The British Empire and the Chinese Diaspora

composite of speakers and old photographs of their relatives
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  • From £2.50 – £5 Members’ priority booking opens 31 January, general sale 1 February

How colonial ambitions lead to Chinese diasporas in Britain and abroad.

This is an online only event hosted on the British Library platform. Bookers will be sent a viewing link shortly before the event and will be able to watch at any time for 48 hours after the start time. 

This event will be live captioned.

Communities of Chinese people and their descendants can be found all over the world. In some cases this diaspora is a direct result of British imperial activity and colonisation. 

Exhibition curator, Lucienne Loh, talks to poet Hannah Lowe, filmmaker Wenlan Peng, and campaigner Yvonne Foley, about their family connections to China.  Through these personal stories, via the Caribbean, India and Liverpool, we learn how British global expansionist ambitions has impacted their family history.

Yvonne Foley is the daughter of a Chinese Seaman and an English Mother.  She and her husband Charles have researched the story of the Chinese Seamen, like her father, who were forced to leave Britain after WWII.   It has been a journey that has taken them some twenty years. It still continues.

Hannah Lowe is a poet, memoirist and academic. Her latest book, The Kids, won the Costa Poetry Award and the Costa Book of the Year, 2021. Her first poetry collection, Chick, won the Michael Murphy Memorial Award for Best First Collection. Her family memoir, Long Time, No See, featured as Radio 4’s Book of the Week. She is a Reader in Creative Writing at Brunel University.

Wenlan Peng was born in Calcutta, India, which had a large and thriving Chinese community by the middle of the 20th century, but along with many others, her family was forced to leave as a result of the Sino-Indian border disputes of the 1960s. She now lives in London and works as a documentary filmmaker. An oral history film she made for The Meridian Society entitled The Chinese from Bengal documents the life and work of the community in its heyday and the trauma of their subsequent persecution.

Dr Lucienne Loh (chair) is Reader in English Literature at the University of Liverpool. She is co-curator, with Dr Alex Tickell, of the exhibition, Chinese & British. With Alex, she is co-founder and co-director of the British Chinese Studies Network. She works closely with the Liverpool Chinese community and is particularly interested in oral history projects by Chinese community groups from across the country.

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Name: The British Empire and the Chinese Diaspora
Where: Online
When: -
Price: From £2.50 – £5
Members’ priority booking opens 31 January, general sale 1 February
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
Book now

* Please note that there is a £1.50 transaction fee when tickets are posted, or for telephone sales when an e-ticket is requested.