Dora Lam

2021 QEST Scholar - Contemporary art

After working in IT for a number of years, Dora decided to pursue her passion for art and enrolled on the graduate diploma course in Fine Art at the Royal College of Art (RCA). A QEST Scholarship will support Dora as she continues her studies with an MA in Contemporary Art Practice (Public Sphere), also at the RCA. The programme will allow her to deepen her practice in making art which generates social value, including pushing the applications and potential of community craft. 

Being exposed to a wider community of practitioners and ways of working during the course will allow Dora to collaborate in, and contribute to, projects which address community, cultural identity, the experiences of East and South East Asians in London and beyond, and pushing the potentials of craft, and making art more accessible, whether culturally, physically or financially. One of her focus areas is investigating the use of craft in a community and in families and previous projects have framed craft as an heirloom and the objects produced as the embodiment of cultural heritage, such as making clay dumplings together and collective drawing. She has recently worked with her local Chinese community to engage with their families in craft and conversation, ultimately to create closer connections and bridge the generational gap. Dora is currently working on an artist residency with China Exchange to engage the London Chinatown community in documenting and preserving the intangible cultural heritage of food practices. 

As a London-born artist coming from a working class immigrant family and a strict Asian upbringing, I aim to expand, challenge, and question the role of art, the artist and the sites we encounter them. In my work I seek to push boundaries and definitions of Britishness, of craft and of heritage. I believe my aims to fuel better understandings of the more complex nuances of the diasporic experience will be a lifetime’s work.