CHAT Research Grant
CHAT Research Grant aims to encourage researchers from around the globe to inject new perspectives into the studies of textile manufacturing histories of Hong Kong and beyond.
The successful applications of the grant will produce a research paper on subjects related to Hong Kong’s textile industry. CHAT welcomes transregional perspectives and cross-disciplinary approaches that highlight under-discussed narratives in Hong Kong’s textile industrial history.
For the year 2021, we are pleased to announce that Johanna von Pezold is the recipient of the CHAT 2021 Research Grant, whose research proposal sheds new lights on the transnational textile production by Hong Kong’s textile factory in Africa.
Executive Director and Chief Curator Comment
‘I am very pleased by the quality of the applications we received although it made the jurors’ decisions difficult. It was a pleasant surprise to see how most of the proposed research topics are highly relevant to Hong Kong’s industrial textile history, highlighting the fact that Hong Kong’s textile industrial past is an undiscovered gold mine of rich narratives. Among the applicants, Ms von Pezold’s proposal is strongly appealing as it aims to examine transnational textile production by Hong Kong’s textile factory in Africa. While studies have been made about Chinese-made African textiles, her research will usher in a fresh view in addition to existing scholarship on this topic by comparing and contrasting the production strategies between Hong Kong and Chinese factories.’
CHAT is happy to present the following comments regarding the award from our esteemed jurors, Janis Jefferies, Emeritus Professor of Visual Arts at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK; Edith Cheung, CHAT Advisory Panel and Textile Catalyst of The Costume Squad Ltd, Hong Kong; and journalist and writer Christopher DeWolf.
‘We are pleased to award the CHAT 2021 Research Grant to Johanna von Pezold, whose outstanding presentation exploring the cultural and economic links between Africa and Asia is a refreshing take on the Hong Kong textile industrial narrative, effectively expanding our views on the influence and global reach of the Hong Kong textile industry. The clarity with which she explained her goals, as well as the way she plans to incorporate this new research into the work she is already undertaking, differentiates her proposal from the strong submissions received. The scope of this successful research submission gave every indication that the first award holder would make an imaginative and unique contribution to CHAT’s standing within Hong Kong and internationally and will provide important insights for CHAT, the academic community and the general Hong Kong public.’
About the Recipient
Johanna von Pezold is a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Hong Kong, where she is researching the trade and consumption of Chinese-made fashion products in Mozambique. Originally from Germany, Johanna obtained an MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford. She has worked for different think tanks and management consulting firms in Hamburg, Rio de Janeiro and Beijing.
Johanna is especially interested in China-Africa relations, transnational flows of non-Western fashion and material culture, and interactions between global commodity production and local consumer cultures. She is a Hong Kong PhD Fellowship holder and a member of the Global Shapers Community, an initiative by the World Economic Forum. During the pandemic, she has started raising chickens.
‘I am overjoyed to have been awarded the CHAT 2021 Research Grant and feel very honoured.
My project will be about the Hong Kong textile industry’s long-standing connection to West Africa, an aspect of the history of China-Africa relations and Hong Kong few people know about. Through this research, I hope to initiate a dialogue about the globally-minded and progressive legacy of the Hong Kong textile industry and what this means for its identity and potential today.
While usually working on clothes and fabrics on the African continent that have been produced in mainland China, this project shifts my focus to Hong Kong, where I have been living since 2018.
I am really looking forward to embarking on this exciting journey together with CHAT!’
Image courtesy: Johanna von Pezold