Vivien Chan

I am a design historian, researcher, writer, and imagemaker based in the UK.I research design history and material culture in Hong Kong with a broad interest in design in Asia, space, materiality, fashion, visual culture, gender and sexuality, and the everyday. I teach design research at Nottingham Trent University and have guest lectured at the Royal College of Art and Kingston School of Art.

You can find me on the internet
or you can email me at vc[at]

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Some projects I work on with friends: Hong Kong Design History Network
Design Archives in Asia (Archiving Archiving)
Tools for rebuilding
open design directory
iris Nottingham

Some articles I’ve written:
‘Markets made modular:constructing the modern ‘wet’ market in Hong Kong’s public housing estates’, Urban History, April 2022

Geofictions: Work in Progress
ed. Zara Arshad, February 2021 Interviewing Alvin Li and Junyuan Feng, curators of Liquid Ground

Design History Society, December 2018, Design and Displacement (1)

--, June 2018, Hearing Design History

--, November 2017, Making and Unmaking the Environment (3)

--, August 2017, Thoughts on Three Czech Modernist Villas

daikon* Winter 2018, Issue 4, Across the table: researching identity through food

Riposte (online) 2018, XING: An Interview with Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee

Design China, May 2016, More on China Design Centre

You can hear me speak on these podcasts: Reverberations by Zara Arshad

Women read
Recent talks I’ve given:'Making the modern wet market in Hong Kong’s New Towns Public Housing Estates:order consumption and the materiality of ‘wetness’’, Oxford University Hong Kong Scholars Association, November 2021

‘Reconstructing Design Archives: Tracing Alternative Narratives of Design History',Memory Full, Design History Society Annual Conference, Academy of Art and Design Basel, September 2021 (panel co-convenor)

'Propaganda and the art of Labour in Hong Kong Protest', Media and Hong Kong Protests, Queen Mary University of London, December 2019 (panellist)

'Traversing Boundaries: Spatial and Material Narratives of Twentieth-century Hong Kong', Joint East Asian Studies Conference, University of Edinburgh, September 2019 (panel convenor)

International History of East Asia Seminar Oxford, Trinity Term, June 2019

All Roads Lead to Hong Kong, Hong Kong History Project/HKU Conference, HKU, June 2019

Interdisciplinary Lunchtime Seminar Series, Hong Kong Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, May 2019

Design and Displacement, Design History Society Annual Conference,
Cooper Hewitt/Parsons New York, September 2018

Scripts, print and letterform in global contexts, Centre for Print History and Culture, Birmingham City University, June 2018