Anna Wu

PhD Work

Chinese Wallpaper, Global Histories and Material Culture

Anna is currently working towards a PhD on the V&A/RCA History of Design programme, supported by an AHRC studentship. Her research focuses on Chinese wallpapers of the type exported to Europe from the late seventeenth century onwards and traces their development, global influence and enduring appeal through several cases studies. Made by Chinese craftsmen ostensibly for European and American markets Chinese wallpapers reflect multiple cultural traditions, influences and aesthetic preferences and provide unique insight into the mechanisms of global cultural exchange from the early modern period to the present day.

Info

  • Anna Wu
  • PhD

    School

    School of Arts & Humanities

    Programme

    History of Design, 2012–2018

  • Anna is currently working towards a PhD on the V&A/RCA History of Design programme, supported by an AHRC studentship. Her research focuses on Chinese wallpapers of the type exported to Europe from the late seventeenth century onwards and traces their development, global influence and enduring appeal through several cases studies. Made by Chinese craftsmen ostensibly for European and American markets Chinese wallpapers reflect multiple cultural traditions, influences and aesthetic preferences and provide unique insight into the mechanisms of global cultural exchange from the early modern period to the present day. 

    Before embarking on her PhD Anna worked as Assistant Curator for the Chinese collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum (2007-2012), where she worked on a wide variety of projects, including the complete refurbishment and re-display of the ceramics galleries, refurbishment of the China gallery and re-display of the Korea gallery. Anna has curated permanent displays for the V&A’s China gallery and ceramics galleries as well as several temporary exhibitions and displays including, Chiang Yee: The Silent Traveller (2012) and Ai Weiwei: Dropping the Urn (2011–2012). In 2012 Anna was seconded to the V&A’s exhibitions department to work on the major exhibition David Bowie is

    Anna holds degrees from the University of Cambridge (M.Phil) and the University of St Andrews (MA Hons) as well as a post graduate diploma in Asian Art (British Museum/Royal Holloway).

  • Degrees

  • MPhil Chinese Studies, University of Cambridge, 2005; MA (Joint Honours) English Literature and Philosophy, University of St Andrews, 2002; Post Graduate Diploma in Asian Art, British Museum/Royal Holloway, 2006
  • Experience

  • Assistant Curator, Chinese Collections, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2007–12; Junior Specialist, Asian Art, Christie's, London, 2007
  • Exhibitions

  • The Silent Traveller: Chiang Yee in Britain, 1933–1955, Tsui Gallery of Chinese Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2012; With Glenn Adamson, Richard Torchia and Gregg Moore, Ai Weiwei: Dropping and Urn, Ceramics Galleries, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2012
  • Awards

  • Design History Society Travel Grant, 2014; Gardner Travel Award, 2014; Design History Society Travel Grant, 2016; Royal Historical Society Research Award, 2016
  • Conferences

  • The Chinese Wallpapers at Coutts & Co., London: Mobilising Images of Chinese Life and Industry’, Chinese Wallpapers: Trade, technique and Taste, Coutts & Co. and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 7th-8th April, 2016; Chinese Painted Wallpaper: The Life-cycle of a Global Aesthetic, Global Commodities: The Material Culture of Early Modern Connections, 1400-1800, Global History and Culture Centre, University of Warwick, 12–14 December, 2012; Chiang Yee in Britain, 1933–1955, Oriental Ceramic Society Emerging Scholars Conference, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 11 May 2011; With Mary Redfern, Making Ceramics: The New Ceramics Galleries at The Victoria and Albert Museum, Museum Ethnographers Group Annual Conference, Museum of Rural Life, Reading, 12–13 April 2010
  • Publications

  • Chinese wallpaper: A Cultural Chameleon, The Wallpaper History Review, 2015, pp. 39-48; The Silent Traveller: Chiang Yes in Britain, 1933–1955, V&A Online Journal, 4, Summer, 2012; Jingdezhen Today, Arts of Asia, 41(6), 2011; Book Review: British Museum Book of Chinese Art, Revised Edition (2007), Journal of Museum Ethnography, 21, pp 292–294, 2009