Category Archives: Visuals


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Exhibition 24th April to 7th May Hong Kong University

IMG_0510We are very excited to announce our forthcoming exhibition Lifestyle Migration in Asia – An Interpretive Photography Exhibition(see below). The exhibition will be held in Hong Kong in April/May next year, 2015. We are advertising this you now so that you can fix the date in your diaries if you would like to attend and also to ask if you would consider contributing. It would be really fantastic if you felt able to send us a photograph, or a short video with a small amount of accompanying text telling us how this photo or video illustrates aspects of your life as a migrant in Asia. The final selection of photographs will be made by us, based on quality and available space, but we will do our best to exhibit all that we receive. Please do let us know if you want to know more, and feel free to use the blurb below to advertise the event.

All best wishes: Kate Botterill, Maggy Lee, Karen O’Reilly and Rob Stones


Lifestyle Migration in Asia – An Interpretive Photography Exhibition

The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

24th April to 7th May 2015

Lifestyle Migration is the, often flexible and fluid, movement of relatively affluent people to places that they believe will offer them a better quality of life. There is usually an economic incentive to their mobility, but the search for the good life is paramount in their motivations. Lifestyle migration is an increasingly widespread phenomenon, with effects for migrants, locals, cultural life, and economic life. So, what can we learn about human life from lifestyle migrants? How and why do lifestyle migrants move? What are their needs and aspirations, the joys and challenges, continuities and discontinuities of their mobile lives? What is it about particular destinations that makes them attractive for them?

This photography exhibition offers us a glimpse of the diverse motivations and everyday experiences of Western migrants in Thailand and Malaysia and Hong Kong migrants in mainland China. Through the eyes of participants in our ongoing research project ‘Lifestyle Migration in East Asia’ ( these photographs reveal fascinating aspects of life ‘on the move’ for men and women, young families and those in retirement. The accompanying excerpts illustrate the interior worlds of migrants in which experiences, loyalties and memories from two places co-exist and combine. Research funded by the ESRC/Hong Kong Research Grants Council: RES-000-22-4357

Time lapse video of Penang

Lifestyle Migrants in Penang often seem to celebrate their adopted country, sharing experiences, photos, blogs, events, advice and so on. Have a look at this wonderful time lapse video of Penang that has been circulating recently. It has been compiled by Fwukai Quah from over 15000 photos. Click here

What does lifestyle migration mean to you?

Livvie Cunningham (lifestyle migrant in KL) spent some time thinking what photos she could send us that expressed how she feels about her lifestyle in Malaysia. There are a fair few, she says:


    “the lovely fountain outside our home that would be inconceivable in London”




    “the cracking sunset I’m so lucky to see each evening”





     “doing the weekly shop – but these days at a local fruit & veg market”



“or perhaps a group shot of the lovely friends we made that marked the start of feeling so much more “embedded” here.  But the one I have attached says, perhaps, a bit more, despite being a much less beautiful photo. I took this snap at our local “posh” supermarket.  Stunned of course to see Waitrose Essential products there, but to see them priced higher than branded products seemed so backward! Seeing a Waitrose product made me think suddenly about how you feel when you move across the world: amused/frustrated so often by things that seem familiar but turn out to be quite different; oddly comforted to see a slice of “home” yet a bit guilty about that.  Is it ok to want to feel connected to things from the UK, when we moved out here to live a new, different life?  Which place should I refer to as “home” now?  If I bought that product, would I be “cheating” at life out here…? “

Random images from Penang


Line dancing at Gurney Plaza, 7.30am.

This mixed nationality group meets every day to practice line dancing, before the sun comes up. If you look closely you will spot one British woman in there dancing with the locals. This group travels throughout Asia with their sport.







An impromptu temple for the hungry ghosts

It is the season of the hungry ghost and this temple was set up in the street under canvas. It had an altar where joss sticks could be lit, and paper money burnt and food offerings made for the ghosts.  There was also an impromptu opera! We missed the event unfortunately, but it’s been impossible to miss the little bonfires that keep cropping up in the street, and the food offerings left dotted about outside people’s houses.





Lovely lifestyle migrants

This is Becky and Tami, who kindly told me about their lives in Penang and let me take their photos too! We are in Becky’s house, which has some fascinating Japanese influences from her life there.


Blogs on Penang

I have found two wonderful blogs that are both about life in Penang for ‘lifestyle migrants’ (I hope they don’t mind me calling them that).

One is Tropical Expat

The other is  Musings on Penang

Just click on their names for the link. They are both full of lovely photos, fascinating insights, and many meandering musings. I love them!

Do let us know if you find others, and any on Thailand.


Frances Wilks takes a look at the ways GeorgeTown has changed in the four years since UNESCO made it a World Heritage Site.

Snapshots of George Town –