Our Library Communications Fellow, Diane Zhou, has been awarded a Beijing22 research grant as part of Sponge Gourd Collective! Sponge Gourd Collective is a creative body consisting of Beatrix Chu, Daphne Xu, and Diane Zhou. They have collaborated in person in Beijing, and also remotely from Beijing, New York, and Boston. Their collection of backgrounds has resulted in a collaborative research-based practice grounded in fieldwork (interviews, site visits and observations), multimedia storytelling, and pushing their work collectively and as individuals to different level with each project.

Their previous projects include a zine about urban development in Beijing called People's Square. Comprising photography, ethnography and art, it is a snapshot of the transient moments that make up China's rapacious urban development and a dive into the dumps of land expropriation. For the Beijing22 Grant, they will be returning to Beijing in late March to create a research-based narrative art project documenting the trajectories of Beijing's new high-speed rail system and its potential cultural impacts. The project to be completed during the Beijing22 grant will explore the impacts of Beijing's High Speed Rail system on local residents.