Roaming freely among the Arts: Highlights from the UBC Undergraduate Conference of Chinese Studies 3MT 2023

The UBC Undergraduate Conference of Chinese Studies 3-Minute Thesis Competition 2023 (UCCS 3MT 2023) has come to a close, leaving behind an unforgettable experience filled with captivating presentations.

Co-facilitated by the UBC Chinese Language Program (CLP) and the UBC Student Association of Sinology (USAS), the conference drew an extensive audience of students from diverse disciplines united by a shared passion for Chinese literature. The event served as an excellent opportunity for undergraduate students to share and discuss their research interests, engage in thought-provoking discussions, and bring together the academic community with their unique perspectives on the subject.

A poster of UBC UCCS 3MT 2023

The UCCS 3MT 2023’s theme, “Roaming Freely Among the Arts,” is an invitation for students to unleash their creativity and approach their research from a fresh, thought-provoking, and analytical literary perspective. By encouraging students to explore and push thematic boundaries, the theme promotes a sense of freedom and adventure, inviting them to embark on a journey of discovery and innovation.

A mosaic featuring the talented contestants in the UCCS 3MT 202

The Conference comprised two stages of competition: the semi-finals and the final competition. This year, 32 talented contestants submitted their videotaped presentations for the semi-finals, which were then displayed on the Canvas site of the Conference.

A thumbnail of the keynote speech delivered by Dr. Renren Yang during the UCCS 3MT 2023

Dr. Renren Yang, Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese Popular Culture at UBC, delivered an engaging keynote speech titled “Roaming Among Mountains and Waters” during the semi-finals, where he shared insights from various disciplines of literature, film studies, art history, and modern history. After a month of intense competition, the semi-finals attracted nearly 300 viewers and received a total of 110 anonymous votes. Having received the highest number of votes, 10 finalists were selected to proceed to the final competition.

Dr. Sharalyn Orbaugh delivering opening remarks that kicked off the UCCS 3MT 2023 final competition

The final competition began with a remarkable opening speech by Dr. Sharalyn Orbaugh, the Department Head of Asian Studies and Professor of Modern Japanese Literature and Popular Culture. Her insightful remarks shed light on the significance of hosting such an event at UBC and how it fosters inclusion, enthusiasm, and active participation in civic engagement. Dr. Orbaugh expressed her own excitement for the event, highlighting how a passionate environment can motivate individuals. Her inspiring words set the tone for the event and left everyone feeling energized to participate.

Dr. Christopher Rea delivering an engaging guest speech while “freely roaming” the conference hall

Dr. Christopher Rea, Professor of Modern Chinese Literature, proceeded to deliver the Guest of Honour Speech. His speech was a creative and insightful reflection on the conference theme, urging attendees to break down disciplinary boundaries and adopt a more holistic approach to research. Dr. Rea’s vast experience in literary research provided valuable insights and inspiration to the students and participants, encouraging them to embrace interdisciplinary research practices. His speech added a unique and refreshing perspective to the event, making a significant impact on its overall success.

Judges intently appraising research presentations at the forefront of the conference hall

The adjudication committee was comprised of the following seven wonderful judges:

Songyan Ni, one of the finalists, delivering a research presentation about a popular Chinese film

During the final competition, 10 talented finalists took the stage and delivered awe-inspiring presentations that covered a wide range of topics, from classical Chinese literature, modern Chinese literature, to contemporary Chinese films. The students explored a wide range of styles, genres, and approaches to their research, spanning different time periods in Chinese history. They compared characters, expressions, and contexts from their chosen mediums and research topics, engaging in lively discussions and sharing their journeys of exploration.

The audience had the opportunity to witness the outstanding achievements of 10 finalists, each of whom was welcomed to the stage to receive recognition and claim prizes for their inspiring research.

First Place Award Presented by Dr. Christopher Rea

First Place Award

杨菲飞  / Feifei Yang
Presentation Title: “An Analysis of the Contrast between Cities: Shanghai and Hong Kong in Love in a Fallen City

Second Place Award Presented by Dr. Bruce Rusk

Second Place Award

曾楚雯 / Alisa Zeng
Presentation Title: “Application of Zhuangzi’s Philosophical Views in Romantic Poetry”

董馨怡 / Xinyi Dong
Presentation Title: “A Comparative Study on the Roles of Chinese Traditional Opera in Farewell My Concubine and Sweet Dream in the Garden

Third Place Award Presented by Dr. Helena Wu

Third Place Award

杨景尧 / Jingyao Yang
Presentation Title: “A Comparative Study of the Image of Yang Guifei in Li Bo’s Qingping Tune and Bo Juyi’s Song of Everlasting Regret

倪崧严 / Songyan Ni
Presentation Title: “A Brief Analysis of the Audiovisual Language in the Film Hi, Mom

陈瑾遥 / Jinyao Chen
演讲课题:“月移花影动,疑是玉人来”一一 关于“月亮”的中西比较文学意象研究
Presentation Title: “A Study of Literary Images of the Moon in Comparison between Chinese and Western Cultures”

People’s Choice Award Presented by Dr. Renren Yang

People’s Choice Award

陈彦冰 / Yanbing Chen
Presentation Title: “The Expression of Women’s Spirit of Resistance through the Application of Colors and Light: The Rebellion of Songlian in the Film Raise the Red Lantern

周一敏 / Charlotte Zhou & 李孔嘉 / Abigail Li
Presentation Title: “On the Specific Referent of the Term ‘Three Mountains’ in Li Qingzhao’s Poem Fisherman’s Pride

黄吟葭 / Yinjia Huang
演讲课题:兰舟非舟? 一一浅析李清照《一剪梅》中“兰舟”所指
Presentation Title: “Is it a Boat or Not: A Study of the Referent of the Term ‘Orchid Boat’ in Li Qingzhao’s Poem A Twig of Plum Blossoms

钱怡文 / Yiwen Qian
Presentation Title: “The Tragedy of Women and the Beauty of Humanity: An Analysis of Female Characters in Shen Congwen’s Border Town and Eileen Chang’s Love in a Fallen City

Dr. Christopher Rea presenting the participants with a special gift

The UCCS is grateful to Professor Christopher Rea for generously presenting each winner with a special gift: a copy of the popular book Where Research Begins, which he co-authored with Professor Tom Mullaney of Stanford University. This kind gesture not only served as a token of appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the winners, but also highlighted the importance of the valuable contributions of scholars like Professor Rea to the academic community.

A huge thank you to the passionate UCCS 3MT staff and volunteers

The UCCS would like to extend its appreciation to all those who contributed to the success of the conference, including the students, featured speakers, presenters, instructors, Work Learn assistants, participants, sponsors, and behind-the-scenes crew. This event aimed to promote interdisciplinary research, critical thinking, and research competence among undergraduate students at UBC. The UCCS plans to continue holding the 3MT competition with the same objectives in the future. The organizers are looking forward to welcoming everyone back for next year’s conference, where new perspectives will be shared and innovative ideas will be explored.

Written by Isidora Basanovic
Edited by Angelia Tu
Photos by Arthas Cheng