International Institute of Korean Studies

About The International Institute of Korean Studies

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IKSU is a hub of research, teaching and public policy on the two Koreas. IKSU is home to teaching from undergraduate degrees through to doctoral work and provides innovative research and insight from the fields of Humanities and social science.

In 2012, building on over twenty years of and research in East Asian Studies, especially in Japanese and Chinese studies, UCLan made a strategic decision to substantially invest, from its own resources, in Korean Studies. In 2012/2013, the university launched three undergraduate degrees, in which the Korean language is studied as a core language: Asia-Pacific Studies, Modern languages and Teaching English as a Second Language. Student interest was high from the inception of the degrees and numbers have grown along with the numbers of staff employed by the university to teach Korean language and Korean Studies.

The International Institute of Korean Studies –UCLan (IKSU) was formally launched in 2014 to bring together the wide range of Korea-related activities with which UCLan is engaged, across the university, in research, teaching and public policy. The intellectual focus of IKSU is the two Koreas. The emphasis is on investigating post-division international relations, politics, society and culture in both the Republic of Korea (the ROK or South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the DPRK or North Korea) – what is idiosyncratic to each and what are the commonalities between the two states and societies after seventy years of political division.

Many of our students are interested in and excited by the contemporary culture of South Korea – from KPop to movies to fashion to gastronomy to sport. Our degrees explore Korean culture as a global phenomenon. UCLan students have been financially supported by the university to visit South Korea and IKSU maintains active exchange partnerships with universities in South Korea for the benefit of our students. Students have taken short courses in South Korea and have study for a year in a Korean university as part of their degrees.

Meet the team

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Dr Niki Alsford is Reader in Asia Pacific Studies at the School of Language & Global Studies at UCLan and is Director of the International Institute of Korean Studies.

Dr Alsford is a historical anthropologist/ethnohistorian by training and welcomes proposals for doctoral research on Asian Pacific history and society in particular he is interested in supervising a project on the role of the BBC on the Korean Peninsula and research on Pacific nations studies.

Prior to joining UCLan, Dr Alsford was Research Fellow at the Oriental Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences as part of a research project titled: Power and Strategies of Social and Political Order of which his contribution was primarily the continuation of his work on comparative Taiwan social history. A core part of this project explored the formation and development of urban spaces in the Asia Pacific region.

Dr Alsford is an appointed Research Associate at the Centre of Taiwan Studies at SOAS, the University of London and a Research Fellow at Ewha Institute of Unification Studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea. He was formally an elected executive board member of the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS). He is currently a strand convenor for the Social History Society and is  Co-Editor of the BRILL Series in Taiwan Studies. He has worked on a number of collaborative projects that include the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines, the Council of Indigenous Peoples, and the National Museum of Taiwan History.

He is a Fellow of Royal Asiatic Society and Country of Origin Expert (Taiwan) for the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI)

  • Ph.D. Modern East Asian History, School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), the University of London, 2015
  • MA, Asia Pacific Studies, National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan, 2011
  • Bsc (Hons) Applied Social Science (Anthropology & Criminology), the University of Southampton, 2006

Please view Dr Alsford’s full biography and social media.

Dr Sojin Lim

Dr Sojin Lim

Dr Sojin Lim is Senior Lecturer and MA North Korean Studies Course Leader at the School of Languages and Global Studies of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). She also works as Deputy Director of the International Institute of Korean Studies. Dr Lim welcomes proposals for doctoral research on inter-Korea development policy, development assistance to North Korea, or a comparative studies of fragile state development. Prior to joining UCLan, Dr Lim worked for aid agencies as senior research fellow with hands-on field experiences. She also worked as external lecturer in universities in Korea. Dr Lim has conducted various projects with international organisations as well. She obtained a BA and a MA from Ewha Womans University, and a PhD from the Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM) at the University of Manchester. Dr Lim’s research interests lie at development studies, area studies, public policy, and political economy: development experience of South Korea; development assistance to North Korea; transformation of state system; institutional development and public policy in developing countries; global norms and compliance. Please view Sojin’s full biography.

Dr Hae-Sung Jeon

Dr Hae-Sung Jeon

Dr Hae-Sung Jeon was awarded a Ph.D. from the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at the University of Cambridge in 2012. Dr. Jeon was Research Associate at the Phonetics Laboratory, University of Cambridge, prior to joining UCLan in September 2012. Her areas of expertise are acoustic phonetics, laboratory phonology and Korean linguistics. Her current research projects are on the Korean fricatives, word segmentation in Korean, and perception of linguistic pitch and rhythm. As Subject Leader of Korean Studies, she has developed undergraduate curriculum at UCLan. Please view Hae-Sung's full biography and publications.

Dr Xi Chen

Xi Chen is the associate lecturer in Korean. She has been teaching Korean and Chinese for over five years. Xi is currently completing her doctoral studies at School of Oriental and African Studies. Her research interests include pragmatics, applied linguistics and linguistics in East Asian languages. Please view Xi Chen's full biography.

Jungmin Lee

Ms Jungmin Lee

Jungmin Lee is an associate lecturer in Korean language and culture. She has ten years of experience teaching Korean as a second language to university students. Prior to joining UCLan, Jungmin taught at Kyoungin Women’s University and Yongin University and has worked to develop and modernise Korean language curricula. Her main interests include bilingual education, student motivation in foreign languages and textbook design. Jungmin holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching Korean as a Second Language, Seoul National University, an MA in International Area Studies from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and a BA in Political Science and Diplomacy from Sogang University. Her publications include Park, Miroung, Lee, Jungmin & Cha, Haekyoung 2012 My Korean Friend 1, Seoul, Hankook Munhwasa. (In Korean); and Moon, Sunhee, Burg, Damon & Lee, Jungmin 2011 Conversations in the Fashion Industry, Seoul, Sidaegosi, (In Korean).

Please view Jungmin’s full biography.

Mr Mark Plaice

Mark Plaice is a Professional Korean Tutor in the School of Language and Global Studies at UCLan. He specialises in teaching beginner’s Korean. His research interests include contemporary South Korean popular culture, with a particular focus on Korean gangster films, spatial relations in genre film, and Korean TV drama and streaming media. He is also is a specialist in East Asian cinemas.  Please view Mark's full biography.

Dr Jihye Kim

Please view Jihye’s full biography.

Dr Seonghye Moon

Dr Seonghye Moon is IKSU Project Manager. She has a PhD in Education from the University of Reading. Her doctorate involved a critical ethnographic case study of Korean sojourner families in the UK, with a focus on globalization, educational migration, language, culture and identity. Before Dr Moon came to UCLan, she worked on various research projects in several UK universities including Cambridge, Reading and Bath Spa. Her ongoing research interests are in language and education, in particular issues related to bilingualism and multilingualism. She has managed several educational programmes and projects both in the UK and Korea. One of her projects was the successful development and management of a course on English language and British culture for Korean university students at the University of Reading. She has also worked as an educational consultant on a wide range of issues related to EAL, academic skills and qualitative research methods in social sciences.


Ms Rowann FitzPatrick

Rowann Fitzpatrick is an intern working within the school of Languages and Global studies at the University of Central Lancashire. Currently, she is a Student of UCLan in the last year of her Batchelor Degree (BA) in Fine Art.

Prior to UCLan Rowann volunteered within the Bradford City Council and the Leeds Youth Service helping to execute events within their local communities.

Internal Research Associates

Ed Griffith

Dr Ed Griffith

Ed joined UCLan in September 2014 for the rapidly expanding Asia-Pacific Studies. He is continuing to work on research into the Sino-Japanese relationship and different perspectives on East Asian international relations more generally. He holds: a Ph.D. in East Asian Studies from the University of Leeds, an M.A. in Japanese Studies, also from the University of Leeds, another M.A. in Chinese Studies from SOAS and a B.A. (Hons.) in International Relations & Global Politics from Nottingham Trent University, 2007. Ed Griffith’s research interests are mainly focused on the international relations of East Asia, in particular the Sino-Japanese relationship and China’s approach to its own changing role in the region. He is interested in exploring how established IR theories can be adapted to deepen our understanding of China’s behaviour in developing its relationships with neighbouring countries.

Please view Dr Ed Griffith’s full biography.

Dr Lara Momesso

Dr Lara Momesso is a Lecturer in Asia Pacific Studies at the School of Language and Global Studies at UCLan. Her research interests include contemporary migrations across the Asia Pacific region with a particular focus on marriage migration between China and Taiwan, family formation in contemporary Chinese societies, gender in the Asia Pacific region. She also is a specialist on contemporary Chinese and Taiwanese societies.

Please view Dr Lara Momesso's full biography.

Dr Andrew Levidis

Dr Andrew Levidis is a historian of modern Japan and East Asia, whose work focuses on political history, history of international relations, and the modern historiography of war. He received his Ph.D. in History from Kyoto University, and has been a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University (2014-2015), Lecturer in the History Department at Harvard, and a Fellow in the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard (2015-2016). Before joining the school, he was a Research Associate Fellow in Modern East Asian History at the Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge, and a member of the ERC Project "The Dissolution of the Japanese Empire and the Struggle for Legitimacy in Postwar East Asia." 

Please view Dr Andrew Levidis full biography.

Dr Bill Mihalopoulos

Dr Bill Mihalopoulos is a Lecturer in Asia Pacific Studies at the School of Language and Global Studies at UCLan. He has a wealth of international teaching experience having worked in Australia, Japan, Korea, U.A.E and United States of America.

Please view Dr Bill Mihalopoulos's full biography.