PhD Doctor of Philosophy


Calligraphy as Embodied Practice: a Cross-Cultural Investigation into Embodiment and Corporeality in Chinese and Western Calligraphy.

Thesis Outline

The research is concerned with the relationships between the body and writing in calligraphic practice. It seeks to define and categorise the ways in which embodiment takes place, or is conceived, within Chinese calligraphy, and further, explores the possibilities of such embodiment within Western calligraphic writing. The research is cross-cultural and uses a practice-based method with data gathered through performance ethnography. The research aims to:

1. Identify, categorise and establish a taxonomy of key terms related to embodiment and corporeality in calligraphy in order to facilitate, inform and clarify discussion, research and critical practice.

2. Expand and enrich Western calligraphic forms, practice and theory by systematically translating Chinese aesthetic principles, practices and interpretive strategies related to corporeality and embodiment into a Western calligraphic context.

3. Produce a body of practical work that develops and explores the possibilities of corporeality and embodiment in Western calligraphy, including the practice of performance calligraphy.


Roland Buckingham-Hsiao is a visual artist and researcher based in the UK and Taiwan. His work investigates the boundaries of language, viz. textimage, text-body and text-object relations, often via East-West cultural exchange. His creative practice is interdisciplinary but centered around calligraphy. He studied Chinese calligraphy in Taiwan and on a scholarship to the LanTing Academy of Calligraphy, University of ShaoXing, China. He has exhibited artwork internationally, including at Tate Britain, UK, and has lectured at universities in China, Taiwan and England, including at the Royal College of Art, London. He is a reviewer for The Journal of Embodied Research (JER) and a member of the research group Embodiment and Performance in the Arts (EPPA).

Research Activities

I have conducted ethnographic research into notions of embodiment in calligraphy in China, devised and delivered calligraphic performances Taiwan and the UK, and have exhibited the results of my practice-based inquiry into embodiment and writing in various exhibitions in Europe.

Citations and Presentations

Selected Exhibitions:

“Forma e Transforma” (group show), ARCHIMUSEO ADRIANO ACCATTINO, Irvea, Italy, 24th March – 11 May 2018.

“Communal Calligraphy” (participatory performance) in “On the tip of my tongue” (group show), FRINGE ARTS BATH FESTIVAL, Bath, U.K. 10th June 2017.

“The Seagull’s Dream” (collaborative performance with Elaine Hickman-Luter and Hannah Wildwood) ARENA THEATRE, Wolverhampton, U.K. 2nd May 2017.

“Asemic Tech” (group show), PUNT MULTIMEDIA, Barcelona, Spain. 28th Feb – 14th March 2017.

“Collaborative Calligraphy” (performance piece with Chou, Cheng-Yu), HEI BAI QIE ART SPACE, Taichung, Taiwan. 23rd – 24th April 2016.

“Collaborative Calligraphy” (exhibition of performance work), NAMI ART SPACE, Taichung, Taiwan. 25th April – 25th May 2016 and WOLVERHAMPTON SCHOOL OF ART, U.K. 15th Oct – 31st Oct 2016.

“Holga, Out of the Box” (group show), TCC PHOTO GALLERY, Longview, Texas, USA. 2nd Oct 2014 – 14th Nov 2014.

“7 Billionth Person” (group show) THE PARACHUTE FACTORY, New Haven, USA. 23rd Sept 2010 – 31st Jan 2011.

“Art / Life” (group show), AVART GALLERY (Association of the Visual Arts in Taiwan), Taipei, Taiwan. 4th July – 25th July 2010.

“The Last Book” (group project with Luis Camnitzer), ZENTRALBIBLIOTHEK, Zurich, Switzerland and BIBLIOTECA NACIONAL ARGENTINA, Buenos Aires. Ongoing from 2008.

“How we are now” (group show), TATE BRITAIN, London, UK. 6th Aug – 2nd Sept 2007.

“Subterraneans” (group show), CATALYST ARTS, Belfast. Northern Ireland. May-June 1995.

“Hit and Run” (group show), WILMONT HOUSE, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 22nd June – 25th July 1994.


Essay Publications:

Buckingham-Hsiao, R., 2018. ‘Drawn words: Pictographs in the Chinese language and visual culture’, Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice, 3 (2), pp. 229-240.

Buckingham-Hsiao, R., 2017. ‘Collaborative Calligraphy’, Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, 13 (2).

Buckingham-Hsiao, R., 2016. ‘Hybrid Calligraphy’, Letter Arts Review, 30 (3), pp. 48-53.


Artwork Publications:

“Visual Haiku No. 26”, Stone Boat Literary Journal, 2018, Vol. 8, Issue 2, Spring.

“Visual Poem Nos. 7, 30, 53”, Metonym, 2018, Vol. VI, Spring.

“Communal Calligraphy”, Diaphanous: Journal of Literary and Visual Art, 2017, Vol. 1, Issue 2, Fall.

“Visual Haiku No.69”, Borfski Press Magazine, 2017, Issue 3, Fall.

“Fragment 172”, Corvus Review (Cover Artwork), 2017, Issue 9, Fall.

“Haiga No.6″, Shanghai Literary Review, Issue 2, 2017, Fall / Winter.

“Visual Poem No.40”, Zoomoozophone Review (Cover Artwork), 2017, Issue 15, October.

“Haiga No.3 (1st version)", Coldnoon: International Journal of Travel Writing and Travelling Cultures, 2017, October.

“Visual Haiku No.57", Third Wednesday: Quarterly Journal of Literature and Visual Arts, 2017, Vol 10, Issue 4.

"Visual Haiku Nos. 23, 71, 74", Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, October 2017, Issue 37.

"Visual Haiku No. 72", Stone Bridge Press, 2017, October.

"Visual Haiku Nos. 45, 51, 52", The Scene and Heard: Journal of Artistic Reflections, 2017, September.

"Visual Haiku Nos. 12, 38, 48", Utsanga Magazine, 2017, Issue 13.

"Each Different, Each the Same", Guanxi Magazine, 2015, Issue 19, p.2.


Conferences and Lectures:

“Crosscultural Practices”, lecture. Royal College of Art, London, UK, 14th August 2019.

“English Language Structures”, teaching Session. University of ShaoXing, China, 2nd May 2019.

“Collaborative Calligraphy”, RAW2016: Research in the Arts at Wolverhampton. University of Wolverhampton, UK, 9th Sept 2016.



Roland Buckingham

Contact Details.

Arts and Creative Industries

Director of Studies.

Dr Manny Ling