Global Urban Research Unit


Xiamen Research Project

Funded by the Xiamen-Newcastle Strategic Research fund to develop with fellow academics from Xiamen and Newcastle University a larger research project that will unpack issues of over-commercialisation and touristification at heritage sites in Fujian province, China. 

Dr Law is interested in exploring how certain sites have been promoted by Fujian's growth coalitions, whilst other heritage sites seem to have been forgotten or neglected. The project will bring academics together at Xiamen University for 10 days in May to discuss these issues further and to identify key empirical sites so as work up a new bid for the strategic fund.  It is possible that the workshop will include discussions and site visits to a series of well-known and less known heritage sites such as Gulangyu Island, Keqiutou, Damaoshan and Fujian Tulou; particularly of all these sites, Fujian Tulou will be of interest to the group because in 2008 it was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.  Moreover, as documents demonstrate the Fujian Tulou was a dwelling place of the Hakka people (an ethnic Chinese minority who have their own language and culture).  The Hakka people also known as Kèji? rén (linked to the term kè , or 'guest' literally 'people from the guest families') are said to have originated from Northern China, and the ‘Hakka language is sometimes described as 'somewhere between' northern Mandarin and southern Cantonese’ (Jordan, 2015).

As well as discussing tangible heritage sites, it is also hoped that the discussions will cover issues around intangible heritage (particularly music) and issues that focus on new forms of conservation policy and/or museum displays. With reference to the latter, participants at the workshop will undoubtedly show an interest in the politics of eco-museums and how consumable heritage might be constructed in more socially and environmentally conscious ways (with community participation/co-production). The new meeting in Xiamen will most likely include a range of participants from Newcastle and Xiamen University including, Professor Peter Stone, Professor Eric Cross, Mr Gerard Corsane and Dr Yuan Li and of course Dr Andrew Law.

The new project proposal will also include support from other heritage specialists at Newcastle University including Professor John Pendlebury.