Vanessa Chen completed her Honours in Fine Art at the University of Cape Town in 2018. Her body of work stemmed from her younger self as a therapeutic guide in returning to a more subconscious, playful world through deconstructing learned ideologies. Much of her work, rooted within the theoretical framework of semiotics, invited her viewers to rethink what and how they’ve learnt.
In 2019, Vanessa spent three months as an intern at A4 Arts Foundation and five months at the IZIKO Social History Centre (through the Public Culture Internship course – UCT). There she was supervised by Paul Tichmann (Director of Digitisation and Collections).
In 2021 she completed her Masters of Philosophy in Digital Curation at the Department of Knowledge and Information Stewardship, University of Cape Town. Her dissertation was titled: "The archival records on Chinese slaves, convicts, exiles and ‘free blacks’ at the Cape of Good Hope (1654 -1838): Conceptualising a digital curation project".
Recently she has been offered the position as a Doctoral student in the Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative with Professor Carolyn Hamilton as her supervisor. She hopes to further develop the topic of her masters dissertation and execute a digital archive that houses the associated visual and material culture. She is also a digital producer and curator for the Five Hundred Year Archive.
Vanessa was recently awarded an Indian Ocean Exchanges Fellowship which is organized by Nancy Um, Professor of Art History and Associate Dean of Harpur College, Binghamton University and administered by the Research Foundation of the State University of New York. The exchange is supported by the Getty Foundation through its Connecting Art Histories initiative.