Members of the April Photo Society at their first exhibition, Nature, Society, Man, Zhongshan Park, Beijing, 1979. Unknown photographer. Image first published by Hong Kong Cultural New Wave Publishing House, 1979

The Sigg Fellowship for Chinese Art Research is a new M+ programme held every other year to support new research on Chinese art, in dialogue with the M+ Collections. It is organised in parallel with the Sigg Prize, which recognises the best of contemporary art practices in the Greater China region. The fellowship corresponds with M+’s commitment to enriching the contemporary conversation on art in the region, and to defining new platforms for research and debate.

For each edition of the fellowship, one individual will be selected by a committee consisting of representatives from M+ and professionals from outside the institution. The successful applicant is expected to be attached to M+ for a period of three to six months and is awarded a grant of 200,000 Hong Kong dollars to cover all expenses, including travel, living, insurance, and research-related costs. The fellow will develop the project in response to the research theme—defined for each edition of the prize—and will have access to the M+ Collections both on-site and online, consult library and archival materials, deliver several informal internal presentations, and take part in discussions with curators and other staff members. This provides an opportunity for the project to relate to the museum’s current and future programmes, curatorial strategies, and collecting. The fellow will deliver a public lecture in Hong Kong and produce an essay in Chinese (at least 5,000 characters) or in English (at least 10,000 words), to be published on M+’s online editorial platform. 

For the inaugural edition of the Sigg Fellowship for Chinese Art Research, the theme concerns the origins of the 1980s avant-garde. The 1980s in China saw a blossoming of artist groups and movements and a catalysing of avant-garde creative practices. But what were the sources of the ideas and artistic languages that defined the new wave during this time? The framework of the research seeks to situate the avant-garde in its wider historical context in the twentieth century, addressing art practices from the end of the Cultural Revolution through the 1980s, as well as the experience of modernism in the 1930s and in the early years of the People’s Republic. The fellowship aims to support a research project that addresses a certain aspect of the 1980s avant-garde and its lineage, to broaden and add nuance to an understanding of this critical period in the history of art in China.

Application procedure:

  • Applications are welcome from individuals of all nationalities, with no age requirement. The provision of the fellowship, however, depends on whether the fellow can obtain a visa for Hong Kong.
  • Applicants should hold either a postgraduate degree in a relevant discipline or an undergraduate degree with a minimum of three years of relevant professional or academic research experience.
  • Proficiency in spoken and written Chinese or English is required.
  • Applicants should provide a research proposal in Chinese or English (500–1,000 words), a full curriculum vitae, and two letters of academic or professional recommendation.
  • The proposal must be based on new research or be an expansion of earlier research that has not been published previously. Preference will be given to entirely new research projects. The fellow grants M+ exclusive priority to publish the research following the completion of the project.
  • The deadline for submitting the application will be Hong Kong Time (UTC+8) 12 noon, 31 January 2020, and the awarding of the fellowship will be announced in March 2020. The fellow is expected to complete the research project before December 2020.
  • Please send application materials and address all enquiries to siggfellowship@mplus.org.hk

The Sigg Fellowship is organised in conjunction with the Sigg Prize, a new biennial award open to artists born or working in the Greater China region who produce work that is relevant to the region. The prize has the intention to highlight and promote on an international scale diverse and exciting practices taking place here. The Sigg Prize, established by M+ in Hong Kong in 2018, was formerly the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA), founded by Uli Sigg in China in 1998. The Sigg Fellowship was formerly the CCAA Art Critic Prize, founded by Uli Sigg in 2007. The CCAA was the first award for contemporary art in mainland China, and it was a leading force in steering Chinese art and artists to the world, helping to frame the international conversation on Chinese contemporary art. The CCAA was granted to twenty-five artists or artist groups and nine art critics over its history.