Kim Yang: Hello, Goodbye — CIW professional staff by day, singer-songwriter by night

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Over the last five years, Kim Yang has been the front face of CIW — replying to e-mails, setting up for events, greeting guests, making people feel welcomed and safe in the CIW building... the list goes on. In this written interview, she shares with us her role at CIW and some of her life's passions. While we are sad to see Kim go, we are excited for her music career and wish her all the best!

What does your role entail?

Previously as an Administrative Assistant, now an Engagement and Events officer at CIW, my role is to engage with all academics and PhD students whose research aligns with the Centre’s research disciplines.

Visiting Fellows, Visiting Students and Library Fellows are also looked after during their visit. My role helps to connect the College and the academics from within CAP and outside of CAP, as CIW is a hub of Chinese studies in various disciplines.

How does it fit in with the rest of the team? What does the team as a whole look after?

Our team is small but we have a big vision. We have two professional staff and our Director at the Centre at the moment. Besides the day-to-day errands with academics and PhD students from various schools and colleges across campus, we also provide government courses, public lectures, the CIW Annual Lecture, Morrison Lectures, ANU China Seminar Series.

We also have our annual, thematic publication called the China Story Yearbook, which has a big following from government departments, the general public and the academic world inside and outside of Australia.

In the past year, we’ve worked closely with the College to host colleagues from other parts of CAP due to the Coombs Building refurbishment. We also have strong connections with the University as well as government organisations. In previous years, we have had visitors from high schools and DFAT’s visiting program, and we have a connection with Canberra’s Association for Learning Mandarin in Australia to help them conduct their tutoring program and activities.

Favourite part of the job?

Hosting public lectures and events that connects the public.

Most challenging part of the job?

Things are always changing at CIW so as a small team we need to be hands on at all time.

Detail of studies, if any, or job history?

I studied German in SooChow University (Taipei, Taiwan) and at the Universitaet Muenster (Germany). I worked in a Backpacker Hostel in Taipei for two years, then a five-star Hotel in Tainan for a few months before working in Cathay Pacific Airways for 1.5 years.

After moving to Canberra I worked as a childcare worker, a horse racing news translator (from English to Chinese, and from English to German) and now I am at ANU.

Where did you grow up and memories and formative experiences from your childhood?

I grew up in Taiwan and I have always been fascinated by different cultures, customs and languages since I was little. My Taiwanese heritage has made me appreciate the various cultures we have in the country, whether it is Chinese, Japanese, European or the Indigenous culture and folklores. At school, I found learning classical Chinese poetry and beautiful folklore tales from the nine different Indigenous groups of the island a formative experience. It is just fascinating. At home, I learnt Taiwanese (Southern Min), which, for those of you who don’t know, it is a mixture of Hokkien and Japanese. Knowing Taiwan is a precious place to understand these century-old influences from different cultures, I am glad to work at CIW and link my knowledge of Asia and the Pacific with my work.

Impressions of Canberra and ANU?

I moved to Canberra in 2012 with my partner. I noticed that Canberra is just full of trees! When I first arrived in Canberra and drove down Northbourne Avenue, I could just see greenery and sunshine. Canberra is beautiful and it is a humble place with lovely people, ANU is also the same!

Fun facts

• Favourite food: any hearty Asian food makes me happy,
• Colour: burnt orange
• Animal: cats and wombats
• Place to hang out in Canberra: the Cotter outside Canberra
• Book: The Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
• Musician: Bon Iver
• Movie: lots of movies, independent films and dramas so I can have a good cry

One thing people may not know about you:

I’m a folk singer-songwriter. I played at the National Folk Festival 2019 and got interviewed on ABC Canberra. I am also a working musician in a local blues band Muddy Wolfe and I teach ukulele and music to small children on my days off. You can find me and listen to my work on Spotify, YouTube and my website:!

Secret future goal:

I’d love to travel to the most beautiful places in the world and share my music while travelling. I would also love to possibly get into music education for our younger generation around the globe.

This content is produced by the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.

Photo credit: PassOut Media

Updated:  6 October 2016/Responsible Officer:  Director/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team