Julian Ward

Senior Lecturer in Chinese


Dr Julian Ward is a senior lecturer in Chinese. He has a long history here at the University of Edinburgh, having achieved a first-class MA here in Chinese in 1990 and a PhD in 1997. He was appointed as a lecturer in 1998 and achieved senior lecturer status in 2009. Aside from his work as a researcher, Dr Ward is noted for his teaching work. He regularly works with students in postgraduate film studies as well as in his core specialism in Chinese literature and film. His skill as a tutor was recognised with a teaching award as a postgraduate in 1994, and he has regularly been nominated for the EUSA Teaching Awards since their inception. He was associate editor of the Journal of Chinese Cinema from its inception in 2006 to 2016, and co-editor of The Chinese Cinema Book, published in 2011. A second edition of The Chinese Cinema Book will be published in 2020. He served as Senior Tutor for the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures from 2008 to 2014.

Undergraduate teaching

Currently teaching courses on both traditional literature, including Tang and Song poetry and Ming vernacular fiction, and modern poetry and literature.

Research summary

Dr Ward researches mainly in the field of Chinese Cinema and has been involved in several knowledge exchange projects and media events through this work. He also works in classical Chinese literature, with a specialism in the travel and geographical writer Xu Xiake. He was invited to Bejing to give a paper on the 420th anniversary of Xu Xiake’s death in 2007.

Dr Ward co-edited The Chinese Cinema Book with Song Hwee Lim. This is a British Film Institute book published by Palgrave Macmillan in May 2011.

Knowledge exchange

Dr Ward was an active participant in the Cinema China festival in 2007, giving lectures on Xie Fei, one of the directors who attended the event, and Chinese Communist Films About the Sino-Japanese War.

He presented seasons of Chinese films for the Edinburgh Film Guild in 2010 and 2011, gave lectures to the general public at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh and Glasgow Caledonian University both in 2008, and the Scotland China Association in 2012, and was interviewed on BBC Radio Five Live in February 2013 about Sino-Japanese relations. He introduced two films in the season of works by the Chinese director/actor Jiang Wen that was shown at the Edinburgh Filmhouse in Spring 2019. 

View all 11 publications on Research Explorer

  • “Yundong lo! The varying visions of Hibiscus Town” Keynote Address for The Cultural Revolution Today: Literature, Film, and Cultural Debates at The University of Hong Kong 2 June 2016
  • “A vision of the world as seen in a Qing Dynasty Map stored in the National Archives of Scotland” Annual Conference of the British Association for Chinese Studies University of Leeds 2 September 2015
  • “Late Ming journeys to China’s Sacred Mountains’ part of Ming: The Golden Empire held at National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh 4 October 2014
  • “We would be wise to understand them a little better than we do now”: A Scottish cameraman’s 1971 trip to China” Keynote Lecture for World Documentary Film & TV Conference Falmouth University 6 September 2014
  • “A Window into a closed off world: an examination of documentary footage of China shot by Lewis McLeod in 1971” 11th ACSS/Post-Asia Conference University of Macau 14 July 2014
  •  “A New Nation, A New Cinema: Chinese Cinema Under Mao” at British Film Institute Southbank as part of the BFI Century of Chinese Cinema season 10 June 2014
  • 'A Brief History of Humour (and Gloom) in Chinese Cinema', Scotland China Association, Edinburgh, 14 February 2012.
  • 'Memories of a More Innocent Age: The Nostalgic Style of Zhang Yimou’s Under the Hawthorn Tree', University of Glasgow, 28 January 2012.
  • "Michelangelo Antonioni’s Chung-kuo (China) and its reception in China and Europe", University of Aberdeen, Chinese Studies Group, 13 December 2011.
  • "The History of the August First Film Studio: From Socialist Realism to Main Melodies". Studies in Chinese Cinema, University of Edinburgh, 2 July 2011. Also at BACS, Edinburgh 7-9 September 2011.