An interview in the Farnham Connection

Louise Burke did a light-hearted interview with me back in January and the article is now published in the local magazine Farnham Connection, which was said to be “hand delivered to 6000 homes in Farnham and surrounding villages”. It was the first time I was asked to ‘name the most funny thing you did or said in your life’ and to recall ‘the best compliment you’ve ever had’ in an interview. Thought I’d put the text here for those of you who are not local to read something more about me.

The cover of the Farnham Connection Magazine, Issue 112, March 2014
The cover of the Farnham Connection Magazine, Issue 112, March 2014

Life and Times Profile

From Kaohsiung to Farnham – Dr Yuwei Lin

by Louise Burke

in Farnham Connection, Issue 112, March 2014, page 32-33

In this column my aim is to appeal to a broad range of people and interests and to demonstrate the colourful populous we have here in Farnham. This month is no different as we return to UCA Farnham to focus on one of its course leaders, Dr Yuwei Lin.

We know from a previous profile feature that the university is a major source of talent for the UK creative economy. Specialist undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in a broad range of disciplines combined with industry-standard facilities and top tuition, makes for a unique learning experience and was a key factor in Yuwei Lin joining the university in 2013. Yuwei was previously lecturing in Future Media at the University of Salford in Greater Manchester, a relatively short hop in comparison to the one that she made from her home country of Taiwan back in 2000.

Taiwan is an island located to the south of Japan and the west of China, with a population of 23 million. Yuwei was born and educated there until the age of 21 having completed a Diploma in Womens and Gender Studies followed by a BA Honours Degree in Economics at the National Taiwan University. The island has maintained a strong American influence after the second world war, and Yuwei always thought that she would end up there.

“Taiwan is a small island and I think if you live on an island there is always a thought about what lies across the sea that you can discover,” explains Yuwei. “Despite the obvious lure of the US when I came to the UK I instantly fell in love with it and have never looked back,” she adds.

Yuwei first came to the UK to study for her PhD in Sociology and believes she has much to thank her her PhD supervisor, Professor Andrew Webster, for. “He was willing to take the risk of supervising an overseas student who did not have a first degree in Sociology. Needless to say, Andrew has been a teacher, mentor, friend and role model ever since.”

Yuwei had a brief interlude in the Netherlands spending 12 months as a Post doctoral Research Fellow at the Vrije Universiteit’s Business School. She then moved to the School of Social Sciences at the University of Manchester, where she spent three years as a Research Associate. Yuwei’s belief was that she would one day be a journalist because she loves to get to the bottom of a story or situation. She also has an inherent passion for digital media cultures so it was no surprise when she landed up as a Future Media lecturer at the University of Salford.

I hope from what I’ve told that you are beginning to paint a picture in your minds as to the sort of person Yuwei is. Having studied and carried out a number of research projects in this area it’s probably fair to say that she has more than just a passing interest in the ethical debate.

Her move to UCA Farnham took place towards the end of 2013 and it’s worth expanding on Yuwei’s decision in her own words, “I have been used to larger universities but UCA is different, it’s smaller but much more focused in the courses that it delivers. The environment is cosy yet creative and inspirational. I felt an instant connection and in a relatively short space of time I have already developed a strong sense of affection for the place.”

Yuwei is the Course Leader for BA (Hons) Media and Communications and BA (Hons) Media and Creative Writing, and her aim is to develop UCA’s profile in these areas in order to attract students onto its courses for the next academic year.

So where does Yuwei get her inspiration to educate others? “I feel a wonderful sense of satisfaction when a student tells me that they have learnt something new or I have guided them to think in a different way. I also love researching new topics and engaging with colleagues from different backgrounds so that I can build on my knowledge and learn new techniques.”

All work and no play would make Yuwei a dull girl but that she isn’t. A regular at Farnham Scottish Country Dancing Club she also enjoys running and says her favourite weekend activity is hiking followed by a tasty Sunday Lunch. Although reluctant to boast about her own ability it appears that Yuwei is a more than competent musician and plays the piano, violin, trumpet and drums – she would one day like to play in a Jazz band.

Despite being highly organised in her professional life Yuwei owns up to being hopelessly forgetful in her personal life and likes nothing more than a good joke, she is an avid watcher of Have I Got News for You and Mock the Week. Just like a large number of her compatriots, and to her dissatisfaction, she is often mistaken for being Chinese – “It makes me a lot more aware of others and I am very quick not to draw conclusions from the way people look or speak.”

So what’s next for Yuwei? In the fast moving digital age it’s fitting that she would like to expand contemporary practice of Social Media among her students by encouraging them to put the creative skills that they learn to use in real life environments. To this note she is actively seeking to work with local businesses and community organisations. So, if you would be interested in participating please contact Yuwei via her UCA email (YLin21@ucreative.ac.uk).

And finally is there a piece of advice that Yuwei can give to aspiring students? “Be open-minded and never underestimate yourself, trust your own judgement and have an enquiring mind. Above all learn to develop your own style and turn it into reality.” Good advice I think – thanks Yuwei and good luck.

Farnham Connection Magazine Interview with Yuwei Lin, Issue 112, March 2014
Farnham Connection Magazine Interview with Yuwei Lin, Issue 112, March 2014

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