Dr Chen Chen

profile image


Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext 8747

Email: chen.chen@aut.ac.nz


Ph.D. in Art and Design (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand)
MA in Film Studies (The University of Edinburgh, UK)
Bachelor in Screen writing


Chen is an internationally exhibiting film director, writer and designer with a background in both film and television production.

She finished her PhD journey at AUT in 2018. It is a practice-led, artistic thesis including three film poems. This PhD thesis receives the Dean’s award for best Doctoral thesis in 2018. And these three film poems were officially selected by 18 international film festivals including the New Zealand International film festival.

Chen is teaching in Digital Design and postgraduate. She is currently supervising students from Master of Design and Master of Creative Practice programs. She has taught across a number of disciplines including short film making, Chinese philosophy and aesthetics, curatorial practice, and theory and context in film, animation and gaming.

Teaching Areas:

  • Short film production
  • Film poetry making
  • Theory and context in film, animation and gaming
  • Chinese film, art and philosophy
  • Curatorial practice

Completed MA supervisions:

Yunbo Qi.(2018). Laughter and Connection: Comedic mockumentary as tool for enabling cultural understanding between China and New Zealand, through the ritual of marriage: A production proposal [secondary supervisor]. http://hdl.handle.net/10292/12125

Ranran Cheng. (2018). How can design strategies be used to promote traditional nanjing yun brocade in an accessible way to engage with a contemporary audience [secondary supervisor]. http://hdl.handle.net/10292/12100

MA supervisions in progress:

Primary supervisor

Yaxiao Li. Returning to memory: exploring the role of interactivity in exhibition to promote the Chinese Oracle Bone Scripts [primary supervisor].

Abdlwahab Alkandary. Our Impact on Water: a Production Proposal of a Series of Public Service Announcements that Highlight the Current Effects of Plastic Litter on Water [primary supervisor].

Zhenggang Sun. An awareness campaign to combat problematic gaming behaviour in children [co-supervisor].

Jiashu Li. Exploring a Chinese compositional aesthetics inspired by the traditional Daoist ink painting [secondary supervisor].

Wenlian Jin.  Personal narratives into the contemporary Hanbok design [secondary supervisor].

Research Areas:

  • Narrative, design, and post-production in short film and film poetry
  • Pedagogical approaches to practice-led artistic inquiry
  • Chinese film, art and philosophy

Research Summary:

Chen is doing practice-led, artistic research including short films and film poems using a Chinese system, Xiang, as the central creative strategy. Xiang system is a philosophical and aesthetic system adapted from Chinese poetry. Her practice also explore Menglong (the amorphous or enigmatic) as an aesthetic visual style in communicating meaning and lyrical nuance of daily life.

In exploring these phenomena, she draws inspiration from the work of pre-existing poets. Significantly, she considers the potential application in short film of the restraint and delicacy that is indicative of poetry. Methodologically, a synergistic melding of Xiang system and heuristic inquiry is developed to heighten lyrical thinking within practice.

Current Research Projects:

I am researching:

  • How might the Chinese Xiang system be applied to the artistic development of film poetry as both a methodology and central creative strategy
  • What is the potential of menglong (enigma/mystery) as an artistic and narrative device within film poetry
  • How to visualise the subjective viewpoint of elderly patients who have been diagnosed with dementia in a poetic wa


I’ll be attending:

  • International film festivals and moving image exhibitions
  • International conferences about film poetry and dementia


Chen, C. (2018).  The Rethinking of Film in the Digital Era. Journal of Zhejiang Normal University. [Accept for publication in March, 2019]


Film Production Honours:

Chen, C. [Writer/director/designer] (2017). The Heart of Spring.

The online screener is available at: https://vimeo.com/242417969 and password is hmv8534

THE HEART OF SPRING was officially selected by independent juries for 13 international festivals, and it has to date been nominated for one award:

The 16th Hyperfest - International Student Film Festival, Bucharest, Romania (October 27, 2017)

The 2nd Asian World Film Festival, Los Angeles, USA (in the Signature Film Series - Short Film Days) (October 30, 2017)

The 21st Faludi International Youth Film Festival, Budapest, Hungary (November 18, 2017)

The 14th Scrittura E Immagine International Short Film Festival, Pescara, Italy (November 30, 2017)

The 2nd Lyrical Visions Poetry Film Festival, Lopdell House, Titirangi, Auckland, New Zealand (December 7, 2017)

The 2nd Rushes National Film Festival, Karnataka, India (February 28, 2018)

The 55th The Society for Photographic Education Annual Conference (in the 23rd Annual SPE Women’s Film & Video Festival), Philadelphia, USA (March 3, 2018)

The 51st Annual Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival (nominated for a Remi Award), Houston, USA (April 20-29, 2018)

The 2nd International University Cine-Letters Festival of Agadir, Agadir, Morocco (May 10, 2018).

The 2nd Silk Road International Poetry Film Festival 2018, Almaty, Kazakhstan (June 20, 2018)

The 50th New Zealand International Film Festival, Auckland, New Zealand (July 26, 2018)

The 14th Early Bird International Student Film Festival, Sofia, Bulgaria (November 1 - 5, 2018)

The 10th Lobofest Festival Internacional de Filmes,Brasília, Brazil (November 27 - December 4, 2018)

The 67th Columbus International Film and Animation Festival, Columbus, USA (April 11 - April 13, 2019).

Chen, C. [Writer/director/designer] (2017). Towards the Late Evening 1&2.

Towards the Late Evening 1 (The online screener is available at: https://vimeo.com/251746815 and password is hmv8534)

Towards the Later Evening 2 (The online screener is available at: https://vimeo.com/251747045and password is hmv8534)

TOWARDS THE LATE EVENING 1&2 have been officially selected by independent juries for 5 international festivals and 1 exhibition:

The 2016 Huixiang of Echoes exhibition, Sichuan University Gallery, Chengdu, China /Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand (November – December, 2016).

The 1st Lyrical Visions - Poetry Based Films, Auckland, New Zealand (December 8, 2016)

The 6th CYCLOP International Poetry Film Festival, Kyiv, Ukraine (November 25-26, 2017)

The 2017 Echo Film Festival BRICS, Moscow, Russia (December 14, 2017)

The 6th International Video Poetry Festival Athens, Athens, Greece (January 19, 2018)

The 6th Chania Film Festival, Chania, Greece (October 24 – November 3, 2018).

Academic Honors:

Winner of the 2018 Dean’s award for best Doctoral thesis in Art & Design at AUT

China National Scholarship in 2008.