Academic Profile : Faculty

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Assoc Prof Oh Soon-Hwa
Associate Professor, School of Art, Design and Media
 
Soonhwa's research interests include Photography in Real and Virtual Space, 360 Immersive Experiences, Creativity and Art in Higher Education, Sociology of Art, Visual Ethnography, Photo Archives, and Critical Art and Design Practices

Soonhwa is a photographer, curator, and instructor in the School of Art, Design & Media's photography and digital imaging department. She earned a Master of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts and a doctorate in education from Columbia University in New York. She has participated about 100 international exhibitions, including the Asian Art Museum in Nice, France, the Noorderlicht Photo Festival in the Netherlands, the Lucca Photo Festival in Italy, the Pingyao International Photo Festival in China, the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham, the Houston FotoFest, the Pochon biennale, the Ssamzi Art Space in Korea, the Asian American Art Center, and the Society for Contemporary Photographic Art. Her curatorial endeavors comprise shows at the National Museum of Singapore and the Pingyao International Photography Festival. She has received fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council, the Korea Arts Council, the Aaron Siskind Memorial Scholarship, and the UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries. She is a member of numerous academic groups and serves on the editorial board and as a reviewer for the Photographies Journal, published by Routledge in the United Kingdom. Contemporary Issues in Photography, Documentary Projects, Narrative Portraits, Traditional wet darkroom, Digital photography, Thinking Photography, and Artist and Art World are among the courses she teaches.
Soonhwa's research interests include Photography in Real and Virtual Space, 360 Immersive Experiences, Creativity and Art in Higher Education, Sociology of Art, Visual Ethnography, Photo Archives, and Critical Art and Design Practices

In terms of traditional research, she focuses on creative processes and environment in Art. In one notable study, she explored the artist and art dealer relationship. Based on her observation and experience as an emerging artist in NYC, she developed a study that explored the cultural, social, and psychological roles of the networks of relationships among artists and art world professionals. By employing a qualitative research method of case study, she documented and analyzed the experiences and practices of emerging artists in NYC and Paris and their significant art dealers, curators, and collectors. The study identifies the various roles of relationship networks and investigates how these relationships contribute to the development of their creative works. She is the author of the book "From Art School to Art World" (2009).

More recently, her research spectrum has included the interaction between art and science, photography and technology. Teaching and researching digital photography has incited her to explore and expand the boundaries of the photographic medium by collaborating with scientists on various projects in development.

In terms of practice-based research (i.e., photographic practice), her interest lies in documentary projects that deal with issues of identity, gender, and the human condition. For instance, her "Quiet Dream" series is a semi-documentary project that explores the identity and environment of young Vietnamese women from a small island nicknamed "Taiwanese Island" who intend to marry foreigners in their quest to have a better life and to support their own families. This project was a finalist (2009) and semi-finalist (2007) for the prestigious Lange-Tyler Prize at the Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University.

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On-going projects:

2021-2024: Tier 2 Grant
Principal Investigator
Creation and Analysis of a Digital Asset with the Gibson-Hill Photographic Collection

2023-2026: Tier 1 Grant
Principal Investigator
Steep Price, Muslim weavers in Varanasi

2023-2025: CoHass seed grant
Principal Investigator
Photography in Virtual Space

2024-2026: SSHR 2025 SEED GRANT
Principal Investigator
Mapping Southeast Asian Artist-Led Platforms Fostering the Development of Creative Artists
 
  • Creation and Analysis of a Digital Asset with the Gibson-Hill Photographic Collection
Courses Taught
GRADUATE COURSES
1. AP9051, Artist and Art World
2. AP9025, Guided Study in Photography
3. AP9045, Thinking Photography

UNDERGRADUATE COURSES
1. FDN 4D Foundation-Time and Design Workshop I
2. FDN 4D Foundation-Time and Design Workshop II
3. Black and White Photography
4. Digital Photography
6. Contemporary Issues In Photography
7. Photo: Color and Context
8. Narrative Portraits
9. Documentary Projects
10. Fine Art Digital Printing
11. Interdisciplinary Seminar
12. Independent study
 
Supervision of PhD Students
PHD SUPERVISION

1. Yalan Huang (Main supervisor): Artificial Intelligence-based Online Software’s Effects on Children’s Creative Intelligence, Expected 2028
2. Ramesh Ramakrishnan (Main supervisor): Flowing Spirit Flowing River: Exploring Faithscapes along the Ganges River, Expected 2026
3. Andrew Ng (Main supervisor): Latent Scenes: Queer Vernacular Photography in Singapore 1965–1985, Expected 2024
4. Liu Yajing (Main supervisor): Reconstructing Cultural Memory through Landscape Photography in China, 2000–2010, Awarded 2019

MA SUPERVISION

1. Clara Chong (Main supervisor): Eliciting Memories, Social and Digital Connectedness in Seniors through Photography from the Gibson-Hill Archive, Expected 2024
2. Liew Yi Xuan (Co-supervisor): Nanyang and the Environmental Imaginations of Singapore Photography, 1940s–1970s, Expected 2024
3. Vincent Liew Weh Siang (Main supervisor): A Visual Literature of Hindu Javanese, The Tenggerese: Photography as an Effective Visual Method to Preserve Collective Social Memory, Awarded 2020
4. Jasper Yu (Main supervisor): The Different Ways of Food Being Photographed and its Visual Impacts on our Lifestyle, Awarded 2020