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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.

IKSU Korean Literature Translation Seminar Series

Based on the ‘Korean Literature Translation Workshop Grant’ provided by the Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI Korea), IKSU provides Korean literature translation seminar series.

Buddy programme

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

"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

Current PhD students

Previous PhD students

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


Economic Development and International Development Cooperation of the Korea Peninsula: Past, Present and the Future

University of Central Lancashire, UK, 3 - 4 April 2023

South Korea’s rapid economic success is a widely shared story. The role of South Korea as a donor member of the international development cooperation community has been extensively discussed, owing especially to the 10th anniversary celebration of its accession to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in 2020. However, with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increasing need to expand the narratives around South Korea’s experience of development from a fragile recipient country to a donor country, within and beyond the Korean peninsula, in a more contemporary context.

With this in mind, the 2023 IKSU Annual International Conference aims to explore how South Korea’s economic development and its international development cooperation have evolved, including in relation to North Korea. After the conference, an edited volume will be published. Additionally, a special issue journal may follow contingent on a sufficient number of publishable papers being received. Papers from various disciplines are invited. Not only established academics at different stages, but also early career researchers and PhD candidates in relevant fields are encouraged to submit.

Schedule for Submission

  • Proposal Submission Deadline (maximum 500 words of abstract): 30 March 2022
    • Note: provide your full name and affiliation, with title.
  • Acceptance Notice: 15 April 2022
  • Full Paper Submission Deadline (maximum 9,000 words including references): 28 February 2023
  • IKSU Annual International Conference: 3-4 April 2023
  • Revision Submission Deadline for Publication: 30 May 2023

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

Please send the proposal as an email attachment to

By submitting your paper, you are entitled to publish your manuscript as an edited volume if selected.

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.

Summer School 



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


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.

View more information on the Haenyeo 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

Related articles

  • north korean building

    Research led by Dr Sojin Lim on North Korea has informed policymakers’ approach to the country in the United Nations, the UK, the USA, and South Korea.

    Tuesday 7 September 2021


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

Tel: +44 (0)1772 89 4511