M+ and Design Trust are pleased to announce that Emily Verla Bovino and Anouchka van Driel are the recipients of the M+ / Design Trust Research Fellowship 2021. The fellowship supports original research projects that investigate issues relating to design and architecture in Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area, and Asia through a transnational lens, aligned with the curatorial interests and activities of M+.

Emily Verla Bovino, a Hong Kong–based art historian, urbanist, writer, and artist, draws on the Hong Kong miniature as means to explore the social life of architecture and urbanism in the city. In collectible model buses, precision replicas of street life, and trending designer toys, miniatures move Hong Kong imaginaries, enchanting the city by fostering attachment to it. Their smallness captivates but also makes them easy to overlook as a vital part of the city’s design culture. In their fabrication and collecting, miniatures are a quiet way in which people narrate Hong Kong history, leaving poignant traces of how urban design in the world’s priciest property market is lived—the miniature is not only a design field, but also a method. Through interviews, conversations, and workshops with micro-modellers, miniaturists, enthusiasts, and collectors, Bovino investigates why people make miniatures, why they buy them, and why they build industries and friendships around them. The research also studies the practices of artists and designers who do not make miniatures but draw inspiration from them.

Anouchka van Driel, a Beijing-based curator and researcher, studies China and the ‘cosmotechnics’ of fashion. Fashion globally manifests itself as a visual language and culture, as well as a social practice, constantly redefined and reshaped through social interactions. Technology, as in all aspects of contemporary living, has an increased impact on the social realm, especially in today’s China and its fashion landscape. Deploying techno-philosopher Yuk Hui’s concept of ‘cosmotechnics’ as a lens to frame recent developments in the fashion sector in China, van Driel’s research investigates the changing dynamics between designers and users/consumers through the highly mediated relationships of online platforms, and their impact on the design, creation, marketing, and consumption of garments and clothing, including the surrounding social ephemera of style. Moreover, the research explores the enormous impact on the fashion industry of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated and accelerated changes already in motion, effecting a new form of de-globalised production.

About Emily Verla Bovino
Emily Verla Bovino is an art historian, urbanist, writer, and artist based in Hong Kong. Her research explores intersections between contemporary art, architecture, and urbanism; she is currently focused on cultures of curation developed in Hong Kong civil society by mutual aid methods. Bovino received her MA and PhD in Art History, Theory, and Criticism from the University of California, San Diego, where she was a grantee of the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts. As former Professor of Art and Architectural History at SCAD Hong Kong, she founded and led the curatorial initiative Art Now! at the former North Kowloon Magistracy and was awarded the SCAD Presidential Fellowship for Research.

About Anouchka van Driel
Anouchka van Driel is a curator, researcher, and innovation lead based in Beijing. She has been active in China’s creative sector for over a decade, collaborating with cultural organisations on curatorial projects. Van Driel also runs People’s Works, a platform for social innovation as part of the architecture studio People’s Architecture Office. Her research and curatorial projects focus on the social effects and implications of design across the disciplinary spectrum. Recent exhibitions include Social Design: Learning at Play with People’s Architecture Office, and the regenerative design exhibition Disruptive Matter for K11 in Hong Kong and Shenyang.

About M+
M+ is a museum dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, and interpreting visual art, design and architecture, moving image, and Hong Kong visual culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, we are building one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture in the world, with a bold ambition to establish ourselves as one of the world’s leading cultural institutions. Our aim is to create a new kind of museum that reflects our unique time and place, a museum that builds on Hong Kong’s historic balance of the local and the international to define a distinctive and innovative voice for Asia’s twenty-first century.

About Design Trust

Design Trust was established in 2014 by Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design, a registered charity in Hong Kong since 2007, as a grant-funding platform. Design Trust supports creative projects that develop expertise and build research initiatives and content related to Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. Working across a multiplicity of design disciplines, from graphics, media, and architecture to the built environment, Design Trust aims to actively accelerate creative research, design, and the development of meaningful projects that advocate for the positive role of design.