Upgrade Yourself Interaction & Play with Hong Kong Design History Network
Online Event

Upgrade Yourself: Process | Interaction & Play with Hong Kong Design History Network

Thu 03 Jun 2021
13.00 - 14.30

We're joined by members of the Hong Kong Design History Network (HKDHNet), who are representing the Hong Kong Pavilion at this year's London Design Biennale, presented at Somerset House, with their interactive installation Sandtable, available to access both in person and online.

In this 90-min workshop, HKDHNet members Janice Li, Juliana Kei, Mina Song and Sunnie Chan will share their individual career routes working within design research, curation, academia, and public institutions. The team will share how HKDHNetwork formed, the importance of collaboration and their focus on the design histories and material culture of Hong Kong.

Janice, Juliana, Mina and Sunnie will take us though a virtual play session with their interactive site, Sandtable, which uses the basis of storytelling to reconstruct the resonance experienced from Hong Kong. Captured in sand, visitors’ written strokes will be projected in the installation, forming an archive of resonance on site and online.

In this session, Janice, Juliana, Mina and Sunnie will be covering topics around:

  • Their individual journeys into the arts, and creative industries, through design research, and curation.
  • Collective thinking and how to build an international network.
  • The collaborative process of developing Sandtable from conception to realisation, and the importance of narratives and storytelling.
  • A virtual walk through the online Hong Kong Pavilion, and a chance for you to play through the chatroom facility.

London Design Biennale is a global gathering of the world’s most ambitious and imaginative designers, curators, and design institutes. Es Devlin is Artistic Director and has chosen Resonance as the theme, which countries, cities, and territories will respond to in their installations and presentations across Somerset House.

About the Speakers

Janice Li is a London-based curator and researcher interested in design and fashion as agents of change, particularly in the crossing over of art/design and science, as well as their relations with inclusivity and sustainability. She also engages in projects concerning identity (gender, body and ethnic) and decolonisation. Janice is now Assistant Curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum, developing its V&A East project, and has previously worked on the exhibition Fashioned from Nature (2018-2019) and catalogued the incoming Royal Photographic Society collection. She is also a founding member of the Museum’s Global Narratives Network. An alumna of the RCA, she has curated design exhibitions and commissioned design projects internationally, for instance, at Venice Design (2019), Salone del Mobile, Milan (2019), MoMA Biodesign (2017), Vienna Design Week (2017), Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (2018), Werkraum Bregenzerwald (2018), Gwangju Design Biennale (2019).


Juliana Kei is a Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Liverpool. Her current research investigates how the environmental movement shaped discourses in architectural preservation. Her PhD investigates the parallels in preservation movement and Postmodern architecture through the works of Theo Crosby (1925-1994), the founder of Pentagram design. Previously she trained as an architect and has worked as a strategic planner and architectural designer in London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, and Shenzhen. She was also a design fellow at Urbanus (Hong Kong/ Shenzhen) from 2011 – 2015 and was an assistant curator of Hong Kong/Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism (2011).

Mina Song is a Korean living and working in Hong Kong for over two decades. She has a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from Seoul National University, and two master’s Degrees from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Design) and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Cultural Management). While educated and trained as a designer, a chance meeting led to working at the Hong Kong Arts Centre in 2006. Since then, she has been working as an arts administrator mainly working on large and medium sized public arts projects. Her works include Budding Winter (2009 – 10), Made in Wetland (2010), ArtAlive@Park (2010 – 11), Art Government Buildings (2012-13 and 2013-14) and ARTivating Public Buildings (2015). In 2017, Song was a Design Trust/ Royal College of Art research fellow in Design Curation, concluding with curating site-specific exhibition White [City] Cube.

Sunnie Chan is currently the Associate Curator of Exhibition at CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile) in Hong Kong. She holds degrees from the University of Essex majoring in History of Art & Film Studies, and the Hong Kong Baptist University in MA Communication. Between 2010 and 2019, Chan worked as an independent curator/ researcher and with Gallery 27, a private design gallery in Hong Kong, took part in projects including “M+ Mobile: Yaumatei” (2012), “Sori Yanagi: The Designer’s Heart” (2015), “Hong Kong Department Store” (2016), “Very Hong Kong Very Hong Kong” (2017) and “Hello! Ikko Tanaka” (2019).Previously a Research Associate for M+ museum on Hong Kong graphic design and the museum’s opening display, she was selected to the Design Trust/ Royal College of Art research fellowship in Design Curation in 2018, with a research interest in emerging practices of design curating and its contribution to cultural learning.


About HKDHNet

HKDHNet is founded by a group of alumni of the V&A / RCA History of Design programme, and RCA / Design Trust Fellows in Design Curation.

Connected by personal and scholarly ties to Hong Kong, we come from various fields within art, design, academia, and museums. We are currently based in the UK and Hong Kong.

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Upgrade Yourself: Process

We bring participants together in small groups to meet innovative creative industry thinkers and doers (either individuals, collectives, or organisations). We encourage everyone in the room to contribute to the session, allowing for deeper engagement, which could be conversational, bitesize prototyping and/or creative play, alongside a Somerset House Producer.

Led by members of the Somerset House creative community and external partners, these digital sessions primarily aimed at people aged 18-25 are for those looking for access routes into the Creative Industries and the Cultural Sector.