Graduate Student Spotlight: Ellen Chang

Submitted by Yuko Mera on

How did you land an internship at the Seattle Art Museum?

I took a class with Professor Ping Foong, Curator of Chinese Art at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) in Spring 2017. When I submitted an exhibition proposal for part of the Asian Art Museum’s 2019 reopening exhibition, I was offered an internship to realize my proposal in SAM’s Curatorial Department.

What kinds of work did you do there?

I assisted in producing the reopening exhibition, which included everything from writing grant proposals to doing research for works to be displayed, to writing exhibition statements, wall texts, and display labels.

What was the most interesting thing that you learned while working at SAM?

I had already worked in gallery spaces that held temporary exhibitions, so learning how to put together a permanent display was new and very exciting to me.

Cinema studies and museum work – what’s the connection for you?

Everything! As a curator, filmmaker, and PhD scholar in video art and cinema, I have long been devoted to cross-disciplinary and cross-media research and to integrating my work in various areas.

Tell us about your own research interests.

So far, I have been exploring the encounter of contemporary Taiwanese video art, cinema, and popular culture as a process of aesthetic decolonization. I have also become more and more interested in how multimedia art both reflects and shapes everyday politics internationally.

You’ve worked as a teaching assistant (TA) in various Cinema and Media Studies courses. What have you enjoyed most about those opportunities? Or what do you find most challenging about them?

The discussion sections run by TAs have been the part that I most enjoy and also find to be most challenging. Students expect a lot from these sections, including a thumbnail version of the professor’s lecture. That said, it is so rewarding for me to see students experimenting with the kinds of perspectives and methods that I shared with them in class.