Northern Institute of Taiwan Studies

Our centres

The Northern Institute of Taiwan Studies (NorITS) is an interdisciplinary hub of teaching, research, public policy and cultural activities.

NorITS is nestled under the Institute for the Study of the Asia Pacific (ISAP) which serves as the umbrella institute for Asia Pacific Studies at the University of Central Lancashire.

About us

Established in June 2018, NorITS is the outcome of a coordinated effort by five experts in Taiwan Studies, Prof Niki Alsford and Dr Lara Momesso, as NorITS Co-Directors, Dr Adina Zemanek, Dr Ti-han Chang and Dr Moises Lopes de Souza as members of the team, each approaching Taiwan from a different disciplinary angle, including history, anthropology, gender studies, migration studies, cultural studies, environment studies, literature and international relations.

The main aim is to promote the development of academic study on Taiwan and take part in social and cultural exchanges.

Meet the team

Dr Lara Momesso
Senior Lecturer
Dr Adina Zemanek
Lecturer in Asia Pacific Studies

Honorary professors

PhD students


NorITS teaching and research is underpinned by formal relationships with academic partners and embedded in global academic and policy networks through the activities and research of UCLan’s academic staff. At UCLan, students study Taiwan at Undergraduate, Masters and PhD level. Furthermore, all students are entitled to apply for travel bursaries and to use the various language learning media and resources available via the university’s Worldwise Learning Centre.

In the second year of the Undergraduate Asia Pacific Studies programme, students can opt to take the Taiwan in the Asia Pacific Module. The top five students based on the assessment have the chance to go to Taiwan as part of the Travelling Seminar

Taiwan Travel Seminar

The Taiwan Travel Seminar is a student experience trip to allow a group of selected students who attended the module ‘Taiwan in the Asia Pacific’, to get to know Taiwan first-hand.

"The Taiwan Travel Seminar was the highlight of my year! It was a great opportunity to experience what I have learnt in the classroom in real life and being able to visit such a beautiful place is something I never thought would happen. I learnt a lot about myself along the way while also discovering new areas of research for future projects as well as meeting so many amazing people! If you haven't been to Taiwan I recommend going!"

Atlanta Waples, Asia Pacific Studies student


Transition at UCLan

18 April 2023 (ABLT4 and The Ferret)

Transition is a rock band whose music is a fusion of Eastern and Western musical influences. Their roots are in Bristol but they combine this rock foundation with Asian rhythms and melodies, producing music that inspires audiences from all around the world. Join their workshop in ABLT4 to hear their story of how they connected Asian and British music scenes.

Movie screening: And Miles To Go Before I Sleep

24 March 2023 (FLT2 15-17)

Nguyen Quoc Phi was nobody before he died, but now he tells his own story as a young migrant from Nghệ An, Vietnam, to Taiwan in this documentary. Phi was an undocumented migrant worker, or a ‘runaway’, in northern Taiwan before he was shot dead by the police on 31 August 2017. What made him ‘run away’ from his factory work? How did he find jobs in various construction sites? Why did he start taking drugs? Was he an imperfect victim? These are straightforward questions leading to complicated answers. And More Miles to Go Before I Sleep brings to the fore the nakedness of discrimination and the challenges to humanity if we choose to be bystanders indifferent to inequality and injustice. Followed by a discussion with Tsai Tsung-Lung (Director/National Chung Cheng University), Isabelle Cheng (Portsmouth University), Mina Chiang (Humanity Research Consultant.

Taiwan Festival
Sasa Istenic - University of LjubljanaTaiwn Democratic Transition and Consolidation

17 March 2023 (ABLT3 11-12)

The last talk linked to the Taiwan Festival will be delivered by Dr Saša Istenič Kotar. Saša Istenič Kotar is Assistant Professor in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Ljubljana and Director of the Taiwan Study Center in Slovenia. She is also an Executive Board Member of the Slovene East Asia Resource Library (EARL), and an Associate Board Member of the International Journal of Taiwan Studies (IJTS). For her research, she has received a number of scholarships and awards, including the National Sun Yat-sen University award for an outstanding doctoral dissertation. She has presented papers in many national and international conferences worldwide and published various articles on topics related to Taiwan and China studies. For this talk, Dr Istenic will explore the gradual consolidation of Taiwan democratic environment.

Asia Pacific Film Festival, Taiwan part

10 March to 27 April 2023

This year’s film journey was primarily into animation, with special emphasis on countries whose productions are less well-known and accessible than Japanese anime: China, South Korea or Taiwan. The programme also included new cinema forms (VR) and shorter experimental works combining a variety of media and diverse cultural traditions.

Taiwan Festival
Lisa Hou, German Women's Council, Berlin: From "Empowerment through Empathy" to #MyLifeIsNotYourPorn: Digital Feminist Activism and the Manifestation of the #MeToo Movement in South Korea and Taiwan

10 March 2023

The second talk linked to the Taiwan Festival is with Dr Lisa Hou. Lisa Hou works for the German Women's Council in Berlin. At UCLan, she discussed digital feminist activism and the manifestation of the #MeToo movement in South Korea and Taiwan.

Taiwan on Air is now hosted by New Bokks Network

06 March 2023

What is Taiwan for the world and the world for Taiwan? In this podcast series, a group of Taiwan specialists based at the University of Central Lancashire, chat with book writers, artists, directors, professionals from, or with, an interest in Taiwan and explore how the ‘little’ island of Taiwan can be a starting point to (re)think the way we look at the world. Whether you already know Taiwan, you want to know more about it, or you just want to be inspired by it, this is the podcast for you!

Guest talk: Jaqueline Berndt, Stockholm University: Manhua and/or Manga? How to Name Comics in Taiwan and other Sinophone Settings

21 February 2023

Jaqueline Berndt is Professor in Japanology at Stockholm University. Her main academic work is on manga as graphic narratives from the perspectives of media aesthetics, new formalism, and materialities. This talk explored the issue of naming comics in a Sinophone context in particular. The starting point for discussion was the word manga, which entered usage in Western languages in the late twentieth century: its cultural hegemony, its connotation of corporate productions, and attempts to explicitly distinguish manhua from manga when using Western Roman letters as distinct from Chinese characters. The talk also considered “alternative,” often publicly funded comics, often conceived in opposition with manga. It reflected on whether the two types of comics should be treated as one media, or one field of cultural production, and on their shared commonalities.

Taiwan Festival
Emma Teng - Hidden Jade in a Ball of Mud?: Taiwan’s Imagined Geography and Qing Settler Colonialism

10 February 2023 (ABLT4 12-13)

As part of the Taiwan Festival, a series of talks with Taiwan experts has been organised. The first talk is with Professor Emma J. Teng. Emma Teng is the T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations at MIT. She teaches classes in Chinese culture, Chinese migration history, Asian American history. In this guest talk she will be exploring Taiwan imagined geography and Qing settler colonialism.

Roundtable on Taiwan Studies: The Challenges and Opportunities of Taiwan Studies in a Changing World

27 January 2023 (ABLT5 15-16:30)

Follow us in this roundtable with renowned scholars in the field of Taiwan Studies, including: Prof Dafydd Fell (University of London), Dr Bi-yu Chang (University of London), Dr Ssu-han Yu (University of Oxford), Dr Chun-yi Lee (University of Nottingham).