Michael LEUNG

Thesis Novel: Preliminary Materials


Thesis Novel: Preliminary Materials shares a wooden box of selected printed matter by Michael Leung, (self-) published from 2016 to the present day. The box also includes land struggles/resistances and direct actions in the New Territories, that preceded and focused Michael’s Ph.D. in 2018. Outside the box is a display of preliminary materials collated in preparation for his thesis novel, that include photographs, paintings, field notes, maps, seeds, and gifts from villagers in Wang Chau—a greenbelt village that is currently being displaced and evicted.

The thesis novel format inspires the reader to imagine what exists beyond theory and what the author originally intended. This work researches how fiction, a way of imagining worlds, encourages the academic to further elaborate on their fieldwork, research and thesis, and propose new ideas in an accessible way (non-journal, -paper and -conference formats)—as novels, novellas and short stories—that are able to weave places, bodies, and communities together.

In an article called Becoming more than it never (actually) was: Expressive writing as research-creation, researcher Sarah E. Truman writes that, "[...] both research-creation’s more-than-representational approach, and creative writing’s differential potential, have the ability to bring new events into being rather than merely report on them."1 Truman shares a research-led artistic practice in the form of creative writing that can lead onto the ‘thesis novel.’

1. Sarah E. Truman, “Becoming more than it never (actually) was: Expressive writing as research-creation,” Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy vol. 13 no. 2 (2016): 138. https://doi.org/10.1080/15505170.2016.1150226.

About the artist

Michael (he/him) is an artist/designer, researcher and visiting lecturer. He grew up in London, and moved to Hong Kong in 2009 to complete a Master of Design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His projects range from collective publications such as The HK FARMers’ Almanac 2014-2015 to Pangkerchief, a collection of objects produced by Pang Jai fabric market in Sham Shui Po. Michael is a visiting lecturer at Hong Kong Baptist University where he facilitates social practice (MA). He is currently in the third year of his PhD at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong. His research focuses on Insurrectionary Agricultural Milieux, rhizomatic forms of agriculture that exist in local response to global conditions of biopolitics and neoliberalism. After five months in Europe last year, Michael is currently conducting fieldwork in Wang Chau, in preparation for his thesis novel.