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Confucius Institute 曼彻斯特大学孔子学院

Event highlights archive

Find out about previous events from the Confucius Institute in our event highlights archive.

Below you'll find a comprehensive collection of previous events in association with The University of Manchester's Confucius Institute.

Girl with red background and 10 year anniversary logo
Event highlight: 2016 marked the 10th Anniversary of the foundation of the Confucius Institute.

2017 events

Jabs for the Nation: Public Health and the Politics of Mass Immunisation in Twentieth-Century China

The Second World War made vaccination a cornerstone of public health in China. When Japan invaded eastern China in 1937, the Nationalist government moved its wartime capital to Chongqing, in Sichuan. Physicians and biomedical researchers fled with the Nationalists to China's southwest borderlands, and many found refuge in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province.

There, a biomedical community emerged whose members sought to control epidemics by developing vaccines. Their work enfolded Yunnan and most of western China into a global medical supply network that reached as far as Buenos Aires, Bucharest and Cairo.

This talk suggests that the gathering of biomedical professionals in China's wartime southwest gave vaccination new meaning as a necessary practice of public health in twentieth-century China.

TOUCH, IMAGINE, TELL: Bilingual Creative Writing Workshop

Bridge the gap between past and present; east and west; be inspired by this unique opportunity to handle objects from Manchester Museum's Chinese collection. Come along to Manchester Confucius Institute to explore the city's collection of Chinese artefacts, take part in a creative writing workshop and tell your own story.

Everyone is welcome, whether you are a native Chinese speaker, just beginning to learn Chinese, or a writing enthusiast with no knowledge of Chinese.

This workshop is organised by Manchester Confucius Institute in partnership with From Shore to Shore/Piao Yang Guo Hai.

Monday Lunchtime Talk: The Melbourne Controversy; Jai Zhangke and the Melbourne International Film Festival, 2009

In 2009, the famous independent Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke withdrew his films from the Melbourne International Film Festival in protest at the invitation to Rebiya Kadeer, the leader of the separatist Uighurs of Xinjiang Province, to the festival.

Robert Hamilton of Manchester Metropolitan University will explore the complex reasons for this extraordinary event and the consequences of this on Chinese cinema, history and politics.

Chinese Garden Workshop

Be part of creating the Confucius Garden at Hulme Community Garden Centre! 

The Confucius Institute has partnered up with Hulme Community Garden Centre to run a series of Chinese garden workshops. Come along to research the history, style and plants of a Chinese garden. During the series of workshops, the group will create plant ID sticks with common, Latin, and Chinese names which will form a guided walk through the gardens identifying plants that have originated from China.

Ultimately, the Confucius Garden will be designed and built to form a peaceful place for people to sit and start enjoying the fruits of their labour, literally!                                                                                                                                      

Our first workshop will begin with a treasure hunt around the established gardens to find plants from China. Guided by Mark Frith, Activities Co-ordinator and Enterprise Manager, you will talk about different types of plants and how to identify them. You will then learn how to sow seeds (edible plants) and look at the location of the new Confucius garden.

Our second workshop will begin with a classroom based discussion about ericaceous plants (Azaleas and Camellias to name a few that originate in China) and their different growing habitats.

You will have a guided walk around the garden centre and try to find Chinese plants like Loquat and Clivia and learn how to identify them. You will also learn how to test soil and sow seeds and exchange ideas for the new Confucius garden.

From Shore to Shore

Three stories, three lives, three journeys to find a place to call home.

Cheung Wing is escaping from war, Mei Lan's had enough of the potato peeler and Yi Di wants the impossible; her parents' approval.

Award-winning writer Mary Cooper, with multilingual collaborator M W Sun, has drawn on real life stories from Chinese people living in northern England to create a powerful new drama of love and loss, struggle and survival, performed alongside live music and great food.

Staged in Yang Sing restaurant, accompanied by a delicious two-course meal, From Shore to Shore features a cast of seven actor-musicians and blends English, Mandarin and Cantonese to tell the stories of Chinese communities in the UK today.

From Shore to Shore is presented by On The Wire in partnership The Business Confucius Institute at the University of Leeds, the Manchester Confucius Institute and Yang Sing restaurant.

Meet The Author - Qaisra Shahraz

Join Qaisra Shahraz, a critically acclaimed, prizewinning international author and winner of the National Diversity lifetime achiever award, to celebrate the publication of her bestselling first novel, The Holy Woman, in Mandarin Chinese.

She will read from her work, and share her life as a writer and as a Muslim woman. She will discuss her literary tours of China, how she uses her literary work as a tool to build cultural bridges and raise awareness about gender, and intercultural issues and her new collection of stories from around the world. 

Film Screening: I Am Not Madame Bovary

I Am Not Madame Bovary is a caustically comic contemporary fable from superstar director Feng Xiaogang (Aftershock). Li Xuelian and her husband Qin Yuhe stage a fake divorce to secure a second apartment. Six months later, Qin marries another woman. Furious, Li files a lawsuit, only to lose because the divorce complied fully with legal procedure. And then Qin accuses of her of having been "impure" at the time of their wedding.

Over the following decade, Li travels every year to Beijing, confronting numerous absurdities on a quest to reclaim her reputation for the sake of her unborn child.

Monday Lunchtime Talk: How Is Social Media Changing China?

In this talk, Prof Lifen Zhang, journalist, author and broadcaster will explain why, in his view, social media, the national obsession and blessing, presents a dilemma to the government and the state of journalism in China.

The country is emerging, unexpectedly, as a giant of social media in the world, rewriting human communication history. The internet has reconfigured the way its people connect to each other and also how the nation is governed. The entire Chinese rural population has skipped fix-line telephony and operates only via mobile.

Prof Zhang, currently a professor in the School of Journalism at Fudan University, also serves as the Chief Advisor for China Business News (CBN), the largest business media group in China. Previously associate editor of the Financial Times, he served from 2004-2015 as the founding editor of, the FT's award-winning Chinese language business online publication.

Before joining the FT, Lifen worked for the BBC for 10 years during which time he held various roles: assistant producer for BBC TV;  producer; senior producer; senior trainer in journalism & production; and news and current affairs editor at the BBC World Service.

He has received various international media awards including Asia's SOPA journalism award, the BBC Onassis Bursary, as well as the State Street Award for Outstanding Contributions in Institutional Journalism. He is also a media leader at the World Economic Forum.

Creative Visions: Hong Kong Cinema 1997–2017

2017 marks 20 years since Hong Kong was handed back to China. Timed with this anniversary, the Chinese Film Forum UK is pleased to collaborate with Create Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office London, with the project managed by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, to offer a specially selected season of work that reflects both the excellence and diversity of contemporary filmmaking in Hong Kong.

Maybe not the production powerhouse it once was, Creative Visions reflects the richness of work being produced in what is still one of east Asia's most significant film industries.

Beginning with a restoration of Fruit Chan’s landmark Made in Hong Kong (1997), the season encompasses respected names, such as Johnnie To represented by the brilliantly absurdist Running on Karma (2003) and the socially engaged Life without Principle (2011), and lesser-known classics such as Patrick Tam's multi-award winning After this our Exile (2006).

In addition we will celebrate the work of Hong Kong maverick Herman Yau, whose 2016 horror film Nessun Dorma will provide chills over the Halloween period. 

Time and Space in China: The Urban World of Beijing in Photographs

This photographic exhibition presents the ongoing changes of Beijing; changes that not only refer to the surface of urban space, but also many aspects of people's daily life and their attitude towards life in China. Hosted by the Confucius Institute, the photographs are jointly organised by the London Confucius Institute for TCM and the Xinhua News Agency London Bureau.

Professor Yinong Xu, Executive Director, London Confucius Institute for TCM, adds that time and space cannot be separated; they are one. Playfully roaming between then and now, and between there and here, these sets of paired images present some fascinating narratives of ongoing changes of the city of Beijing, which reveal the profound spatio-temporal nature of the Chinese Urban world.

The exhibition forms part of the institute's Contemporary Chinese Art Season, 'Transformation of Spaces', and will be officially opened by Ms Jayne Hindle, Head of School Administration, together with newly appointed Chinese director Dr Shuangxia Sheng.

Monday Lunchtime Talk: Craftsmanship, Inheritance and Innovation in China – A filmmakers' experience documenting traditional Chinese culture

In July 2017, two students had the opportunity to spend two weeks in China as part of the Looking China Youth Film Project 2017, aiming to capture enchanting aspects of Chinese culture.

João Meirinhos, producer of The Way of the Shaman Drum, chose to meet Mr Yunde Guan, who is one of the only heirs to the Chinese shamanic drum-making and who dedicated his life to preserving his cultural heritage.

Jemma O'Brien, producer of The Spirit Maker, chose to document the story of Kong Linghai, a distiller of Chinese spirit via ancient methods. You will be invited to follow both men's journeys and what they hope for in keeping the tradition going forward.

Join João and Jemma as they share their experience of travelling to China to shoot, edit and subtitle these documentaries, which will be shown as part of the talk.

2016 events

Meet the Authors - Jonathan Geldart

An interactive presentation and discussion on the paradox that China remains to be. Jonathan Geldart, author of The Thoughts of Chairmen Now and Notes from a Beijing coffee shop (a fascinating and well researched book full of insights about life in China) will discuss the truths about modern day China that have been felt across the developed world.

China remains an enigma to many. It is suspended in limbo between media reports and the filtered reality of friends and family visits. This enormous and complex country is either vilified for its shortcomings or praised for its vibrancy, culture and heritage. The truth lies somewhere in between.

2016 Chinese New Year

Celebrate the Year of the Monkey with the Confucius Institute: It’s undoubtedly Manchester’s most bright and colourful annual celebration as the streets of Manchester will be awash in a sea of red lanterns, with lots of things to see and do. The Confucius Institute will be part of the City Centre celebrations on Saturday, 6 February.

Manchester Arndale Centre will be transformed into a hive of creative workshops for families. Come and explore Chinese calligraphy and the art of origami (12pm-6pm) and use the newly learnt skills to make your own New Year cards and badges.

The Confucius Institute Manchester also presents a special show of traditional music and dance. Head to the Live Music Stage on St. Ann’s Square to hear the SOAS Sizhu (Silk & Bamboo) Ensemble perform Chinese style music that is seen and heard in the famous tea-house of Shanghai. Also enjoy performances from artist that represent varying Chinese dance styles, reflecting their own culture and way of life.

Chinese Opera: Tool of soft power

This talk focuses on the argument that performances given by visiting Chinese opera troupes to the UK from the late 1970s onwards correlate with the market reform that led China towards greater internationalism following the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

Although the artistic decisions behind the intercultural experiments from the 1980s and 90s were not explicitly connected to PRC government initiatives, and were motivated as much by aesthetic concerns as political ones, Dr Ashley Thorpe nevertheless argues that they took place in a socio-political and economic context that made such intercultural experiments, and the prospect of touring them abroad, possible.

By drawing upon models from foreign policy and international relations, Thorpe claims that Chinese opera has been, and continues to be, a potent tool of cultural diplomacy, asserting Chinese structural power on the global stage.

CRIME: Hong Kong Style

The Chinese Film Forum is proud to present CRIME: Hong Kong Style is an explosive new season of crime films from Hong Kong presented by HOME throughout February – April 2016.

From noir-tinged thrillers, to tales of hardnosed gangsters, to entertainingly comic capers, CRIME: Hong Kong style offers stone cold classics (Infernal Affairs, Election), cult movies (Police Story, As Tears Go By), forgotten gems (Too Many Ways to Be No.1, Portland Street Blues) and, with premieres of Dante Lam’s That Demon Within and the legendary Ringo Lam’s Wild City, the latest releases from some of the world’s most revered and stylish directors.

Tinkering Lab

As part of Manchester’s year as the UK’s first European City of Science, a free week-long festival, Science in the City, will celebrate the wonders of science from 22-29 July. A group of science promoters from China who will run Tinkering Lab workshops for families and the general public at No. 70 Oxford Road (former Cornerhouse) on 24 July. These promoters are part of the Zhejiang Association of Science and Technology (ZAST) delegation.

At the Tinkering lab, you are presented with a kit of carefully selected pieces containing recognisable hardware, tools and everyday household materials. You will be encouraged to experiment with the items that offer endless possibilities, spark curiosity and creative innovation that enable unlimited projects and discoveries related to principles in science, technology, engineering and math.

ZAST have been our partner for the past 5 years at Manchester Science Festival. We have collaborated on a live broadcast of a talk on a panda’s pregnancy from Sichuan Panda Sanctuary as well as talks on human aging in 2012 and 2013. They have also run workshops for families at Manchester Museum, looking at paper as a material and traditional Chinese ‘brain games’.

Chinese Culture of Martial Art

Gianni will shine a new light onto the Chinese Culture and Society of Martial Arts by introducing us to recent findings from research conducted in Western Europe, in the US and by Chinese scholars.

While the subject is still framed according to the traditional dyad wenwu ?? he touches on links to traditional subjects, such as history, archaeology and religion, as well as new topics such as anthropology, gender studies, pop culture and media studies. Tommaso Gianni, an assistant Wing Tsun instructor, is currently conducting ethnographic research on comparative martial art pedagogies and has been training martial arts since his youth.

Explore China

As part of our tenth anniversary celebrations, The Confucius Institute is opening its doors to our new premises at 180 Waterloo Place and welcoming everyone to come and explore China during our free taster week in October.

We have a range of language tasters, arts and craft activities and seminars to suit everyone. From practising Calligraphy and Chinese painting to learning how to conduct business dealings in China or pick up some basic Mandarin, our sessions are tailored to provide you with an interesting, interactive and comprehensive introduction to each topic or skill.

Manchester Literature Festival: Susan Barker

A taxi driver in Beijing starts receiving letters from someone claiming to have known him for a thousand years, and so begins a wild ride back through time. Susan Barker’s remarkable novel The Incarnations, winner of a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize, is the result of deep engagement with China’s history and culture.

At this special event presented in partnership with the Confucius Institute, she will discuss the time she spent writing and researching the novel in Beijing and the way she interweaves characters from the Tang and Ming Dynasties, the Mongol invasion, the Opium Wars and the Cultural Revolution in the book.

The New York Times called the book ‘dazzling … her natural storytelling gifts shine from every paragraph.’ Susan Barker is the author of two previous novels, Sayonara Bar and The Orientalist and the Ghost, both longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. Introduced by MLF Chair Jerome de Groot.

The Annual Language Partner Event

• Are you keen to improve your language skills? 
• Do you want to have the chance to practice that language with native speakers? 
• Or maybe you’d just like to get your homework reviewed by a native speaker?

Then the Annual Language Partner Event will be the place to be! We’ve heard that students are finding it a challenge to team up with native speaking language partners so we have set up this unique opportunity to introduce you to English and Mandarin speakers and help you find your own individual learning partner. You will be invited to take part in a few simple games, leaving plenty of time to enjoy some snacks and a chat so everyone can get to know each other.

Chinese Gardens: History, Design and Meanings

This illustrated talk will cover the historical development of Chinese gardens, relating this to parallel or contrasting developments in European garden history. It will outline the different types of Chinese gardens, including imperial, private and institutional (temple or academy) gardens. It will consider the cosmological ideas and design principles underlying the layout and features of Chinese gardens. Finally it will discuss the social significations and uses of Chinese gardens, particularly in the late imperial period.

10th Anniversary Celebration

2016 marks the 10th Anniversary of the foundation of the Confucius Institute. We are celebrating the achievements of the institute over the past decade on Tuesday, 8 November from 4 - 6pm at Whitworth Hall. The event will commence with performances by our Confucius Classrooms and a UoM student choir presenting a piece of music specially created for this occasion.

Immediately following this cultural introduction, Professor of Public History (The University of Manchester), Michael Wood, and Professor of Chinese Politics and History (University of Oxford), Rana Mitter, will join newly appointed CI Academic Director Dr. Aaron William Moore in a conversation about the role of media in shaping perceptions of modern China and its history.

Towards Modernity

As UK regional museums are increasingly negotiating social, cultural and economic changes, museum leaders, curators and policy makers must continuously reassess their organisation’s strategy and activity. In response to economic changes to the sector, Bury Art Museum developed a hybrid model of merging the best of British practice with the more economically sustainable elements of wider EU practice. Following the success of touring exhibition, Towards Modernity: Three Centuries of British Art, which travelled across China in 2012-13, Bury Art Museum have continued developing groundbreaking partnerships with UK and Chinese museums.

Bury Art Museum have proven that shared expertise and a more open, flexible approach to working internationally is a productive model for museums seeking to adapt during times of uncertainty and change. Director of Bury Art Museum, Tony Trehy will recount this experience working across China, reflect on differences in approach between Chinese and British museums and expand on partnerships and developments in subsequent years.

4th International Symposium on Chinese Language Teaching and Learning

Applying modern technology to teaching Mandarin Chinese to non-native speakers: 

Following three successful Chinese language symposia in 2010, 2012 and 2015, the Confucius Institute at The University of Manchester is welcoming once again experts from Beijing Normal University and local teachers that focus on English and Chinese language teaching. This symposium also follows on from the Chinese Teacher Development Day organised by Macmillian Publishers on the 5 November.

  • Dr. Zhang, Hui: Associate Professor of Chinese Philology and TCFL, Beijing Normal University
  • Dr Yang Quan: Associate Professor of Computing Linguistics and Modern Educational Technology, Beijing Normal University
  • Ms Luxi Yang: Senior Language Tutor, Confucius Institute at The University of Manchester
  • Mr Zhang Weizhi: Language Teacher, Bolton School and Confucius Institute at The University of Manchester

This one-day conference will explore how modern education technology can be applied in teaching Chinese to foreigners. There will be a specific focus on different teaching and learning methods linked to Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. After the keynote speeches, there will be opportunities to work together to share ideas and network.

Topics include:

  • The use of technology in lesson preparation
  • Teaching, Reviewing and Practicing listening and speaking mandarin using modern technologies

2015 events

Ahead of the Curve

New China from China: Direct from China, this ground-breaking exhibition showcases contemporary ceramics and glass from emerging and established Chinese artists at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent. China is traditionally associated with imperial porcelain or modern mass-production.

Ahead of the Curve includes striking new work and demonstrate current trends and practices from the traditional porcelain city of Jingdezhen and other artistic centres across China. The twenty artists featured in this exhibition challenge traditional approaches to porcelain and glass in a variety of ways.

Helen Brown and Claire Blakey will speak about this touring exhibition, which is the result of a five year project and research visits to Jingdezhen and Shanghai. The talk will give an idea of the behind- the-scenes work necessary to put on an exhibition of this type, as well as give more information about some of the artists featured in the show.

China and the West

From the Opium Wars to the Olympics: In modern history, the West (Europe and the USA) has been a source of inspiration for some in China and a source of threat for others. Not so simple as a split between radicals and conservatives: the Boxer uprising was virulently anti-Western but the student radicals and the early Chinese communists (1919-1927) drew strength from Western ideas. With 1949, and the rule of the CCP, the new state was firstly in a mutually antagonistic ‘non-relationship’ with the West.

Now, as symbolised by the 2008 Olympics, harmony has replaced discord. We will, in historical perspective’ and in the context of the international work of the Confucius Institutes, consider Chinese / Western interaction over the last two centuries.

2015 Chinese New Year Celebration Gala

Celebrate the Year of the Goat with The Confucius Institute: A unique and exciting show of cultural spectacle features a team of performers from China displaying an array of amazing kung fu and acrobatic skills. Aimed at local Primary and Secondary Schools, the programme includes the auspicious Lion Dance, the awe-inspiring contortion, the ancient magic of Face Changing and our very own costumed 'kung fu pandas' just to mention a few. Children will be invited to go on stage to learn a few kung-fu moves with the kung-fu pandas.

2015 Chinese New Year

Celebrate the Year of the Goat with the Confucius Institute: We will be organising and supporting a large number of festive activities in and around Manchester, starting on New Year’s Day – Thursday, 19 February 2015.

What events are planned?

  • The Confucius Institute will be part of the City Centre celebrations at St Ann's Square on Friday, 20 February.
  • On Saturday, 21 February we will be hosting workshops and hold a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony at the Trafford Centre alongside performances by Jin Long Academy.
  • The New Year will also be marked by the city's arts communities including Cai Guo-Qiang's installation 'Unmanned Nature' at the newly reopened Whitworth Art Gallery.
  • The Chinese Film Forum UK is presenting the Chinese New Year screening of The Golden Era on Monday, 16 February at the Cornerhouse.

We are supporting the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA), who will be hosting their annual Chinese New Year Gala celebration at the RNCM. As in previous years, we will be holding a large number of workshops at local schools, Oldham library and UGG Australia, Manchester.

At the end of the festivities we will be inviting local Primary and Secondary schools to our Chinese New Year Celebration Gala at the Royal Northern College of Music on Tuesday, 3 March.

What does the Year of the Goat mean? Sometimes referred to as the Year of the Sheep or Ram, people born in this year are usually well-liked, tender, polite, clever, and kind-hearted. They have special sensitivity to art and beauty, and a special fondness for quiet living. But they are often worriers who are shy, pessimistic, indecisive and over-sensitive.

Meet the Authors: Deng Xiaoping - A Political Biography

Professor Michael Dillon, one of the UK’s leading authorities on modern China, presents an original and full biography of this charismatic leader who has played a huge role in China's modern history.

Deng Xiaoping is a huge figure in China’s modern history, credited for the reforms of the late 1970s that put China on the path to spectacular economic growth and development. Ironically, as the creator of the ‘one country, two systems’ formula for Hong Kong, Deng has also become a figurehead for Hong Kong citizens protesting against the growing threat of China to its autonomy.

Based on newly released Chinese language sources (including recollections from friends and colleagues of Deng) Professor Michael Dillon, one of the UK’s leading authorities on modern China, presents an original and full biography of this charismatic leader and the first to come out in recent years. He illustrates how Deng’s life of struggle and survival shaped his political career and captures something of the complexity and contradictoriness of Deng - a committed communist who brought in economic liberalization but who fell dramatically from grace in the wake of the violently crushed protests in Tiananmen Square.

About the author: Michael Dillon was founding Director of the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies at the University of Durham, where he taught Modern Chinese History. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Asiatic Society and was Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing in 2009. He is the author of China: A Modern History (I.B.Tauris).

Our Meet the Authors event is organised in association with Blackwell's University Bookshop, who provide a stall at the event with copies of the featured book available for you to buy.

The Confucius Institute Language Partner Programme

  • Are you keen to improve your Mandarin language skills?
  • Do you want to have the chance to practice your Mandarin with native speakers? 
  • Or maybe you would just like to get your Mandarin homework reviewed by a native speaker.

Then Sign Up to the Confucius Institute Language Partner Programme! Don’t struggle any longer finding a native Mandarin speaker to team up with. Join us at our Language Partner Event for a fun pub quiz, drinks and nibbles and a chance to get chatting to your own individual learning partner.

Manchester Literature Festival: Diao Dou and Adam Marek - The Modern Surreal

Two modern masters of the surreal discuss the power of literary absurdism in this one-off event. Diao Dou is arguably China's most daring contemporary satirist, writing poetry, short stories and novels. His first collection in English, Point of Origin, is a stunning display of high wire literary acrobatics. Adam Marek is the winner of an Arts Foundation Fellowship for short fiction and the author of two collections, Instruction Manual for Swallowing and The Stone Thrower.Alison MacLeod described him as "one of the best things to have happened to the short story this century."

Join us for a conversation with two writers shining a light into the darkest recesses of our imagination. Presented in partnership with Comma Press.

The Economic Thought in Ancient China

This talk will provide an overview of some of the “economic” ideas that emerged during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods (c. 770-226 BC) from different “schools” of thought including the Confucians, Legalists and Daoists. The ancient (pre-Qin) Chinese did not compose works on pure economic theory in its modern sense. But, as with the ancient Greeks, they did address questions that we would recognise as “economic” in nature, including the organisation of production and the role of the state, the scope and desirability of profit-seeking activities, scarcity, consumption, trade, taxation, population, and welfare.

Terry Peach co-edited (with Cheng Lin and Wang Fang) The History of Ancient Chinese Economic Thought (Routledge, 2014). He is currently involved in a research project with Chinese colleagues on the political economy of the Han dynasty and its legacy.

UK: China’s Best Partner in the West?

The UK presents itself to China as "best partner", in a way that recalls, somewhat unfortunately, the 'most favoured nation' terminology of the nineteenth century. Whilst some voices in Britain called for imperial annexation in China to follow the same path as India, others were happy to let ‘free trade’ secure Britain’s status as the leading external power in the nineteenth century.

This talk will consider the often difficult relationship between China and the UK over the last three centuries. Do we need to understand the past in order to find harmony with Chinese policy makers? The UK, as a key nation in the coalition known as 'the West', has been a source of inspiration for some Chinese intellectuals but the 'West' was also seen in China as a threat to Chinese national identity. For many in the UK, China was both a mystery and a magnet.

Dr David Law is a freelance writer and editor. After serving as Pro Vice-Chancellor at Edge Hill University, David was the founding Director of the Edge Hill Confucius Institute for two years. His academic interests are in the History of China and the Internationalisation of Higher Education. He is the Principal Editor of Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, published quarterly by Taylor and Francis.

Tinkering Lab

As part of Manchester’s year as the UK’s first European City of Science, a free week-long festival, Science in the City, will celebrate the wonders of science from 22-29 July. A group of science promoters from China who will run Tinkering Lab workshops for families and the general public at No. 70 Oxford Road (former Cornerhouse) on 24 July. These promoters are part of the Zhejiang Association of Science and Technology (ZAST) delegation.

At the Tinkering lab, you are presented with a kit of carefully selected pieces containing recognisable hardware, tools and everyday household materials. You will be encouraged to experiment with the items that offer endless possibilities, spark curiosity and creative innovation that enable unlimited projects and discoveries related to principles in science, technology, engineering and math.

ZAST have been our partner for the past 5 years at Manchester Science Festival. We have collaborated on a live broadcast of a talk on a panda’s pregnancy from Sichuan Panda Sanctuary as well as talks on human aging in 2012 and 2013. They have also run workshops for families at Manchester Museum, looking at paper as a material and traditional Chinese ‘brain games’.

2014 events

Live Chinese Art demonstration

In Conversation with Kostya Novoselov, chaired by Karen Wang: Art meets Science – Explore the common ground of art and science by witnessing this extraordinary demonstration of Chinese brush painting and challenging questions that blur the line between the visual and the scientific. 

The Confucius Institute at The University of Manchester is proud to present Zheng Shenglong, calligrapher and art professor at Xiamen University in China, who will give a live brush painting demonstration, followed by a Q&A session with the director of the Confucius institute Karen Wang and Nobel Laureate Kostya Novoselow to compare the art of Chinese calligraphy to Science, as both disciplines requiring repetitive practice and control of energy.

Zheng paints on rice paper, with special brushes made from the hair of wolves and goats. His paintings, often featuring plants, trees and flowers also include messages in calligraphy summing up the moment of the painting.

Developments in contemporary art in 21st century China

Dr Katie Hill is a Lecturer at Sotheby Institute of Art with a special research interest in the field of contemporary Chinese art.

China's art scene is one of the largest and most prolific in the world. This talk outlines the development of art in China in the past ten years. The discussion will include the cultural environment in China and its rapid expansion, the diversity of art practice and key themes in artists' works in relation to huge social and economic changes in China. In the past decade, the dramatic rise of the art market in China has also led to major Western auction houses setting up in China. The talk will attempt to raise some questions about China's positioning within the international art world and the particular challenges it currently faces.

All the Confucius Institute public talks are free to attend and there is no need to book.

Chinese Teacher Development Day

Integrating skills in Chinese language teaching: This two-day workshop will explore managing learner expectations, learner styles and techniques to meet students’ needs. There will be a specific focus on teaching speaking, listening and character writing. Teachers will also look at teaching beginners and their first lessons, as well as the elements of a good lesson plan. There will be ample opportunity to work together to share ideas and network.

The workshop will be led by teacher trainer, Dede Wilson who has many years’ experience working with teachers in China and around the world. Dede will be joined by Helen Day of the Oaklands School in London, and Dr. Zhu Zhu of the University of Edinburgh.

Asia Triennial Manchester 14

The official Asia Triennial Manchester 14 (ATM14) film programme was screened at the Cornerhouse, as part of a city-wide ATM14 programme. This year’s selection included a special focus on Hong Kong cinema alongside contemporary and classic Chinese mainland films.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Manchester supported the ATM14 film programme alongside the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, London. Presented in association with Chinese Film Forum UK. For full programme details visit the HOME website.

Manchester Literature Festival: Hong Ying

A decade on from her internationally acclaimed memoir Daughter of the River, bestselling Chinese author Hong Ying returns to work the fertile ground of her own past with The Good Children. By turns heart-wrenching and brave, the book explores her troubled relationship with her estranged mother.

From her mother’s funeral, the author goes back and forth between past and present, through memories and anecdotes to unravel the forty years following her departure from Chongqing to Beijing and then England. Hong Ying was born into a sailor's family and is best known in the English-speaking world for her novels: K: The Art of Love (which won the Primo de Rome in 2005), The Concubine of Shanghai, Peacock Cries and Summer of Betrayal.

Global Confucius Institute Day

Manchester celebrates Chinese Culture: To mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of the first Confucius Institute in the world, Confucius Institutes worldwide are celebrating a "Confucius Institute Day" on Saturday, 27 September 2014.

Come and see a vibrant performance, combining entertainment in the form of traditional martial arts, music, dance and presentations from local schools.

Silkworms to Gunboats

James Trapp is China Education Manger at the British Museum, London, where he supports the study of Chinese art, history and culture for primary and secondary schools.

China's dramatic rise as a world economic super-power at the beginning of the 21st century is viewed with surprise and a degree of fear by many in the West. Yet what we have forgotten is that for more than 80% of the last 2000 years, China has been the richest and most powerful trading country in the world. 1800 year apart, desire for China's exports almost bankrupted both Imperial Rome and Imperial Britain.

In this talk, James Trapp will look at the complex network of economic and cultural contacts that connected China with the rest of the civilized world over centuries, and will try to break down some of the barriers with which we separate China and Chinese culture as something too different and inaccessible.

All the Confucius Institute public talks are free to attend and there is no need to book.

Multiple Meanings of Multiple Christianities

New Agendas for Research in a Polysemic Chinese Religious Field: Richard Madsen is distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego and Acting Provost of Eleanor Roosevelt College at UCSD. He has written extensively on the sociology of morality, religion and politics, in both the United States and Asia. His latest book is Democracy's Dharma: Religious Renaissance and Political Development in Taiwan.

Christianity came to China four times: with the Nestorians during the Tang dynasty (618-907), the Franciscans during the Mongol-ruled Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), the Jesuits during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), and the Protestants during the late Qing dynasty (1644-1911). However, on each occasion the religion seemed to fade away after a period of growth. The Franciscan mission simply declined with the fall of the Yuan, but the Nestorian, Jesuit, and Protestant missions were all actively proscribed by hostile Chinese governments.

The landscape of Christianity in post-Mao China is diverse: it differs enormously not just in terms of denomination and brand, but also in terms of practice, as some congregate in underground churches, some in old churches built by missionaries, and others in new facilities provided by the government. How do the historical missions enhance our understanding of this complex situation? Many Chinese people, both the elite and the ordinary, have embraced or become interested in Christianity. What could this mean for China in the decades to come?

The Centre of Chinese Studies in collaboration with the Confucius Institute, the Department of Religions and Theology and John Rylands Library invite to a drinks reception prior to the keynote speech and Q&A session.

World War 1 and China: the Chinese Labour Corps in France

Dr. Jenny Clegg is a Senior Lecturer at the University for Central Lancashire and her specialist research mainly focuses on China's development and it's implications for the world order.

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War One, a war which significantly reshaped the world in the 20th century. China’s involvement, and the profound impact this was to have in the subsequent unfolding of its history of revolution and war, is one, however, that receives little attention in the West. This lecture aims to explore this wartime encounter between China and the West, focusing on the much neglected part played by Chinese Labour Corps at the Western front.

Recruited by the British and French Armies to help alleviate acute shortages in manpower, this workforce numbered some 140,000 men by the time of the Armistice of 1918. What were the circumstances which brought these workers to France? And what of their experiences in a foreign land and the knowledge of the West that they brought back when they were repatriated? What influences did these have in the shaping of China’s emerging national consciousness, and its search for a distinctive modernity?

Voices from China

Workshop on Chinese Politics and Economy: The School of Social Science and the Confucius Institute are welcoming four Scholars from Beijing Normal University to hold a Workshop on Chinese Politics and Economy. The programme includes the following topics:

  • 'Resilience of the Chinese Political System' 
  • 'Two conceptions of the State: Chinese Cosmopolitanism and its Possible Contributions'
  • 'China's Economic Growth, Income Inequality and Demographic Change'
  • 'The key Secret of the Success of China's Reform and Opening Up'

Chinese Studies and Manchester Trade

The Work of Edgar Mead as Reader of Chinese Language and Social Economy, 1933 – 1941: Dr Christopher Godden is a Lecturer in the Economic History of Globalisation at The University of Manchester. His research and teaching interest focus on early twentieth-century British history, with particular interest in its academic development.

With monies reallocated from the Boxer Indemnity Fund in the early 1930s, the University of Manchester appointed Edgar W. Mead (1887 – 1941) as Reader in Chinese Language and Social Economy. This talk will focus on Mead’s role in developing the study of Chinese language and history at Manchester, as well as his activities as a liaison between the University, Manchester’s Chamber of Commerce, and those sections of Manchester’s business community with interests in China.

2013 events

To Breed or not to Breed: The Mystery of the Elusive Baby Pandas

At lunchtime on Wednesday 30 October 2013, an audience of over 120 visitors to Manchester Museum attended a unique, live-streamed presentation on the topic of the reproductive habits of the most prized of mammals, the giant panda, as part of Manchester Science Festival.

Speaking live from Chengdu Panda Centre, panda breeding expert James E. Ayala was able to address the room by means of cutting edge conferencing technology that used both satellite and transatlantic cables to transmit his image half way round the world.

Xiaolu Guo at Manchester Literature Festival

We were proud to present a conversation with novelist and prize-winning indie film director, Xiaolu Guo as part of Manchester Literature Festival. Xiaolu talked in depth about her work, including her new unpublished novel I am China (due April 2014), and her life growing up in rural China.

Writing in both English and Chinese, Xiaolu has published seven works of poignant and witty fiction, including A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers (shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction), UFO in Her Eyes, and Lovers in the Age of Indifference. She was recently named on of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. Find out more on the Manchester Literature Festival blog.

Celebrating the Autumn Moon Festival at the Confucius Institute Open Day

We welcomed over 80 guests to our Mid Autumn Festival celebrations in September for a live performance of Chinese folk music played on the guzheng, a traditional fan dance and a demonstration of Tai Chi.

Guests were treated to a taste of moon cake, and had the opportunity to find their Chinese zodiac sign, try their hand at traditional paper folding and learn to write their name using calligraphic characters using special brushes and paper, all facilitated by our team of skilled volunteers.

Welcoming the Year of the Snake with a Chinese New Year Party

Last weekend saw the Confucius Institute usher in the year of the Snake with a Friday night extravaganza of drinks, music, a lion-dance and dim sum.

The audience of more than 160 CI students, University staff, students and children was delighted by a series of wonderful performances from Master Chu’s Dragon and Lion Dancing Club, martial arts and traditional Chinese folk music performers and lots more.

2012 events

Memory and Movement

Bringing together works by artists Chi Peng and Wang Fu Chun, the exhibition features two photographic series that explore contrasting themes in contemporary China. On loan from M97 Gallery, Shanghai, and 798 Photo Gallery, Beijing for a limited period only. You can read more by visiting the Holden Gallery website.

From Birth to Death: A model for life sciences 

The School of Life Science and Technology at Tongji University in Shanghai is an international hub for research in the life sciences. As part of Manchester Science Festival, Professor Lei Xue, Professor of Genetics addressed recent progressions in the discipline and their implications for human development via live link-up from China at this very special event.

Wang Anyi for Manchester Literature Festival

Continuing with our long and fruitful partnership with Manchester Literature Festival, The Confucius Institute were honoured to welcome to Manchester one of China's leading literary figures, Wang Anyi, for an event that proved to be one of the most popular of the whole festival. Read more on the Manchester Literature Festival blog.

How Do China's Leading Thinkers View the Rest of the World?

This public talk by Astrid Nordin (University of Manchester) talk was attended by over 90 people and stimulated great debate. Download an abstract here.

2012 Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration

The Confucius Institute was thrilled to welcome so many new faces to our September open day, a celebration of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. A performance of traditional music dance and martial arts was accompanied by a special show of Han dynasty costume.

Free Chinese Teacher Training

We invited a number of China’s leading teacher training experts to come to Manchester to deliver a three-day training course to local educators.

UK Chinese Dragon Boat Festival Celebration 2012

14 members of staff, students and friends of the Confucius Institute took part in the UK Chinese Dragon Boat Festival Celebration 2012 in Salford Quays. 15 teams competed for the top spot, drawn from the local Chinese community, university staff and students, corporate teams raising money for charity.

The China Lecture 2012: Cosmopolitan China

The 2012 China Lecture, Ecologies of Empire: Multicultural Elements in Imperial China was hosted by the Centre for Chinese Studies and the Confucius Institute at the University of Manchester and delivered by the historian, Professor Peter Perdue (Yale University), chaired by author and broadcaster Martin Jacques and introduced by Jeremy Gregory, head of the University of Manchester’s new School of Arts, Languages and Cultures.

Chinese Literature in the spotlight

Lovers of Chinese literature were kept busy in April with our free events including the launch of Shi Cheng: Stories from Urban China with publishers Comma Press on 19 April and a talk from Frances Wood, head of Chinese Collections at the British Library on 21 April. We also attended the London Book Fair, which this year had a focus on China.

Professor John Knight Lecture

Professor John Knight, Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford and a specialist on China, came to the university to deliver a lecture on Challenges to China's Continued Rapid Growth on in the Samuel Alexander Theatre, Oxford Road. This event, in association with the Centre for Chinese Studies, saw in excess of 150 attendees and was followed by a lively drinks reception. Many thanks to all those who attended.

The Confucius Institute Spring Festival Gala 2012 with a performance from the Performing Arts Troupe of Beijing Normal University

We were lucky enough to celebrate this year's Chinese New Year Spring Festival with a spectacular show from the renowned performing arts troupe of Beijing Normal University at Academy 2 in Manchester University's Student Union. The show featured traditional Chinese dance, a Shaolin King Fu demonstration, Chinese neo-folk music played on traditional instruments like the erhu and dizi as well as poetry, calligraphy and choral song.