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International Institute of Korean Studies

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 is based in the School of Humanities, Language and Global Studies at UCLan, bringing 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. UCLan IKSU has become an official Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) test venue since 2019, and launched the only Korea Corner, funded by Korea Foundation in the UK in April 2019.

IKSU 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.

north korean building


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

Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK)

UCLan is an official TOPIK test venue. In the UK, you can take TOPIK tests twice a year in London or Preston (UCLan). For more information, visit the TOPIK website. For inquiries, please contact Ms Hye-Young Park or Dr Gigi Choi.

Korea Corner

Korea Corner is a Korean cultural space, which has over 4,000 books and DVDs on both South and North Koreas, in English and Korean, along with some Korean artefacts. The space is funded by the Korea Foundation, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the United Kingdom.

Korea Corner is open for browsing by members of the public with a valid ID within the UCLan Library. Public access is not available between the hours of 11am and 3pm, Monday to Friday inclusive.

For more details, please contact Rowann Fitzpatrick, or see the Library website for more access information.

Korean Literature Night

The Korea Cultural Centre has long held regular ‘Korean Literature Night’ events as a part of the K-Wave in London, and is now running similar events in the North West, at the UCLan IKSU Korea Corner, on the second floor of the UCLan Library.

Details about what the ‘Korean Literature Night’ is can be found on the Korean Cultural Centre's website.

Korean Literature nights open to all UCLan staff and students.

Previous events:

  • First Korean Literature Night, 12 February 2020, 5–7pm

Buddy programme

We buddy up our Korean pathway students with exchange students from Korea so that students can enjoy language and cultural exchange exercise.

Application period:

  • April – May for Semester 1
  • October – November for Semester 2

For inquiries, please contact Rowann Fitzpatrick.

Application period is subject to change.

Recruiting Buddies

As we have new incoming students at UCLan from Korea, we are looking to recruit buddies under the IKSU Buddy Programme for 2021/22 Semester 1.

IKSU Buddy Programme is voluntary based programme, and thus, there is no payment involved.

Note: Incoming students may wish to hold meetings online due to the current situation. Buddies must be able to accommodate online meeting requests.

If you are interested in IKSU Buddy Programme, please read the following carefully.

Application Submission Guideline:

  1. Email your application form to Rowann Fitzpatrick at By Wednesday 29 September, 5pm. 
  2. With your email title as “[IKSU Buddy, 2021/22 Sem 1] Full Name” -  If you do not abide by this, your application form will not be considered.
  3. Application form: 1-page MS-Word file by containing (1) your student number and full name, (2) your course name (APS, TESOL or MOLA), (3) contact information (email, mobile), (4) the reason why you chose Korean pathway, and (5) the reason why you want to be a buddy to Korean exchange students.

Applicant Eligibility:

  1. Enrolled in BA Korean language modules at UCLan
    a. Students must be enrolled in their second or third year of KO2001 and KO3001/3002 for 2021/22 academic year.
  2. No prior experience with IKSU Buddy Programme.

Buddy Duration:

  1. Begins from 1 October 2021.
  2. Ends when Korean exchange students leave for Korea.

Result Announcement:

  1. 30 September 2021 – only successful applicants will be contracted individually.

This is a ‘student-led’ process, and thus, we expect students to be accountable for their buddy roles.

"Overall it was a great experience that improved my University life, and I look forward to meeting those friends again when I go to Korea as part of the study abroad programme."

Adam Gareth Rowe, IKSU Buddy


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.

Honorary professors

Dr Michael J. Seth is a Professor of History at James Madison University. There he teaches East Asian and World history. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii, his M.A. and B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Seth is the author of Education Fever: Society, Politics and the Pursuit of Schooling in South Korea (2002), A Concise History of Korea (second edition, 2016), North Korea: A History (2018), and editor of The Routledge Handbook of Modern Korean History (2016).

Professor Eun Mee Kim is Dean of The Graduate School, Professor in the Graduate School of International Studies, Director of the Institute for Development and Human Security and Director of the Ewha Global Health Institute for Girls at Ewha Womans University. She served as President of the Korea Association of International Development and Cooperation (2011, 2012). She has served as a member on the Committee for International Development Cooperation under the Prime Minister’s Office, the Policy Advisory Committee in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Policy Advisory Committee in the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. In 2012, she received the Service Merit Medal from the Republic of Korea for her contributions to the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan. In 2013, she received the first research grant to a university in South Korea from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on her research project entitled, “Advocacy for Korean Engagement in Global Health and Development.” In 2016, she received a second grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a project entitled, “Korea Global Health Strategy.” In December 2016 she was appointed by the UN as one of 15 scientists in the world to work on the Global Sustainable Development Report 2019.

Dr Seon Jung Kim is Dean of International Office and Professor of the Department of Korean Studies at Keimyung University in Korea. She is also President of the Korean Language and Culture Education Society. She has published various of Korean text books in countries like United States, France and in Korea.

Current PhD students

Thesis: Involuntary Immobility and the aftereffects of migration in North Korea: Cross-border Remittances and Mobility in North Korea

Principal Supervisor: Dr Sojin Lim

Thesis: The Bodies of Kim: Preserving Political Eternity in North Korea through Monumentality

Principal Supervisor: Dr Jeong-Im Hyun

Thesis: Gastrodiplomacy in Contemporary International Relations of Asia Everyday Nationalism: Gastronomic Campaigns of North and South Korea, Taiwan and Japan

Principal Supervisor: Professor Niki Alsford

Previous PhD students

Thesis: United States’ Track II Diplomacy during the Second North Korean Nuclear Crisis (2002-2008)

Principal Supervisor: Dr Ed Griffith

Thesis: China’s Policy Towards South Korea: 1963-2017

Principal Supervisor: Professor Niki Alsford

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. Additionally, the IKSU Buddy Programme was launched in 2018–19 academic year for Korean subject students at UCLan and exchange students coming into UCLan from Korea. IKSU Buddy recruitment process happens twice a year, at the beginning of each semester.

Annual conference


Korean Politics and International Relations at Crossroads: Past, Present and the Future

University of Central Lancashire, UK, 7-8 January 2022

In the run up to the 2022 presidential election, the IKSU Annual International Conference will discuss how South Korea’s politics and international relations have evolved since the founding of the first Republic in 1948. The international relations of South Korea tend to heavily depend on each presidency, especially with regard to North Korea and relations with surrounding countries. In this sense, this conference will explore the past, present and future of South Korean politics and the international relations from a number of perspectives. After the conference, we will publish an edited volume based on the submitted papers. Papers from various disciplines are invited. Early career researchers and PhD candidates are also encouraged, along with academics at all stages of their career in a relevant field.

We plan to hold the first day of the conference at the main campus of the University of Central Lancashire, which is located in the city of Preston in the north of England, and the second day of the event at the Samlesbury Hall, a stunning 14th century manor house and gardens in Lancashire.

Schedule for Submission

  • Proposal (individual paper or panel) Submission Deadline: 20 April 2021
  • Acceptance Notice: 30 April 2021
  • Full Paper Submission Deadline (maximum 9,000 words including references): 30 November 2021
  • IKSU Annual International Conference: 7-8 January 2022
  • Revision Submission Deadline for Publication: 30 April 2022

As we plan to publish conference papers as an edited volume, previously published work will not be accepted.

Please send the proposal as an email attachment to Dr Sojin Lim at

Financial Support for Presenters

Travel cost will be reimbursed up to a maximum of GBP 100 for participants within the UK, GBP 250 for participants from EU countries, and GBP 500 for participants from the rest of the world. Up to three nights’ accommodation will be covered by the host, depending on the participant’s flight schedule. We expect presenters to also participate as discussants at the conference.

In the case that current COVID-19 situation persists until the conference dates, we will hold the event online. In this case, there will be no financial support for travel, but an honorarium for publication will be provided for the chapter authors of the edited volume. Venues are subject to change.

This conference is funded by the Academy of Korean Studies.

Summer School

2021 IKSU Korean Studies Summer School

Date: 28 – 30 June 2021

Time: 9.00 AM – 4.00 PM (UK Time)

Venue: Online (MS TEAMS)

The International Institute of Korean Studies (IKSU) at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has launched Korean Studies Summer School in 2021. The IKSU Korean Studies Summer School is free to attend and open to all. This Summer School is funded by the Korean Studies Promotion Service of the Academy of Korean Studies, Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea (South Korea).

To register for the 2021 Summer School, please complete the registration form.

2021 Summer School will be held online through MS TEAMS. Details about how to access to the Summer School will be sent to those who have registered near to the time.


28 June 2021 (Monday)

9.00 AM – 9.20 AM / Opening Session

Niki Alsford, University of Central Lancashire

9.30 AM – 10.50 AM / International Relations Session

South Korea's Foreign Policy Choices: Understanding the Geostrategic Dilemma

Ed Griffith, University of Central Lancashire

11.00 AM – 12.20 PM / Career Development Session

Korea and the International Organisations: UNRISD

Ilcheong Yi, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development

2.00 PM – 3.20 PM / History Session

Five Keys to Understanding Contemporary Korean History

Michael Seth, James Madison University

29 June 2021 (Tuesday)

9.30 AM – 10.50 AM / Film Session

The Transformation of South Korea Film

Andy Jackson, Monash University

11.00 AM – 12.20 PM / K-Pop Session

More Than A Wave: The Global Impact of K-Pop

Tamar Herman, Journalist, Author of BTS: Blood, Sweat & Tears

2.00 PM – 3.20 PM / North Korea Session I

From Traditional Security to Non-Traditional Security

Sojin Lim, University of Central Lancashire

30 June 2021 (Wednesday)

9.30 AM – 10.50 AM / North Korea Session II

North Korea and Europe

Jim Hoare, Chatham House

11.00 AM – 12.20 PM / Urbanisation Session

Speculative Urbanisation and the Politics of Displacement in Gentrifying Seoul

Hyun Bang Shin, London School of Economics

2.00 PM – 3.20 PM / Politics Session

Why There Is No Populism in South Korea (yet!)

Hannes Mosler, University of Duisburg-Essen

3.30 PM – 4.00 PM / Closing Session

This programme is subject to change.



We welcome submissions of previously unpublished manuscripts from across disciplines, which covers a range of issues related to Korea.

Submission Guidelines

  • No more than 8,000 words, including references
  • Abstract up to 200 words
  • List five keywords at the end of the abstract
  • Include all authors titles, affiliations and email addresses
  • Times New Roman, 12 font
  • Reference at the end of the paper by using Harvard referencing style
  • Use British spellings

If you would like to submit a paper to be included in our working paper series, please email to

Authors are responsible for ensuring that submissions do not breach copyright laws. 

News and grants


Dr Sojin Lim discussed recent North Korean crackdown on foreign media with Australian ABC News on 7 June 2021

Co-Directors of the IKSU, Professor Niki Alsford and Dr Sojin Lim have published a co-edited book “Assessing the Landscape of Taiwan and Korean Studies in Comparison (Brill, 2021), with the late Bruce Jacobs. You can find some more details here.

In May 2021, our previous MA North Korean Studies student (also former BA TESOL-Korean at UCLan), Lauren Robertson published an article on shrinking international presence in North Korea due to the pandemic published at The Peninsula Report. See her report here.

On 4 February 2021, our current MA North Korean Studies student (also previous BA Asia Pacific Studies Korean pathway), Kate Allanson published an article on female North Korean migrants in China published at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies. Find the article here.

Dr Sojin Lim was featured in the podcast ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ in the episode of North Korea. You can listen to it via Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

MA North Korean Studies course leader, Dr Sojin Lim published a Conversation piece about North Korea’s recent famine situation, cause by the COVID-19 self-isolation.

We are proud to share this great news: Callum John Moran, one of our APS students, won the second prize in the Peace in Korea Essay Competition organised by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the UK. Congratulations Callum. 

Essay Brief:
The essay covers a wide range of topics varying from how to mitigate failed defections occurring now, to how neighbouring countries would react to a western-aligned nation's expansion in the region, after unification. It includes coverage of some more common concepts such as comparing German unification, and some less obvious ones such as increased cooperation with ASEAN as things to be considered when looking at the next steps for peace on the Korean peninsula. Find more of the winners on the Announcement page.

Activities and events


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.

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

Tel: +44 (0)1772 89 4511