynote speakers: Professor Olga Fedorenko (Seoul National University) and Raphael Rashid (Seoul-based journalist, formerly of SOAS and Korea University in Korean Studies)

In brief: A two-day, in-person conference examining the lives of young people in Korea and the space they occupy in the culture. It provided opportunities to encounter and connect with researchers at a range of career stages, including PhD and graduate students, emerging and post-doctoral scholars, and established academics. There were seven panel discussions, a range of distinguished guests and speakers, and two keynote speeches.

Find out more and read the full programme

Lectures, talks, discussions and readings

a pale pink background with a red silhouetted skyline on top, event title overlaid, and book cover on the right

Date: 17 April 2024

Venue: 50 George Square

Speaker: Dr Christopher Perkins (Asian Studies, University of Edinburgh)

In brief: A conversation with Dr Christopher Perkins following his recent publication, 'The Tokyo University Trial and the Struggle Against Order in Postwar Japan'. Dr Perkins discussed the remarkable trial of over 600 students arrested at the University of Tokyo in 1969, and how it raised troubling questions about the legitimacy of the Japanese courts themselves.

Film screenings and festivals

A string of paper lanterns in focus across a city street with 'Japanese Film Festival' overlaid

Dates: 9 to 24 February 2023

Venue: 50 George Square

Organisers: Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh and the Japanese Studies department at the University of Edinburgh

In brief: Free screenings of contemporary Japanese film, accompanied by short explanatory talks from a series of relevant speakers, including staff and students from our Japanese department.

  • Little Lights, Little Love アイネクライネナハトムジー (Rikiya Imaizumi, 2019)
  • Key of Life 鍵泥棒のメソッド (Kenji Uchida, 2012)
  • Neko Ninja 猫忍者 (Takeshi Watanabe, 2017)

Explore the full festival programme

Exhibitions, workshops and performances

A soft red fabric background with event text and image of a microphone overlaid

Date: 16 August 2023

Venue: 50 George Square

As part of: Edinburgh Festival Fringe

In brief: A unique, cultural afternoon that included:

  • A Japanese flower arrangement (Ikebana) demonstration from award-winning Ikebana artist, Deborah Hathorn
  • A Japanese tea ceremony (Sadō/Chadō) demonstration from teacher and master of Japanese Tea Ceremonies, Mio Shudo. It was also accompanied by a performance of shamisen music.
  • A Japanese performer's reception & showcase event from seven different Japanese Fringe performers across a range of mediums, including comedy, circus, art and theatre. Sake, soft drinks and Japanese snacks were provided.