Investigating Inner Mongolia

Year 13 pupil, Kandy Zhang, received the Cessford Travel award last term, which enabled her to complete research on the changing physical geography and its impact on the people in Inner Mongolia. With the money from the Cessford Award, Kandy was able to really delve into her research by visiting Mongolia, and come into contact with a variety of invaluable primary resources.

The annual Duncan Cessford memorial Award is named after an Old Girdlestonite who was killed in South Africa in 1991. The award is worth £500 and is given to a pupil who plans to travel independently for some archaeological or anthropological purpose (not as part of an expedition already arranged by others).

Kandy summarises, ‘The objective of my research is to explore the changing significance of physical geography in our lives, as human force is becoming more dominant in shaping political and social activities, with a specific focus on these dynamics in Inner Mongolia.’

During Kandy’s visit to Mongolia, she visited the Gobi Desert, where she examined arid landforms as part of her fieldwork, and also ventured to the Xilamuren Grassland, where she interviewed the locals. ‘I managed to interview two families: one Han and one Mongol family. I used a questionnaire I had designed to assist my research writing,’ Kandy explains.

The Shanghai Museum was another place that aided Kandy with her research. ‘The Shanghai museum gathered a variety of traditional and historical objects from the Chinese dynasties,’ Kandy continues. ‘The museum portrays past clothing, household and religious objects to reflect the different regional distinctions of the past ethnic groups, and it attempts to explain how ecological difference impacts each of those groups’ identity and history’. 

We are extremely impressed with Kandy’s research and the high standard of her dissertation. ‘I want to thank the School for awarding me the Cessford Travel Award which made my Mongolia trip possible,’ Kandy comments. We wish Kandy success on her future interesting and adventurous research projects and look forward to hearing about her future endeavours.