UNSW is dedicated to establishing lasting and mutually beneficial connections between China, Australia and the rest of the world, spanning culture, research and education.

Photo of the Judith Neilson Chair of Contemporary Art UNSW team

PhD research opportunities

We welcome aspiring scholars to join the Judith Neilson Chair and our esteemed domestic and international network for a transformative academic experience that empowers you to make a meaningful impact in the field of contemporary art studies. Whether you're pursuing doctoral research or undergraduate studies, our vibrant community offers a conducive environment for learning and personal development. 

Current PhD students

Jianxiong Jing

A Multi-modal Analysis of the Interrelated Technical, Sociopolitical and Artistic/aesthetic Cultural Significances of Ancient Chinese Maps and their Relevance to Contemporary “Post-West” Cartography. Recipient of a UNSW international Postgraduate Award. Co-supervised with Dr. Marnie Feneley, ADA Humanities and Dr. Ian McArthur, ADA Art and Design.

T3 2021 – continuing
Lin Zhou

Semiotics and Contemporary Chinese Peasant Painting: Recontextualising Traditional Folk Crafts. Recipient of a UNSW International Postgraduate Award and an Edmund and Joanna Capon Endowed HDR Scholarship ($10,000 p/a for up to 3.5 years). Co-supervised with Dr. Ian McArthur, ADA Art and Design. 

T1 2023 – continuing
Xie Tian

Chinese Shadow Puppetry of Red. Co-supervised with Dr. Ian McArthur, ADA Art and Design. 

T2 2023 – continuing
Nan Li

International PhD. exchange student based at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU). China Scholarship Council award, 11 September 2023-11 September 2024. Research focused on 20th- and 21st-century overseas critical writing on Chinese art – including the work of Paul Gladston.

Visiting PhD student

Former PhD students

Dr. Luise Guest

(In)Visible Ink: gender and national identity in the work of four contemporary Chinese artists. Degree awarded with minor revisions. ADA Dean’s Award. Co-supervised with Dr. Scott East, ADA Art and Design.

Completed 2022

What our PhD students say

"I remember Dr Marnie Feneley driving me to the National Library of Australia for a field survey of maps. Under her guidance and leadership, I realized that researchers' personal contact with primary materials can bring about many changes in concepts and awareness … … Dr Ian McArthur was very meticulous in helping me solve numerous problems. From his rigorous approach, I learned the academic attitude that a scholar should have."

– Jianxiong Jing

"What I enjoy most during my PhD candidature is the engaging discussions with my supervisors (Professor Paul Gladston and Dr Ian McArthur) about my research topics… … It brings me great joy when we share similar understanding and insights. Conversely, when they offer different perspectives, I find it deeply enlightening. Such exchanges prompt me to reflect and encourage me to approach my research with a broader and more inclusive mindset."

– Lin Zhou

"I highly recommend that future exchange PhD students who are dedicated to Chinese contemporary art, Chinese art history, or cultural studies actively engage with Professor Paul Gladston. Paul is a knowledgeable, kind and supportive professor who is very patient with young scholars."

– Nan Li

100% satisfaction
2022 and 2023.

Undergraduate program

Convened by UNSW Judith Neilson Post-doctoral Fellow in Contemporary Art Dr Minerva Inwald

DART2311: East Asian Contemporary Art

The program offers a critical exploration of contemporary art originating from East Asia, with a specific focus on mainland China, Japan, and South Korea, spanning from the mid-twentieth century to the present day. It delves into the dynamic interplay between local and Western cultural influences, fostering an understanding of the historical, cultural, political, and social factors that have shaped East Asian contemporary art. Additionally, it examines how artists draw upon East Asian artistic traditions in their work, prompting students to reflect critically on concepts such as 'tradition,' 'modernity,' and 'contemporaneity' in contemporary art discussions. The course also delves into the discourse, theory, and presentation of contemporary East Asian art in various local and international contexts, encouraging students to provide multiple critical perspectives on contemporary artistic theory and practice.

What our undergraduate students say

“One of the best courses I have taken throughout my humanities degree in UNSW”

– myExperience student survey response, 2023

“I really enjoyed this course. I thought the…content was really fascinating and structured well. Each week had a specific focus but still felt part of a broader, continuous discussion and there are many ideas raised in the course that I would love to return to if given the opportunity in other courses or outside of university.”

– myExperience student survey response, 2022

“I 100% guarantee my writing improved because of this course.”

– myExperience student survey response, 2022