Artist in Residence: Made in Chinatown – A Creative Response to the Impact of COVID-19 Racism on Chinatown



China Exchange is delighted to announce an open call for one artist to join our Made in Chinatown project with a focus on the impact of COVID-19 racism on London’s Chinatown through art.

In 2020 Spring, China Exchange launched Made in Chinatown, a project to bring together artists, community members and volunteers and create unique products rooted in the heritage of London’s Chinatown. The 2020 project supported two artist residencies in spite of the challenges presented by the pandemic. International artists, Pui Lee and Ekta Kaul, explored the heritage of this area with community members and volunteers through an interactive process of meaning and memory-making at the workshops. Pui and Ekta transformed these stories into artistic outcomes and developed both small batch produced and handmade Made in Chinatown souvenirs rooted in the history of the neighbourhood. These products are sold to support future heritage and community projects in Chinatown. You can see our online shop here. Products are also stocked in the Chinatown flagship branch of SeeWoo and in the Guanghwa Bookshop.

Built on the success of the 2020 project, we’d like to offer a further artist residency in 2021 exploring and addressing the impact of covid-19 racism on London’s Chinatown through a special range of Made in Chinatown products. London’s Chinatown has been a focal point for prejudice and racism with a dramatic decline in footfall since the first reports of a viral outbreak in Wuhan. Hate crimes against East Asian and Southeast Asian people have increased by 300% and hate speech online by 900%. A counter narrative is necessary to rebuild the area’s public face and pride, and to communicate this beyond boundaries.

Artist Residency: The artist should be resident for 7-10 days between March-August 2021 for artist research and development work. Specific dates will be agreed between the artist and China Exchange. The artist is required to attend several community workshops about the impact of COVID-19 racism on London’s Chinatown during the artist residency (dates TBC ). These may be delivered online if physical events remain outside Government guidelines. The artist will plan and deliver one creative workshop for community members to join.

Outcomes of the Residency: A visual design or a series of visual designs that insightfully and creatively address and combat COVID-19 related racism in the context of London’s Chinatown. The design(s) should be suitable for applying into small batch produced  items, for example homeware, stationery products and art prints.

What we are looking for:

  • This opportunity is open to artists of East Asian or Southeast Asian backgrounds with the right to work in the UK
  • We are looking for an artist with an established, engaging and accessible visual arts practice, that has the ability to engage with community members
  • Someone who has experience in producing art inspired gifts for sale
  • Someone who is interested in the history and culture of London’s Chinatown, the impact of COVID-19 racism on Chinatown  and is willing to build a relationship with the communities
  • Someone with demonstrable experience of the cultural and/or linguistic needs of London Chinatown

 What we can offer

  • An opportunity for an artist to be embedded in London Chinatown, exploring its rich history and learning its challenges, particularly, the impact of COVID-19 racism
  • An opportunity to engage with the Chinatown communities including local business owners and workers, community organisations and the people who are strongly connected to this neighbourhood through workshops
  • Tours of the neighbourhood, significant places, landmarks and oral history stories
  • Insight from the China Exchange team about the different aspects of Chinatown’s identity and the challenges the area faces
  • Working space at China Exchange during the residency period (subject to China Exchange’s availability)
  • Heritage and anti-racism resources for the artists’ future practice
  • The artist will be paid a fee of £1800 (VAT inclusive) to cover artist research and development, residency materials, workshop planning and delivery fee and all residency-related travel expenses. A separate small workshop materials budget will be discussed ahead of the artist workshop.

Submission requirements:

Please send the following information to Xiao Ma at before 8 March 2021.

  • An email outlining why you are interested in this London Chinatown residency programme and how it relates to your current artistic practice. You should include your background and relevant experience
  • Documentation of your recent work and public workshops led by you if available. This is an opportunity for us to understand your experience engaging with the general public
  • A current CV/website/portfolio

We will invite shortlisted artists to meet with us by video call between 8 March-19 March 2021. If you have any questions please feel free to email Xiao at