“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Chiang Yee Blue Plaque Unveiling & Symposium – June 29 2019 – Oxford

Posted: May 7th, 2019 | No Comments »

A few years ago Anne Witchard at University of Westminster told me that she had read an article on the BBC website that the people who do the Blue Plaques thought there were not enough in the UK to black and Asian people. Indeed, there are only two (to our knowledge) to Chinese people – the one to Dr Sun Yat-sen in Cottered, Hertfordshire, and one to Lao She in Bayswater. So we contacted the Oxford Blue Plaques Committee and suggested Chiang Yee – and now he’s getting one…as Anne Witchard has organised a symposium on the same day…

‘The Silent Traveller: Chiang Yee in Britain 1933-55’

Saturday 29th June 2019

Time: 10.00 am – 16.00 pm

Headley Lecture Theatre, Ashmolean Museum

Open to the public and free of charge but booking essential

You are cordially invited to attend a symposium at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, to celebrate the awarding of a Blue Plaque to Chinese artist Chiang Yee (1903-1977) author of the Silent Traveller series, much loved for its Chinese perspective on Britain’s landscapes and people.

Chiang Yee lived for fifteen years in Southmoor Road, Oxford, after his London home was destroyed in the Blitz.  We will be joined by Chiang Yee’s biographer Da Zheng, author of The Silent Traveller from the East, Paul French author of Midnight in Peking, acclaimed historian Frances Wood, and other China experts to discussthe surprisingly eventful life behind the modest persona of the self-styled Silent Traveller.

Booking Essential for purposes of catering



10.00 registration

10.20 Welcome Paul Bevan (Ashmolean Museum) and Anne Witchard (University of Westminster) 

10.30 Da Zheng ‘The Silent Traveller at Home’

11.15 coffee

11.30 Paul Bevan ‘Chiang Yee in Hampstead’

12.00 Paul French ‘Chiang Yee’s War Effort’

12.30 Tessa Thorniley ‘Chiang Yee and Children’s Books’

13.00 complimentary lunch provided (hence booking essential!)

13.45 Anne Witchard ‘Chiang Yee and English ballet’

14.15 Diana Yeh ‘Chiang Yee and Oxford friendships – the Hsiungs’

14.45 Frances Wood ‘Chiang Yee, a lonely Chinese Intellectual in 1930s Britain’

15.15 Sarah Cheang ‘Chiang Yee, Race and Story-Telling’

15.45 summary discussion/questions

16.00 Closing words from Professor Robert Evans and walk to plaque unveiling

contact A.Witchard@westminster.ac.uk

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