International Institute of Korean Studies

Our centres

The International Institute of Korean Studies UCLan (IKSU) is UCLan's multidisciplinary hub of research, teaching and public policy, leading the way in the study of the two Koreas.

About us

IKSU was established in 2014 as a multidisciplinary hub of research, teaching and public policy in the study of contemporary Korea. IKSU brings together university wide research expertise on global Korea in the context of language, development, political economy, society and culture, anthropological discourse, and international relations surrounding both Koreas. 

IKSU is nestled under the Institute for the Study of the Asia Pacific (ISAP) and the Institute of Area Studies and Migration Studies (AMIS) at the University of Central Lancashire.

For possible PhD supervisions, please find more information by visiting the Academic Expertise section below.

The IKSU welcomes affiliation requests from those applying for the Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme (European region). Please contact the IKSU Enquiry team by email.


North Korean Studies, MA

Learn about the society, economy, politics and international relations of North Korea with our MA in North Korean Studies.

For inquiries about PhD programme in Korean Studies, contact Dr Sojin Lim

View course


We offer several different scholarships at postgraduate level for both taught courses, and research degrees. For more details, see our scholarship listings:

For more details, please contact Dr Sojin Lim.

Previous activities and events

For more information on activities and events preceding 2019, please contact us by email.

  1. 2023 UK-Korea Forum for Early Career Researchers and Young Scholars 

    Peace and Unification in Korea Peninsula

    University of Central Lancashire, UK, 28-29 August 2023
    Venue: Brockholes, Lancashire, UK

    The International Institute of Korean Studies (IKSU) at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is hosting a 2-day networking forum for next-generation scholars between United Kingdom (UK) and South Korea, in the field of peace studies, international relations, diplomacy studies, Korean studies, and any other related disciplines in relation to peace and unification of Korea Peninsula.

    We are inviting early career researchers who have obtained a PhD degree in the last 5 years, and PhD candidates who are near to completion of their PhD programmes, doing their research in relation to the theme of the forum.

    In-person participation:

    • 10 participants from universities and research institutes in the UK
    • 8 participants from universities and research institutes in South Korea

    Online participation:

    • 5 participants from universities and research institutes in the UK
    • 7 participants from universities and research institutes in South Korea

    For in-person participants, travel costs will be covered as follows:

    • Flight cost for participants from South Korea will be reimbursed up to GBP 700.
    • Train cost for participants in the UK will be reimbursed up to GBP 100.
    • Accommodation will be booked and paid by the University for 3 nights (27, 28, 29 August).

    All participants are required to conduct 10-minute presentations about their research projects at the forum.

    The forum will be held at Brockholes, a floating venue in the heart of the nature reserve in Lancashire, UK.

    How to apply:

    Deadline: 30 April 2023


    28 August 2023 (Monday): Participant presentations
    29 August 2023 (Tuesday): Meet journal and book editors; guest talks; and discussion sessions about challenges ahead

    Exploring Korea: Essay Competition for A Level Students

    The University of Central Lancashire's International Institute of Korean Studies (IKSU) is holding a contest for UK A-level students. You can win big prizes by writing an essay about Korea!

    A panel of experts in Korean Studies will judge your essay.

    There will be award certificates, along with prizes:

    • First prize (1 place): £500 love2shop voucher
    • Runners up (4 places): £100 love2shop voucher each

    (Vouchers can be spent in over 20,000 stores and restaurants.)

    You can choose one of these essay questions:

    • Did the success of Parasite at the 2020 Oscars signify Korean cinema becoming a global cultural phenomenon?
    • Is K-Pop truly Korean?
    • What is the best explanation for why the Korean peninsula remains divided?
    • Why does South Korea maintain its alliance with the United States?
    • Why and how has South Korea reduced poverty, and become one of middle power global economies?
    • To what extent can one use social theory to provide an understanding of the Haenyeo of Jeju Island?

    Your essay should be 4,000 words or less and be sent as a Microsoft Word file. On the cover page, include your name, school, year, and email address.

    Deadline: 31 August 2023
    Submission to:
    Any inquiries:

    The winners will be contacted by email individually by the end of September 2023.

    2023 IKSU Book Talk I

    The North Korean Army: History, Structure, Daily Life (Routledge, 2022, by Fyodor Tertitskiy)

    Date: 1 February 2023
    Time: 1 PM – 2 PM
    Venue: online

    Register here.

    2023 IKSU Book Talk II

    Korea and the Global Society (Routledge, 2023, edited by Yonson Ahn)

    Date: 15 February 2023
    Time: 2 PM – 3 PM
    Venue: online

    Register here.

    2023 IKSU Guest Talk I

    Environmental Science Diplomacy: Science Engagement with North Korea (by Professor James Hammond, Birkbeck, University of London)

    Date: 10 March 2023
    Time: 2 PM – 3 PM
    Venue: ABLT4, UCLan

  2. IKSU Employability Talk

    Title: Working Holiday Visa in Korea
    Speaker: Embassy of South Korea in the UK
    Date: 16 November (Wednesday)
    Time: 2 PM – 3.30 PM
    Venue: ABLT3, UCLan

    IKSU PG-led Roundtable

    Title: Contested Sovereignty: Implications for Korean Peninsula
    Date: 9 November (Wednesday)
    Time: 2 PM – 4 PM
    Venue: ABLT3, UCLan

    Speakers will discuss cases of contested sovereignty and their implications for Korean peninsula.

    • Sojin Lim (UCLan): Chair
    • Dongjin Kim (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland): Case of Ireland and Northern Ireland
    • Niki Alsford (UCLan): Case of China and Taiwan
    • Katerina Antoniou (UCLan Cyprus): Case of Cyprus and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
    • Steven Denny (Vienna University, Austria): Case of North and South Korea


    Title: Haenyeo Exhibition – Experience the Value of Living Heritage of Jeju in South Korea
    Exhibition: 3 - 30 November (10.00 AM - 4.00 PM), PR1 Gallery, UCLan
    Haenyeo Talk*: 4 November (4.00 PM) & 5 November (2.00 PM), PR1 Gallery, UCLan
    Gut Performance**: 4 November (5.00 PM), PR1 Gallery, UCLan
    Korean Cultural Event: 10 & 11 November (2.00 PM - 5.00 PM), Adelphi Foyer, UCLan

    * The Haenyeo are women of Jeju Island in South Korea whose job is to harvest seafood through a technique which involves diving without any apparatus, called muljil. UNESCO recognised the value of the culture of Jeju haenyeo in that the female divers dive undersea without any breathing apparatus. Two haenyeo from Jeju will provide talks about this culture at the exhibition.

    ** Haenyeo have passed down an expression describing their work as ‘earning from the other world to spend in this world'. It implies how dangerous a haenyeo’s muljil work can be. Accordingly, haenyeo always rely on yongwangshin [a divine sea dragon], which is believed to control the sea. Haenyeo often visits the haeshingdang [a shamanistic shrine] on the shore and holds gut [rituals] to pray for safety and a good catch. On the second day of the exhibition, Shamans from Jeju will perform the gut at the exhibition.

    MoU with Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea

    On 7 November 2022, UCLan and Ministry of Education in South Korea have signed a MoU which will enhance the partnership between two organisations. Based on the MoU, UCLan IKSU will conduct a project in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, including ‘Korean Language Teacher Training Programme in the UK’.

    IKSU Book Talk

    Title: South Korean Popular Culture in the Global Context – Beyond the Fandom (Routledge)
    Date: 19 October 2022 (Wednesday)
    Time: 2 PM – 4 PM
    Venue: ABLT3, UCLan / or join online (register via

    This book aims to provide a venue for redefining popular culture and its true power–beyond soft power–including discussion on how the pandemic and the use of online platforms have coincidently or effectively influenced recent phenomena surrounding Korean popular culture. In this, the edited volume deals with the wide scope of Korean popular culture based on the interdisciplinary approach, along with theoretical accounts. At the book talk, you will be able to hear from all of the seven contributing authors.

    • Chapter 1. Introduction – Sojin Lim
    • Chapter 2. BTS’s Soft Power and Public Diplomacy: Partnership with UNICEF – Hee Kyoung Chang
    • Chapter 3. Stan Activism: Is K-Pop the New Punk? – Niki Alsford
    • Chapter 4. Desiring Machines: Portrait of a K-Pop Fan – David Tizzard
    • Chapter 5. Entertainment and Equity in the Era of “Octact” – Jenna Gibson and Tamar Herman
    • Chapter 6. The Use of Culture and Cultural Products in Inter-Korean Relations – Marco Milani
    • Chapter 7. Screening the Inter-Korean Conflict: The Politics of Crash Landing on You – Juliette Schwak and Sarah Son

    IKSU Guest Talk

    Title: Engaging and Educating North Koreans - The Work of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST)

    Speaker: Colin McCulloch, Professor of PUST
    Date: 14 October 2022 (Friday)
    Time: 2 PM – 3.30 PM
    Venue: BB438, UCLan

    Professor McCulloch will introduce what he has been doing at PUST in the framework of the North Korean educational system, and speak about culture and the political and administrative situation in the country, together with some remarks about the purposes of education and the value of 'engagement'. This event is open to public members as well as UCLan students.

     2022 IKSU Postgraduate Research Seminar Award In Korean Studies

    Call for Submissions - 25 May 2022, Hybrid

    The International Institute of Korean Studies (IKSU) annual postgraduate research seminar for both MA and PhD students in the UK was launched in 2021. Postgraduate students whose dissertation/thesis is related to Korea (both North and South) are invited to apply for the seminar.

    Successful applicants will be invited to the seminar for presentations. A group of academic members from various universities will provide feedback on your research after the presentations. At the end of the seminar, we will select the best research as follows:

    • First place: Award certificate, and £200 equivalent Waterstones book voucher (1 MA & 1 PhD)
    • Second place: Award certificate, and £100 equivalent Waterstones book voucher (1 MA & 1 PhD)
    • Third place: Award certificate, and £50 equivalent Waterstones book voucher (1 MA & 1 PhD)

    Who can apply: students enrolled in MA/MSc/MPhil/MRes/MA by Research or PhD/DPhil programme in the UK with their dissertation/thesis topics related to Korea

    How to apply:

    • Brief Dissertation/Thesis: short version of your ongoing dissertation/thesis up to 4,000 words in MS word format (word count includes references).
      • Times New Roman, 12 font, single spaced
      • Harvard referencing system, with in-text citations

    *Note: we do not accept submitted dissertation/theses, but ongoing research only.

    • Dissertation/Thesis Submission Deadline: 10 April 2022 (submit to
    • Notice for Shortlisted Applicants: 10 May 2022
    • Presentation file submission for shortlisted applicants: summary of your dissertation/thesis for 10-minute presentation in MS ppt format
    • Presentation file Submission Deadline: 15 May 2022 (submit to
    • PG Research Seminar – Presentations for shortlisted applicants & Award ceremony: 25 May 2022
  3. Call for Applications for the IKSU Field Study Trip to South Korea and Poster Exhibition

    We are recruiting 20 students for the field study trip to South Korea and the following poster exhibition. Successful applicants are required to attend all activities, including producing posters for the exhibition.

    • Field study trip to South Korea: 27 May – 9 June 2022 (subject to change due to the COVID-19 travel restriction)
    • ‘Peace and Unification of Korea’ Poster exhibition at UCLan: 29 June – 3 July 2022

    In order to apply, read the following details carefully.

    Applicant Eligibility: While it would be an asset if you are enrolled in PhD Korean Studies, MA North Korean Studies, or BA Korean pathway, it is open to all UCLan students at all levels.

    Application Submission Guideline:

    1. Deadline: 3 January 2022, by 12pm
    2. Where to submit:
    3. What to submit:
    • 2-page MS-word by containing (1) your full name, course and subject title, student number, and email address, (2) the reason why you are applying, (3) your thoughts/opinions on the unification of Korea, and (4) names and contact details of two referees
    • Copy of your passport

    The International Institute of Korean Studies (IKSU) will cover following expenses:

    • Partial flight fee (round trip, economy)
    • Accommodation in South Korea
    • PCR test fees in South Korea
    • Cost for DMZ/JAS visit
    • Fees for programme activities in South Korea, such as lectures and seminars
    • Poster printing fee for the exhibition

    Cost for successful applicants will be:

    • GBP 350 as a part of flight cost (GBP 50 will be refunded once you submit a complete poster for the exhibition)
    • Any remaining cost, including visa fee, PCR test fees in the UK, and meals and public transportation cost

    Your Responsibility:

    1. You must have a valid passport (at least 3 months left on your passport as of 27 May 2022)
    2. You must obtain K-ETA in time. University will not be responsible for your visa.
    3. You must be eligible for the quarantine exemption in South Korea. We are expected to be exempted once current temporary measures are lifted. However, this is subject to change based on the South Korean government’s guidelines for foreign travellers.
    4. You must successfully submit all required documents for the trip to South Korea in time.
    5. Any refund penalty or cancellation fees due to the failure of document submission or failure to travel shall be paid by you.
    6. You must submit your interim poster and the final poster for the exhibition in time.

    Result Announcement: 10 January 2022, via email (email will be sent to successful applicants only)

    Induction: 12 January 2022 (if you fail to attend the induction, your place will be given to other shortlisted candidates)

    Activities in Korea: visits to Ministry of Unification, UniKorea Foundation, North Korean defector community, National Institute for Unification Education, DMZ and JSA; and meeting with students at Ewha Womans University

    2021 IKSU Korean Literature Review Contest Award Ceremony

    Hear our award recipients give presentations on their essays/recordings about ‘One Left’, ‘Untold Night and Day’ or ‘At Dust’, and congratulations messages from the author of One Left, Kim Soom, and the LTI.

    Date: 17 November 2021

    Time: 4.00pm

    Venue: Korea Corner at the University of Central Lancashire Library, or join via the Eventbrite link.

    Award winners

    • First place: Amy Rice (voice recording)
    • Second place: Catherine Cinnamon; and Isabell Karlsson
    • Third place: Devyani Narvekar; Molly Carr; and Queralt Boadella-prunell

    This event is funded by the Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI).

    Congratulatory message from Kim Soon

    (Original in Korean)

    안녕하세요. 저는 김숨입니다.

    한국어로 소설을 쓰는 저를 비롯한 한국의 작가들에게 의미 있는 ‘해외독자 대상 한국문학 리뷰대회’에 참가해주신 모든 분들께 감사를 전합니다. 또한 『한명』을 읽고 식민지시대 전시성폭력 피해자인 일본군‘위안부’의 아픔에 공감해주신 분들께 특별한 감사를 전합니다.

    이번 대회가 모쪼록 한국의 소설들이 영어권 독자들께 보다 가까이 다가갈 수 있는 시간이자 기회였기를 바라며, 수상자들께 진심 어린 축하의 박수를 보내 드립니다.

    (Translated in English)

    Hello, I am Kim Soom.

    I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who participated in the ‘Korean Literature Review Contest for Overseas Readers’, which is meaningful to Korean writers, including myself, who write novels in Korean. Also, I would like to express my special thanks to those who read 『One Left』 and sympathized with the pain of the Japanese military ‘comfort women’ who were victims of wartime sexual violence under Japanese colonial rule.

    IKSU Korean Literature Review Contest

    The International Institute of Korean Studies (IKSU) at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is hosting the 2021 Korean Literature Review Contest in the UK.

    The Korean Literature Review Contest is a new project that encourages readers outside Korea to share their reviews and thoughts on literary works by Korean authors. The reviews can be in text, video, audio, or performing arts of any kind.

    The winners of the contest will have their reviews posted and featured online via the LTI Korea website, social media, and Seoul International Writers Festival (SIWF).

    There will be awards for six places. The Awards Ceremony is expected to be held on 20 October 2021. The assessment panel will consist of academics in Korean Studies and/or professionals in Korean literature.

    • First place (one place): a book voucher, value of £500
    • Second place (two places): a book voucher, value of £300
    • Third place (three places): a book voucher, value of £100

    Read one of the following three books:

      • One Left – by Kim Soomo
      • At Dusk – by Hwang Sok-yongo
      • Untold Night and Day – by Bae Suah

    • Review: Max. 2,000 words in MS word file (in English) or 10 minutes in video/audio length. You must include your full name, and a short bio including your affiliation, in your submission email.
    • Deadline: 1 October 2021
    • Where to submit:

    The results will be announced through IKSU website on 18 October 2021, and the winners will be contacted by email individually.

    The Korean Literature Review Contest is funded by the Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI Korea), which is an affiliate to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea (South Korea).

    The UCLan IKSU Korean Literature Review Contest is open to public members in the UK.

  4. IKSU Book Essay Contest

    We’ve launched a Book Essay Contest to introduce Korean novels that are translated in English to overseas readers.

    There will be Awards for five places. Award ceremony is expected to be held in late October 2020. Assessment panel will consist of academics in Korean Studies and professionals in Korean literature.

    • First place (one place): a book voucher, value of £500
    • Second place (one place): a book voucher, value of £300
    • Third place (three places): a book voucher, value of £100 each

    Read one of the three books and send an essay about the book to the email address below. Book to read (choose one): you can find following books at the online bookstores or Amazon.

    Essay: 2,000 words in MS word file (in English).

    You must include your full name, a short bio, and your email address in your essay.

    Deadline: 28 August 2020

    Where to submit:

    The result will be announced through the IKSU website in October 2020 and the winners will be contacted by email individually.

    The Book Essay Contest is funded by the Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI Korea), which is an affiliate organization to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea (South Korea), and the IKSU.

    While it is open to public, for UCLan students and staff, there will be free books available (10 for each book) on a first-come, first-served basis, funded by Prof Niki Alsford. For more information, email with:

    1. Your full name
    2. Name of the book you want to write an essay about
    3. Your address where the book can be posted
  5. Social Sciences Korean Studies European Network (SoKEN) Workshop

    Korea at the Crossroads: Economic Development, Political Dynamics, and Social Changes in the Contemporary Korean Peninsula

    Date: 1–2 November 20019

    Location: UCLan, Preston campus, UK

    UK Secondary Education and Korea

    Date: 16 October 2019 (Wednesday)
    Time: 2pm – 4pm
    Location: UCLan, Preston campus, UK


    • Mr Aaron Wilkes, Author at Oxford University Press, History Teacher, St. James Academy
    • Dr Ed Griffith, Principal Lecturer in Asia Pacific Studies, University of Central Lancashire
    • Dr Michael Maddison, Independent Educational Consultant, Director of the Maddison Education Consultancy, Associate Vice President of the Historical Association, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and formerly Ofsted’s National Lead for history
    • Dr Niki Alsford, Reader in Asia Pacific Studies, Director of International Institute of Korean Studies, University of Central Lancashire
    • Dr Owen Miller, Lecturer in Korean Studies, SOAS, University of London
    • Mr Richard McFahn, ITE History Lead Tutor, University of Sussex
    • Students in Korean Studies

    Any further questions regarding this event, please email Dr Sojin Lim

    Lancashire Korea Festival

    A daylong celebration hosted by IKSU of both traditional and modern aspects of Korean Culture. With a host of events and performances throughout the day including:

    • Traditional Korean costume fashion show
    • K-Pop performance run by the Korean Society
    • Traditional Korean music concert
    • Korean handicraft workshops

    The Lancashire Korea Festival was hosted by the International Institute of Korean Studies and Supported by the Korean Cultural Centre UK.

    The 8th Annual Korean Screen Cultures Conference (KSCC 2019)

    The 8th Korean Screen Cultures Conference took place on 6th and 7 June, 2019, and was supported by the Korea Foundation. It built on the success of previous conferences at SOAS, the University of London (2012 & 2013), Sheffield Hallam University (2014), the University of Copenhagen (2015), King’s College (2016), Universität Hamburg (2017), and the University of Helsinki (2018).

    The Korean Drama and Korean Television Symposium

    On 5 June, 2019, we hosted the K-Drama and Korean TV Symposium, which was devoted to scholarship on South Korean TV dramas and other TV formats. The symposium critically engaged with some of the most important issues related to the production, forms, themes, and global circulation and reception of contemporary Korean television shows, including TV-dramas, reality TV, variety shows, chat shows and comedy, etc. Presenters were also invited to submit chapters to an edited collection.

    Peacebuilding and local communities

    In May, Dr Jeong-Im Hyun participated in a joint-conference, ‘Peacebuilding and Local Communities in Post-Conflict Societies: Challenges and Opportunities’, co-organized by Korean Institute National Unification (KINU) and The Trinity College of Dublin held in the Trinity College of Dublin.

    First TOPIK exam at UCLan

    In April, we held the first ever TOPIK exam at UCLan. These exams are held twice a year (April and November), and at only two locations in the UK: London, and Preston.

    Launch of Korea Corner

    On 8 April 2019, we launched Korea Corner, a Korean cultural space, funded by the Korea Foundation in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the UK.

    Korea Corner has about 1,000 books on both South and North Koreas, in English and Korean, along with some Korean artefacts.

    Roundtable at Chatham House

    On 21 March 2019, Dr Sojin Lim participated in the roundtable on Prospects for Economic Normalisation with the DPRK at Chatham House in London.

    Roundtable at LSE

    On 27 February 2019, Dr Jeong-Im Hyun took a part in the ‘New Reconciliations: the two Koreas’ roundtable discussion at the LSE.

    IKSU Korean taster session at secondary schools

    In late January 2019, Jungmin Lee visited Formby High School for a Korean language taster session. She was assisted by one of our students, Sarah Lawson, a former student at Formby.

Annual conference

Summer School 

IKSU Programmes

Current PhD students

Honorary professors and doctorates

Our partners

IKSU and UCLan have established a network of cooperation with strategic partner institutions in South Korea. International partnerships allow IKSU students to make the most of their studies, experiencing life and culture in South Korea. At the same time, Korean students are welcome in the UK, to spend a semester or summer abroad. 

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Academic expertise

Dr Sojin Lim
Reader in Asia Pacific Studies (with special reference to Korea)
School of Psychology and Humanities

Dr Lim mainly teaches subjects related to sustainable development, political economy and globalisations, and fragile states and accountability at MA level. Based on her expertise in both Koreas, Sojin has been invited to various media interviews domestically and internationally. …

Professor Niki J.P. Alsford
Professor of Anthropology & Human Geography
School of Psychology and Humanities

Niki Alsford is a Professor of Anthropology & Human Geography. He is also the Co-Director of RKE Institute for Area and Migration Studies (AMIS). As an anthropologist, Alsford welcomes proposals for doctoral research on society and culture within the Asia Pacific region. He is pa…


The International Institute of Korean Studies
Adelphi Building 149
University of Central Lancashire

Tel: +44 (0)1772 89 4511