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Personal profile

Personal profile

Dr K. Cohen Tan has worked at both the UK and China campuses of Nottingham University. Since joining the School of International Communications in 2011, Dr Tan has a consistent track record of awards and nominations. These include:

2020-21: Nominated for Vice Chancellor’s Medal

2020-21: UNNC Spot Award

2020-21: Won Lord Dearing Award (Individual)

2019-20: Nominated for Vice Chancellor’s Medal

2018-19: Nominated for 2 x Staff Oscars: “Best Teaching Staff of FHSS”, “The Most Inspiring Person on Campus”.

2017-18: Won Lord Dearing Award (Team)

2016-17: Nominated for 2 x Lord Dearing Awards (Individual and Team).

2012-13: Nominated for Lord Dearing Award (Individual)

2011-12: Won Chancellor’s Award

Dr Tan has demonstrated academic leadership and impact through numerous contributions to the Teaching & Learning environment at UNNC. He pioneered and chaired the DANN network at university level to deliver on the implementation of Dignity Policy in 2016. He is also the project manager for Tu Haiming Scholarship, and has created many internship opportunities for students as well as engagement with external stakeholders (e.g. Ningbo Bang museum, Gi Group HR). ). Dr Tan also led on the School of Economics “Rising Star Programme” aimed at students’ personal and professional development

Dr Tan has consistently supervised the top 3 BA dissertations in each cohort since 2015:

2020-21: Hu Zichen (2nd), Yang Xinzhu and Zhao Zixuan (joint 3rd)

2019-20: Zhou Haoming (1st), Li Fang (3rd)

2018-19: Cheng Shuxin (1st), He Zhengning (2nd)

2017-18: Hou Shuyin (3rd)

2016-17: Abdullah Almiqasbi (3rd)

2015-16: Jenny Cheng (3rd)

In 2020, 41% of his DT students achieved distinctions, and 53% of students from Critical Communications received offers from LSE and Oxford. Dr Tan has also educated “responsible global citizens who are socially aware” (UNNC Strategy 2020) with the following notable alumni:

  • UN General Assembly Youth Representative
  • People’s Daily Newscaster in Beijing
  • Ningbo TV Newscaster in Ningbo
  • Schwarzman Scholar to Tsinghua University
  • China Oxford Scholar to Oxford University

Dr Tan has consulted for external agencies and government bodies in Singapore and China. He contributed to policy-making in Zhejiang province in 2017 via the Blue Book published by the Provincial Bureau, and was later invited in 2019 by the Zhejiang Provincial Branding Academy to give an Open Class on Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI) to industry leaders and policy makers. He is currently PI on Ningbo Social Science Academy (NBSSA) Research Base project on Dual Circulation with Nottingham University Business School (2021), in addition to serving as co-investigator on the NBSSA Research Base project on “Internationalising Ningbo Talent” with School of English and Education (2021).

Dr Tan has gained international recognition as an educator, becoming Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) in February 2021; he was also awarded the Provincial Level First Class Module by the Chinese MOE in April 2021. In September 2021, Dr Tan led UNNC to win the prestigious 2021 China Social Impact Awards organised by the British Chambers of Commerce and United Nations in a collaborative project between the university and Ningbo Bang Museum: https://www.nottingham.edu.cn/en/Press-Release/News-Article.aspx?id=ebc17cf9-cfe8-4f4e-9e46-36c1a92840ac&language=en-GB

Dr Tan was interviewed by the BBC on 6 May 2021 following the publication of his article "Sang subculture in post-reform China" and shared his views on the Russian online celebrity Lelush who became a reluctant anti-hero for Sang culture in China. The BBC news report reached No. 7 on the BBC website, and was quickly picked up on Weibo (Chinese Twitter equivalent) where the hashtag went viral, generating 150 million views and 48K+ discussions within 24hrs of release. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-56967923

Dr Tan was interviewed on 12 May 2021 by the Belgian national press Le Soir on the state of Chinese Generation Z (post-90s youth) in China. Following this, Dr Tan was contacted on 2 June 2021 by Agence France Presse (AFP). The attention from global media outlets demonstrate both Dr Tan’s thought leadership and significance of UNNC’s research culture in engaging with current issues in China.

Le Soir interview (in French): https://plus.lesoir.be/371752/article/2021-05-12/lelush-lantiheros-de-la-generation-z-chinoise

Agence France Presse (AFP) interview: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/chinas-disenchanted-youth-lie-flat-063533542.html

Weibo post: URL

ICV WeChat post: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/WbN0YSDHtfx4cgSKldcJDQ


  • Media, Text, Society
  • Media, Text, Culture
  • Critical Communications
  • Communication & Culture
  • Communication & Technology
  • Digital & Creative Media
  • Research Methods I & II
  • Researching Communication
  • Introduction to Psychoanalysis
  • Semiotics

Research Interests

Critical theory; Buddhist philosophy; Cultural studies; Deconstruction; Digital nomadism; Chinese subcultures;

Orcid Account: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6484-7209

Person Types

  • Staff


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