Groundbreaking summer school at York U will explore North Korean culture

North Korea FEATURED image by Tom Klassen

For two weeks in May 2022, York University will be home to a first-of-its-kind summer school examining North Korean culture. The instructors are experts in North Korean film, literature, fine art and propaganda.

Thomas Klassen
Thomas Klassen

Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) public policy and administration studies Professor Thomas Klassen is co-ordinating the inaugural North Korea Summer School: Inside North Korean Literature, Art and Film.

“The school is an extraordinary event for graduate and senior undergraduate students to explore North Korean literature, film, fine art and propaganda,” says Klassen, adding that to the best of his knowledge, this is the first such educational program anywhere in the world.

This intense and highly interactive two-week summer school is taught by George Washington University Professor Immanuel Kim and author Nicholas Bonner.

Kim is professor of Korean literature and culture studies. He is the author of Laughing North Koreans: Culture of the Film Industry (2020) and Rewriting Revolution: Women, Sexuality, and Memory in North Korean Fiction (2018).

Immanuel Kim
Immanuel Kim

Bonner, is the author of Made in North Korea: Graphics from Everyday Life in the DPRK (2017) and co-author of Printed in North Korea: The Art of Everyday Life in the DPRK (2019). He has been involved in the production of various documentary films on North Korea, including Crossing the Line and the feature film Comrade Kim Goes Flying.

Nick Bonner
Nicholas Bonner

Funding for the summer school comes from the Korean Office for Research and Education (KORE) at York University, which is funded by the Academy of Korean Studies. Additional funding is provided by LA&PS at York University.

Professor Hyun Ok Park (LA&PS, sociology), director of KORE, says, “The summer school will be an excellent opportunity for students and scholars to engage in an intensive discussion about North Korean society and culture with two leading experts on North Korea, and grasp current changes and challenges facing the country.”

Filming of Comrade Kim Goes Flying, Pyongyang, 2010, N. Bonner
Filming of Comrade Kim Goes Flying, Pyongyang, 2010. Image by Nicholas Bonner and used with permission

More information about the summer school is available at