Xiyuan joined Loughborough University School of Design and Creative Arts as a Lecturer in Graphic Design in September 2021, after completing their PhD in the department.

Originally from Wuhan, China, Xiyuan was awarded a BA in Artistic Designing at Wuhan University (2011-2015). After that, Xiyuan travelled to UK and gained an MA in Creative Arts Practice at Newcastle University (2015-2016), before joining Loughborough University as a PhD researcher (2017-2021). During their PhD, Xiyuan has presented in conferences and published research articles in the areas of comics, Chinese ethnic minority representation and drawing.

Apart from academic activities, Xiyuan continues to take part in creative industry activities as a practitioner, touching upon areas such as illustration, graphic design, comics and animation. Xiyuan is a long-term contract illustrator for Visual China Group, and has provided illustrations for clients including Alibaba, Yum China, BMW (China), CR Snow, Ping An Insurance and Yili Group. Additionally, Xiyuan runs fanart accounts on Twitter and Instagram, and fan animation accounts on YouTube and Bilibili.

Xiyuan’s research interests include illustration, drawing, character design, visual representation, and sequential narratives. Their PhD project, titled ‘Representation of Chinese Minority Ethnicity in the Contemporary Context: Constructing Fictional Characters in a Chinese Zhuang Folktale Adaptation’, looked into the representation of Chinese ethnic minority people from an underexplored perspective. By using reportage drawing as a method for collecting first-hand visual materials of ethnic people, and sequential imagery as a tool for enhancing representation, Xiyuan designed and illustrated comic characters that display the Zhuang ethnicity with their physical features, cultural habits and behavioural patterns, rather than with conventional factors such as traditional dress and artefacts. These comic characters were put into the context of a modernised folktale to communicate their ethnic identities.

In the future, Xiyuan hopes to extend their PhD research to a wider context, and further investigate the roles of drawing and sequential narratives in the representation of minority groups and mis/underrepresented groups, while continuing the analysis of character designs of ethnic minorities and marginalised cultures. Besides, they are also interested in the cultural differences between China and UK in illustration education and industry.

Xiyuan is currently teaching:

  • ACA801 - Visual Research in Practice
  • ACA802 - Visual Methods in Practice
  • ACB803 - Content and Context: Society, Culture and Economy
  • ACP105
  • ACC810


China Fire and Rescue Cartoon Mascot Design Contest: First Prize (2021)
Loughborough University Research Conference 2018 Poster Competition: Delegates Choice Award (2018)
Visual China Commercial Illustration Contest: Best Traditional Culture Illustration Award (2018)

External activities:

Visiting lecturer at Norwich University of the Arts (2021)

Xiyuan is happy to supervise doctoral researchers who are interested in:

  • Illustration for representation
  • Sequential narratives for representation
  • Exploratory character design/illustration
  • Life-drawing as a means of visual interrogation
  • Visual representation of Chinese ethnic minorities