Thurs 31 March: Researching Old Shanghai — Tess Johnston Send-off and Book Talk

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Date(s) - Thursday, March 31 2016
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm



Author Tess Johnston headlines this talk on the eve of her repatriation to the U.S., after more than 30 years writing and lecturing in Shanghai. For this FCC talk, she is joined by all five co-authors — their only Shanghai book event with all speakers present — to talk about their latest work The Where’s Where of the Who’s Who of Old Shanghai. It is the fifth and final installment in Johnston’s popular walks series. The authors — Johnston, along with Kate Baker, Patrick Cranley, Spencer Dodington, Tina Kanagaratnam and Carolyn Robertson — talk about the task of digging through archives, interviewing residents, and bringing history to life. They’ll also take us through various neighborhoods of old Shanghai, uncovering the colorful characters who once lived, loved, and worked in these historic buildings. Q&A to follow. Wine and canapes included.

Kartel – entry via Fifth Floor, 1 Xiangyang lu, near Julu Lu, Jingan district
Thursday, 31 March 2016
7pm – 9pm (doors open at 7pm, talk starts at 7.30pm)
50RMB SFCC members; 1ooRMB non-members
Price includes two drinks and canapés

Speaker biographies:

Kate Baker lived in Shanghai for four years, and has lived in Asia for nearly 20 years. She has spent the last two decades involved in cultural studies, NGO work, and native handicraft merchandising. Kate co-authored and co-edited the fourth Shanghai Walks book Beyond the Concessions: Six Walks Exploring Shanghai’s Other Districts. Her book Jiading: Centuries of History, Decades of Change was published in 2015. She is also working on a book about early 20th century American teachers in the Philippines.

Wm Patrick Cranley is managing director of public relations agency AsiaMedia, based in Shanghai. He began studying China at Brown University, continued at the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan, and then the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing Center. In 1998, Cranley co-founded heritage group Historic Shanghai with co-authors Tess Johnston and Tina Kanagaratnam. The group hosted the World Congress on Art Deco in 2015. His chapter on the Bund can be found in the third Shanghai Walks book, Still More Shanghai Walks.

Spencer Dodington moved to Shanghai from Texas in 1995. Most of his focus since then has been on the understanding and cataloguing of Shanghai’s Concession-era architecture, furniture design, and history, culminating in his co-authorship of Shanghai’s Art Deco Master, Paul Veysseyre’s Architecture in the French Concession. Spencer is co-founder of Luxury Concierge China and has renovated dozens of old residences in Shanghai.

Tess Johnston, a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she also taught, has lived in Shanghai for nearly 35 years. In 1996, she retired from the American Consulate General and now devotes her time to editing, researching, writing, and lecturing. Since 1992, she and Deke Erh (Er Dongqiang) have written over 20 books documenting Western architecture and lifestyles in Shanghai and China’s old “treaty ports”. Tess started the Shanghai Walks series in 2006 and has contributed her favorite Shanghai walks to books I, II, and III – and the introduction for Shanghai Walks Book IV.

Tina Kanagaratnam moved to Shanghai in 1997 and has lived and written about this dynamic city ever since. The author of several guidebooks to Shanghai, including one on the city’s heritage architecture, she is a co-founder of heritage groups Historic Shanghai and Shanghai Art Deco, and blogs on their websites: and A graduate of American University’s School of International Service and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, she is CEO of public relations agency AsiaMedia.

Carolyn Robertson, a graduate of Vassar College and the University of Pennsylvania with a Master’s in Architecture, has worked in architecture firms in Cincinnati, Princeton, and London. When not an expat in China (since the 1990s), Princeton, New Jersey has been her home away from home. In Princeton, she worked on historic restoration projects while also serving on the Princeton Historic Preservation Review Committee and as the President of the Mercer Hill Historic District Association. Carolyn contributed walks to Shanghai Walks Book I and II. Photography is her other passion, and many of her photos are included in this book.


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