The scholarship scheme is named in honour of Li Siguang, one of Birmingham’s most famous Chinese graduates and offered in partnership with the China Scholarship Council (CSC). It is offered to Chinese students from all disciplines across the University of Birmingham.

Chen’s thesis topic is ‘Collection and patronage of the arts by Tang courts’. It will reassess the dynamic mechanism between power and art, and explore the overlooked relationship between artworks and the context in which they were created in Chinese art history study from the perspective of patronage. Chen is co-supervised by Professor Naomi Standen and Dr Liz L’Estrange.

The aim of this research is to explore how artistic patronage could be a method by which the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD) royals expressed their aesthetic taste, identity and aspirations; and how art can function as a dimension by which to reconstruct a series of political and social issues including the emperor-literati relationship, the status of royal women, political conflicts and so on.