Home Away From Home: Roundtable Discussion

home away from home  roundtable
Part of the Humanities Cultural Programme


Home Away From Home: A Roundtable Discussion

29 November 2022, 5.00pm-6.00pm

Holywell Music Room

Registration required: Book here  


Having collectively experienced an altered sense of home during the pandemic, how do we rediscover or reclaim our idea of feeling belonged? For those who live across multiple homes and cultures, how do we connect with our personal history and heritage, reconcile or carry our homes along with us, in an age of globalisation and digital space? Especially, how do women writers and artists channel their artistic expression?

Join Dr Jennifer Wong, Visiting Fellow, for a conversation with this panel of  academics, writers and artists who will share their ideas and writing on what it means to feel at home in a multicultural era, through the lens of personal stories, cultural history and art-making.  There will also be a question and answer session. Tickets are free but booking is required.

Following this event, join Dr Jennifer Wong for a reading event 'A Tapestry of Homes' - More details available here. 


  • Jennifer Altehenger - moderator
  • Margaret Hillenbrand - moderator
  • Jennifer Wong
  • Denise Kwan
  • Nina Mingya Powles



altehenger websitephoto

Prof Jennifer Altehenger is Associate Professor of Chinese History and Jessica Rawson Fellow in Modern Asian History at the University of Oxford and Merton College. Her research focuses on the history of modern China, especially that of the People’s Republic of China after 1949, and her publications have explored topics as diverse as design and everyday life, material sciences and industry, law and civic education, and cultural production and information management. She is the author of Legal Lessons: Popularizing Laws in the People’s Republic of China, 1949-1989 (Harvard, 2018). She is also the editor of the online resource “The Mao Era in Objects”, and together with Professor Denise Y. Ho she co-edited Material Contradictions in Mao’s China (University Washington Press, 2022). Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Leverhulme Trust, she is currently completing a new monograph: Revolutionary Designs: Furnishing Life in Socialist China.



margaret hillenbrand

Prof Margaret Hillenbrand is Professor of Modern Chinese Literature and Culture at the University of Oxford. Her research focusses on literary and visual studies in twentieth-century China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan, especially cultures of protest and secrecy. Her latest book, Negative Exposures: Knowing What Not to Know in Contemporary China, appeared with Duke University Press in 2020, and she has recently completed a new book project, entitled On the Edge: Feeling Precarious in China.


jenny new image

Dr Jennifer Wong was born and raised in Hong Kong, and is the author of several collections including 回家 Letters Home (Nine Arches Press) and Diary of a Miu Miu Salesgirl (Bitter Melon Poetry). 回家 Letters Home has been named the PBS Wild Card Choice by Poetry Book Society. She studied at University College, Oxford and has earned a creative writing PhD from Oxford Brookes University. Her poems, translations and reviews have appeared in or are forthcoming from Wasafiri, Poetry Review, Poetry London, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, Oxford Poetry, Magma Poetry, World Literature Today, The Rialto, PN Review, Asian Review of Books, Asian Cha, anthologies and others. She has taught at Poetry School, Oxford Brookes University, City Lit and Lingnan University of Hong Kong. She was the writer-in-residence at Wasafiri in 2021. In collaboration with Wasafiri and other partners, she curated the first digital Poetics of Home Chinese Diaspora Poetry Festival 2021, funded by Arts Council. Since March 2020, she ran an online poetry reading series called What We Read Now which featured a diverse range of emerging and established poets.


denise kwan

Dr. Denise Kwan arrived at poetry making through after school English classes and watching the world from across the counter. Growing up in a Cantonese speaking household, the English language has been a well of foreignness and familiarity.  Denise is a researcher, writer and art maker. Denise is interested in the sculptural sensibility of language and views writing as textured sketches that gather folds of time and cultures. Language becomes an agile and sculptural material that allows an inhabitation of multiple spaces which momentarily give form to experiences unnamed and sensations re-felt. Through her writing, Denise is interested in how words and utterances can hang upon the material and the visual world. This has led her to publish writing for ArtReview, Writing Our Legacy and CCQ Magazine. In 2014, her writing was selected by Harmonious Society Award for Art Criticism and shortlisted by Wales in Venice life/art writing in 2019. 


nina mingya powles

Nina Mingya Powles is a writer, poet, maker and librarian. She is the author of several poetry collections, most recently Magnolia 木蘭, shortlisted for the 2021 Ondaatje Prize and the Forward Prize for Best First Book of Poetry. Her short food memoir, Tiny Moons, was published in 2020, and in 2021 she published a collection of essays titled Small Bodies of Water, winner of the Nan Shepherd Prize. She also writes an intermittent e-newsletter called Comfort Food. She was born in New Zealand, partly grew up in China, has family roots in Malaysia, and now lives in London.


Photo credit: Vila Strawberrika (Unsplash)