Art History in Action: The Challenge of Teaching a Humanities Degree

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Recipient of 2021 UGC Teaching Award (General Faculty Members)

Dr KOON Yee Wan

Associate Professor
Chair of Department of Art History, School of Humanities, Faculty of Arts
The University of Hong Kong

Dr Koon Yee Wan is the recipient of several research awards, including a Fulbright Senior Fellowship, American Council of Learned Scholars, and visiting scholarships at Cambridge University and Columbia University. She actively involves Hong Kong and the International art community. In 2018,

Dr KOON Yee Wan

Dr Koon was one of the selected curators for the 12th Gwangju Biennale. She curated the exhibition “So long, thanks again for the fish!” as part of the Inspired Programme of the inaugural Helsinki Biennale in Finland. Her published works include Nara Yoshitomo (2020), A Chinese Canton? Painting the Local in Export Art (2019) and A Defiant Brush: Su Renshan and the Politics of Painting in 19th Century Guangdong (2014).

In addition, Dr Koon is highly respected in the arts community and is a devoted and distinctive educator in art history. In 2013 she received the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award (HKU) and Outstanding Teaching Award (HKU) in 2020. Forthputting, her network of arts locally and globally enhances her students learning experience and take them into the living world of art and artist. Now Dr Koon is an associate professor and Chair of the Department of Art History at the University of Hong Kong.


For those of us who teach in the Humanities, we are often asked what are the values – usefulness – of a degree in art history or philosophy or literature. To a certain degree, we all know how an arts education can enrich appreciation and empathy towards diversity and differences. But how do we teach that? How can we, as teachers, show our students to appreciate how their learning can contribute to society in ways that are organic to their own journey of fulfilling their curiosity of the world.

This presentation is an opportunity to share some of my teaching practices from object-based learning to flipped classroom instructions. It is not intended as a template for best practices but rather examples of how I have adapted my teaching that takes into account the changes in needs and demands of education in my past sixteen years at The University of Hong Kong. In particular, I will show how I integrate classroom learning with cultural practices through examples of projects used in both large-scale classes and workshops, with reflections of the impact of these methods.


Dr Cecilia Chan

Associate Professor
Associate Director of Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL)
The University of Hong Kong


This event is co-organized by HKTEA and Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL), The University of Hong Kong.