Pep Talk with Kim Engelen – the Haida HR teacher who participated in TEDx China

Ted talk by Haida teacher

A foreign teacher with Hangzhou-based recruitment agency Haida HR, Kim Engelen has participated in TED talk China. She was also interviewed by Shanghai Daily. Read on to know what the renowned teacher has to say about her career and life in China:

Hailing from the Netherlands, Kim Engelen is one of the internationally recognized artists teaching with Haida HR. She works as an art teacher at a primary school as well as travels around China taking up positions as an artist in residence in her spare time. Engelen is a globetrotter and a professional photographer. Her passion for travel and photography brought her to the ‘Land of the Dragon’, where she took up teaching with Haida HR.

Talking about her areas of interest, the Haida teacher says, “My specialty lies in social oriented performances, video and iPhone photography. And my topics of interest rotate around communication and self-development. I work with inner thoughts, the body, and social interactions. In my art people (or the absence of them) play the central role. I work and play with the individual (myself included) as work in progress, with the focus on the intrinsic thinking world and the inner strength of the individual.”

Upon being asked during the interview about why she chose to live in Hangzhou, Kim Engelen said, “I have the idea that Hangzhou is an upcoming city. In my viewpoint Hangzhou is full of opportunities. If you know what you want and work hard it can be supportive as a city, since Hangzhou wants to develop. I get the feeling things are at the brink of coming into existence. Contemporary art is also making its entrance. All this makes it really exciting to be here at the beginning of it all.”

About her journey as a teacher with Haida HR, Engelen said, “As a visual artist for almost 20 years with a masters in Critical and Pedagogical Studies, it was a real pleasure to create art classes for grade 1, 2 and 3 students. I take art class for kids seriously and therefore the exercises in my art classes can be seen as exercises for young visual artists.”

She added, “At Hangzhou Jiangnan Experimental School, I received full freedom to create my own syllabus. So I created 15 custom-made art lesson-scripts oriented around Western Modern Art. By exposing kids to art from influential artists and by letting them experiment with it, it will broaden their idea of what art is or can be.”

The Haida HR teacher continued, “At the moment I am turning my art syllabus into an art-book for kids. It will be completely bilingual and has in the back an English-Chinese word-list. I think also the adult learner can enjoy the Western Modern Art Movements and exercises in this book.”


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