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Summer 2023 Reflections: Mingkang Hao

by Mingkang Hao ('24 EAS-MA candidate)

The long summer vacation was both busy and memorable for me. I traveled to various cities, including Tianjin, Hangzhou, Zhengzhou, Suzhou, and Shanghai, from mid-May to June. After my first round of archival searching, I spent six weeks in Taiwan for both an interdisciplinary summer school and a second round of research. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to conduct research in various cities, spanning from mainland China to Taiwan.

What makes me feel truly privileged is the ability to sense the unique vibes of each city during my trip. I had the chance to immerse myself in their rich history by visiting museums and connect with people, gaining insights into their powerful ideas and life stories through conversations and interactions. While I have many pictures I would love to share; due to limited space, I'll select a few that showcase my research journey, daily observations, and overall experiences.

preserved portion of a newspaper, framed and displayed on a wall with a descriptive caption (in Chinese)
Photo of newspaper excerpt at the Shewo Institute, Taipei photo credit: Mingkang Hao

Many thanks for the APSI Summer Research Funding and providing chance to apply for the Summer School at National Tsinghua University! Making full use of the summer to expand myself to more interdisciplinary academic fields and theories, as well as finding more supportive primary and secondary historical materials, is always my goal. Therefore, the time I spent in different archives, research institutes, and summer courses means a great deal to me.

The fabulous summer research trip not only assist me to finding supportive resources for my ongoing research project but also expose me to a number of interesting but unnoticed materials. What I collected in the summer research trip inspires me to propose a new research project, which I am planning to explore more in-depth in my second year at APSI.

The following photos were taken at the National Taiwan Museum (Taipei, Taiwan) and the National Museum of Taiwan Literature (Tainan, Taiwan) (from top to bottom):

informative placard in a museum
Insightful Exhibitions centering on Electricity and Environment, National Taiwan Museum photo credit: Mingkang Hao
informative placard in a museum
Exhibition on Illness and Literature in Taiwan, National Museum of Taiwan Literature photo credit: Mingkang Hao

My summer journey primarily consisted of visits to various museums (I'm a museum person who also enjoys travel alone to somewhere with good AC). I must admit that my visits to museums in Suzhou and Taiwan were incredibly educational. It became evident to me that there are numerous fascinating and creative methods for curating exhibitions instead of simply arranging items chronologically or historically.

The curation process is inherently interdisciplinary, serving as a means to convey the curators' ideas and intentions while also bridging the gap between the audience, curators, and the items on display. During my six weeks in Taipei, my landlord happened to be a curator with a passion for introducing more people to the beauty and culture of Taiwan. Several conversations that I had with her were totally enlightening, further enriching my understanding of curation and museum studies.