Cultural events and activities
Through our public events programme, we bring elements of ancient and modern China to our audiences.
The Confucius Institute serves The University of Manchester, the city and wider Greater Manchester region as a Chinese cultural hub. Most of our events are free and everyone is welcome. Take a look at our programme for all of our events and intercultural activities this season.
A vital part of our calendar and a great way to bring people together.
Chinese New Year
The Confucius Institute is proud to be the cultural partner for Manchester's Chinese New Year Festival, one of the biggest in Europe, drawing around 90,000 visitors into the city centre.
Working with Heart of Manchester BID, which supports the Manchester City Council and Chinatown, the institute brings traditional Chinese culture to the people of Manchester through language tasters, Chinese paper cutting, Chinese music and Chinese tea ceremonies.
Our team of skilled teachers help to spread the New Year cheer at Manchester Arndale, Virgin Money Lounge, Manchester Central Library, Manchester Art gallery, and St Ann's and Albert Squares.
Dragon Boat Festival
The institute celebrates the Dragon Boat Festival by participating in the annual Confucius Institute Dragon Boat Race each May in the North West region of Manchester, Liverpool, Lancaster and Preston.
The Mid-Autumn festival is often celebrated on campus in conjunction with welcoming the returning and new students to the University.
Our Confucius Institute talks are free, informal, informative lectures aimed at a non-academic audience. We invite leading thinkers and practitioners with an interest in China to speak for an hour on the topic of their choice.
The talks are held at Manchester Central Library, St Peter Square or online between 6pm and 7pm.
Check our current events calendar for details on our upcoming talks.
Alternatively, you can browse our event archive for the comprehensive collection of previous talks, covering topics like Chinese kunqu opera, Hong Kong cinema and Chinese politics.
Through our partnership with the Chinese Film Forum UK (CFFUK), we sponsor regular screenings of modern Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwanese films at HOME Mcr.
Over the last decade, CFFUK has organised successful film series such as Hong Kong Crime Films (2016), Creative Vision (2017), Women in East Asian Cinema (2019) and Dreams are Monsters (2022). Popular Chinese films such as Golden Era, I Am Not Madam Bovary and Return to Dust give the viewer a taste of contemporary Chinese society.
Most screenings are introduced by Chinese film experts and, on occasions, we invite attendees to enjoy post-show pizza and conversation.
Check CFFUK for more information and forthcoming titles.
We are most proud of our longstanding partnership with Manchester Literature Festival (MLF), with whom we work to bring a different Chinese author to appear at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation (IABF) every year.
We continuously work with Chinese writers on publications such as the China Cities series, which aims to highlight the multifaceted lives of people, history and characteristics of Chinese metropolises through short stories. The first of the series, The Book of Shanghai was published in 2020 in collaboration with Comma Press and features authors like Wang Anyi, Xiao Bai and Chen Danyan. Next in the series, The Book of Beijing is scheduled for publication in 2023.
The Confucius Institute works closely with the Music Department at The University of Manchester and commissioned three choir pieces for the 10th-anniversary celebration. These pieces were composed by students based on famous Tang poems:
Many of our teachers play Chinese instruments such as zither, erhu, pipa and they perform as well as teach workshops. Traditional Chinese instruments and music have inspired new compositions.
In April 2022, Brown composed Illustrations of the Grand Ceremony for the institute's 15th anniversary celebrations. He was inspired by a Qing Dynasty scroll held in the collections of the John Rylands Research Institute and Library which took centre stage at the exhibition 'The Qing: China’s Multilingual Empire'. The 24-metre scroll Wanshou shengdian tu illustrates bustling Beijing street celebrations for Emperor Kangxi’s birthday that took place in 1713 with meticulous detail of everyday life, shops, animals, infrastructure and entertainment. The music responds to the ceremonial and processional imagery shown, with some elements being the first depiction in Chinese art. Throughout the piece of music, the luachui or ‘scattering hammer’ rhythm is used to signify cultural exchange by combining rhythmic elements of Chinese opera with old English songs that existed around the same time. Another inspiration for this piece is the scroll as an object in itself, with the music being used as an analogy for the paper’s slow continuity and the deliberate but delicate ink marks on the surface.
Watch Illustrations of the Grand Ceremony's online premiere at the John Rylands Library, performance by Mercury Strings on 6 June 2022.