Susan Conway is currently a Research Associate at the Institute of Development Studies at
Sussex University, UK and Visiting Professor, Shan State Buddhist University, Shan State.
She was previously teaching Shan studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies,
London and Southeast Asian Studies at The New School, New York.
Her books and papers cover the culture, arts and crafts of South-east Asia, specialising in Thailand and the Shan States of Burma (Myanmar).
She has conducted field work for thirty years, organising conferences and exhibitions in South-east Asia, Europe and the USA.
Her current research is on Tai Supernaturalism, the material culture of Magic. Her new book on the subject will be published in 2013.
Susan Conway is also an artist whose work is based on South-east Asian landscapes and Buddhist mural paintings.
Full CV for Dr. Susan Conway BA, MA PhD, FRGS:
Susan Conway has worked in inland South-east Asia since she
graduated with a fine arts degree in 1983. She was involved in the first
major team project to record and photograph the temple mural paintings
of Lan Na (North Thailand) and Isan (North-east Thailand), funded by
the Ford Foundation. This involved travelling to Buddhist monasteries in
the remote villages of the region at a time when there were no official
records of the number of temples, or appreciation of their original artistic
and architectural style. The project included an opportunity for the team
to hold an exhibition of their photographs in Bangkok, aiming to raise
awareness of the need for conservation and restoration.
During the fieldwork for this project, she lived in many villages and when
time allowed, added a photographic record of local arts and crafts. This
included women engaged in sericulture, raising cotton, dyeing thread
with vegetable and aniline dyes, and weaving cloth. Some of those
photographs, and the textiles associated with the fieldwork, are now in
the permanent collection of the Horniman Museum, London.
On her return to the UK she put this particular aspect of the work
together with a loan of historic textiles and dress to curate the first Thai
exhibition of its kind to be held in the United Kingdom. It was aimed
specifically at artists and designers, and museum curators and toured
art institutions. The catalogue “Thailand : Weaving and the Rice Cycle” (1990) explained the annual cycle of Theravada Buddhist festivals,
agricultural production and the creation of textiles for religious and household use.
This led to a book “Thai Textiles” published by British Museum Press in 1992, brought together an historical account of dress and textiles, using
temple mural painting photographs as illustrations, and enlarging on her earlier work, with emphasis on the cultural significance of textiles as an
expression of the creativity of women.
Since then she has published books on the culture, arts and crafts of North Thailand (“Silken Threads, Lacquer Thrones", 2003) and the Shan
States of Burma (“The Shan: Culture Arts and Crafts”, 2006).
She has also contributed to many books, including “Burma: Art and Archaeology”, British Museum Press, 2002, “Through the Thread of Time,
James H.W. Thompson Foundation, 2004 and “Myth, Status and the Supernatural”, James H.W. Thompson Foundation and River Books, 2007.
She was curator of the highly acclaimed exhibition “Power Dressing” that launched the opening of the James H.W. Thompson Museum in
Bangkok in 2003, built adjacent to the famous Jim Thompson House Museum.
Dr Susan Conway is a Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. From 2000-2004 she was Adjunct Professor
of South east Asian Studies at Parsons, New School University, New York.
In 2006 she returned to UK and re-joined SOAS where she taught Tai studies.
In 2017 she moved to the Institute of Development Studies as a Research Associate.
Site design: osirissystems.co.uk
The book "The Shan" by Susan Conway was formally presented by Dr Mark Brown, programme Director of DevelopEd to the Shan Literature
and Culture Association, Lashio (Northern Shan State). The organisation DevelopEd has donated boxes of books to local schools and education
groups in the Lashio area.
‘The Shan’ book being presented.
Shan Literature and Culture Organisation.
Latest News: In Thailand
With Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn to discuss the publication of the book "Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn Textile Collection:
Symbols of Love and Respect" Suan Pathum Palace Bangkok, November 20th 2019.
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri
Sirindhorn with Susan Conway following lunch
at her palace in Bangkok.
Latest News: The Shan States
Susan Conway is for one semester Visiting Professor at Shan State Buddhist University, Taunggyi, Shan State, from August to October 2018.
Latest News: In Thailand
Susan Conway is currently working on a catalogue of textiles and dress belonging to Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Her
Royal Highness has received textiles as gifts from every province in Thailand as symbols of love and respect.
HRH Maha Chakri Sirindhorn textile Collection: Symbols of Love and Respect
This book was produced as a tribute to HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on her sixty-fifth birthday.
Textiles and dress from all seventy-six provinces in Thailand are represented. Her Royal Highness travels
extensively throughout the kingdom to support the arts and sciences, schools and higher education and as
patron of charitable institutions. In particular HRH encourages traditional textile production in Thailand. The
book contains colour photographs of textiles and dress, notes on where and when they were presented to
HRH and for textile lovers, descriptions of raw materials and yarns and weaving and dyeing techniques.
Details: Colour illustrations and photographs
Publication: Office of HRH Princess Sirindhorn, printed by Amarin Printing and Publishing Public Co. Ltd