Zi Jiao

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The thing I appreciate the most about Goldsmiths is its subtle yet precise, elegant yet hard-hitting fluidity

Zi Jiao's time at Goldsmiths

I think the thing I appreciate the most about Goldsmiths is its subtle yet precise, elegant yet hard-hitting fluidity and radicality. The well-curated modules in my degree programme (MA Contemporary Art Theory) cover a vast range of theoretical fields/clusters, which can be selected/customised to suit our particular research directions and needs. Moreover, the materials being examined and discussed in each module are also quite diverse and heterogeneous (coming from a variety of cultures and disciplines), which have helped me a great deal in calibrating, perspectivising, and structuring my own research project.

The classmates from miscellaneous backgrounds always bring in refreshing ideas and recommendations and strike up stimulating discussions. I felt more driven, inspired, and cogitative each time after a seminar session.

Our academic year coincided almost entirely with the lockdown period, which was rather taxing, challenging, and kind of dreary (to say at least) for both the students and the professors. However, I would say that a sizeable amount of my ‘pandemic blue’ and ‘coursework stress’ was offset by the support and encouragement I received from the responsive and attentive professors.

I’ve benefited immensely from private tutorials and project feedback, and feel utterly grateful for the vibrant and convivial atmosphere they’ve cultivated for our online seminars and symposia.

Life after graduating

I’m currently liaising and collaborating with some environmental justice and human rights organisations to develop the subject I explored in my MA thesis, with a particular interest in investigating and theorising the inextricable/co-constitutive environmental and racialised violence in South-South relations. I’m working on maturing this project to an MPhil/PhD study; and being in an agile and research-intensive institution like Goldsmiths has definitely reinforced my determination to pursue a research career.

Advice for future students

To the students coming to this programme and Goldsmiths at large, I would say just be completely open, be insatiable of information and knowledge from all areas and disciplines; immerse, drench yourself in the incessant flows, exchanges, even collisions of thoughts and ideas. Within your learning capacity, audit as many modules as you can (something I wish I did). If possible, get in touch/involved with the College’s many innovative research centres, units, and hubs.

Living in South East London

In terms of studying/living in SE London, I relished the memory of catching up with classmates in the Rose Pub (a local pub near the campus), and taking long walks around the campus, exchanging ideas and sharing life stories with friends in Fordham and Greenwich Park. There are also plenty of vibrant arts/performances/music venues in the area hosting iridescent cultural events. All you have to do is be eager to engage, experience and explore.