Events 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. Towards the bottom of the page, you can find an archive of older Confucius Institute events going back to our 10 year anniversary in 2016.

Recent events

  • Page 1
  • 2
  • >
Image of girl with red background and 10 year anniversary logo on the right hand side
Event highlight: 2016 marked the 10th Anniversary of the foundation of the Confucius Institute.

2022 events

In-person events

Public talk: Male beauty vlogging in China: A masculinities perspective

22 November, Dr Derek Hird (University of Lancaster), Manchester Central Library

Language partner event

20 October, MCR CI in collaboration with UoM Chinese Studies Networking event for language learners, Samuel Alexander Building (UoM)

Public talk: 'Illustrations of the Grand Ceremony': Behind the composition

4 October, Dr Josh Brown (UoM), Manchester Central Library

Theatre play: Behind the Curtained Door

Behind the Curtained Door was premiered at Martin Harris Centre on 29 and 30 September. It follows three Chinese women of different generations whose friendships prove to be stronger than the lies and betrayals they face together. In a run-down flat in Oldham, Ah Luk is coming to terms with the recent loss of her husband while her neighbour Ping and their niece Yiling attempt to comfort her. It tells the story of how three Chinese women find love and happiness while their lives disintegrate.

Written by playwright M W Sun, this play was commissioned by Manchester Confucius Institute and developed in collaboration with the University of Manchester’s Drama department. Watch the trailer on Youtube.

Film screening at HOME cinema: From Return to Dust

21 September, Chinese Film Forum UK

School performance: The Mice go to the Cinema

25 June, Huaxia Chinese Sunday School Performance at University of Manchester Community Festival

Chinese cooking classes

25 June, 1 October and 10 December, Sam Sin (Koi Kitchen) Cookery classes at Deaf Institute (3 sessions)

Public talk: The portrayal of gay characters in Chinese cinema

24 May, Dr MaoHui Deng (UoM), Manchester Central Library

Chinese New Year lion dance

8 February, On campus, Jin Long Academy

Film screening at HOME Cinema: Looking China

Looking China is a flagship programme of Beijing Normal University, which invites student filmmakers from across the world to make short documentaries in China over the last 20 years. A handful of UoM students and alumni took part in the programme and a special screening of the documentaries made by UoM students was held at HOME on 6 February. Chinese Film Forum UK

Film screening at HOME Cinema: One Second Champion

3 February, Chinese Film Forum UK

Performance: The Ballad of Mulan

31 January, Red Dragonfly Productions, Martin Harris Centre

Photo exhibition: ‘The Door Opened – 1980s China’ 

January - July 2022, photos by Andrew Bradshaw, Manchester Central Library

Public talk: ‘The Door Opened – 1980s China’ 

26 January, Adrian Bradshaw (photographer), Manchester Central Library

Online events

Online teacher training event: A career as a Mandarin teacher

6 December, Ms Ding Jia (Altrincham Grammar School for Boys)

Performance: Illustrations of the Grand Ceremony

25 June, Dr Joshua Brown (UoM) with string quartet ‘Mercury Strings’

Panel discussion: Mandarin learning and career development

5 May, Hosted by Lucy Yang (MCR CI)

Talk: Wildflowers of Western China

21 April, Richard Green (Scotland Alpine Society)

Talk: Chinese tea culture – From the Yunnanese forests to Europe

22 March, Eastern Leaves at Yunnan Province

Talk: ‘To laugh or not to laugh’ – Contemporary Chinese theatre

20 January, Dr Anna Strecher (Assistant Professor, Institute of Sinology at Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich)


2021 events

Chinese film screening: Sheep Without a Shepherd

Chinese Film Forum UK presents this absorbing cat and mouse thriller, a box office smash in the People’s Republic of China.

Li and his family live in northern Thailand. When his daughter is assaulted, he is set on a trajectory that will bring him into an intense conflict with the local police and test his ability to always do what’s best for his family. Based on the Indian Malayalam-language film Drishyam, Sheep without a Shepherd is that rare example of a remake that manages to become its own film.

Gardening by the Moon – an insight into sustainable farming with Mark Frith

Gardening by the phases of the Moon is an idea that has been around for as long as humans have been growing their own food. During this one-hour session, Mark Frith, an experienced Horticulture Therapist will describe the journey of the human race from foraging to farming and the impact this has had on our planet. Joining us directly from his allotments, Mark will be able to show and inspire us to adapt to better ways of growing and fertilizing our food organically. At the end of the session, you will be able to ask any questions, no matter whether you are starting off or are somewhat a more experienced gardener already.

Intermediate Mandarin refresher sessions

Manchester Confucius Institute offers the opportunity to refresh your Mandarin Chinese, which is particularly useful if you have taken a break from your studies or haven't used those skills in a while.

International Mother Language Day - Mandarin taster sessions

Join us for a fun language taster session to find out what it is like to learn Mandarin from the comfort of your own home! You will have the chance to get an insight into our online teaching practices and content of our courses. This informal, fun and interactive session will be delivered by one of our native Confucius Institute teachers, who are highly experienced in delivering lessons via Zoom.

Learning Mandarin is becoming more and more popular and is being widely recognised as a valuable language in business and education. You will leave the session having learned some words and phrases, like how to greet someone and how to count in Mandarin Chinese.

Love Thy Neighbour - Asia Triennial Manchester 2021

With a two-week interdisciplinary programme of art, poetry, film, immersive installation and performance, ATM21 will investigate how we can build a more compassionate relationship with our neighbours, from the hyperlocal to the international. This multifaceted event aims to develop and promote the work of British and international artists that work across the context of Asian contemporary visual culture.

Free and open to the public is an exhibition of postcards at the newly opened Manchester Poetry Library, which portray the rich histories of Asian art through modern and contemporary interpretations. Intimate and immediate, the artist’s postcard is a microcosm, a miniature work of art designed for a specific social purpose - to connect with others. The unique collection features prints, photography, fine art, embroidery and poetry from multiple countries of origin and artists such as Louise Soloway Chan and Rekha Rodwittiya.

Manchester Confucius Institute was honoured to support performance artist Mingmei Zhou’s project ‘Islands’, which was part of the launch event on Thursday, 11th Nov. Her dramatic installation addressed issues specific to British Asian communities and reflected on people’s attitudes towards their neighbours from different backgrounds - particularly Asian overseas students who were isolating during the pandemic.

Mandarin Corner

Manchester Confucius Institute offers the opportunity to practice Mandarin Chinese and develop an appreciation of Chinese culture at these regular online Mandarin Corner meetings.

They are informal conversation sessions at two different levels (Beginner - Intermediate (hsk1-3) and Intermediate - Advanced (hsk4-6) that enable you to get together with fellow classmates, make new friends and discuss Chinese language and culture in a relaxed, friendly environment.

Mandarin teacher training workshop

The shift to online learning has impacted language teaching practices enormously and conducting Mandarin lessons effectively often poses a challenge to Chinese teachers. How do you achieve good interaction in class with interesting and engaging online activities? How are key points explained efficiently and what methods are useful for asynchronous teaching? These are some of the issues we will be addressing in our teacher training and Chinese micro-lesson workshop.

Online talk: Applying for graduate schemes successfully - with Siyi Wang

Many international students come to study in the UK with the aim to gain some work experience upon graduation. Last July, the UK Graduate Route was introduced, giving international students more opportunities to work or look for work in the UK after their studies. In order to help students finding the right path for them, Manchester Confucius Institute is pleased to welcome successful graduate Siyi Wang to talk about her personal journey of getting into a graduate programme in consulting. She will explain why she wanted to work in the UK and how she found the right career path for herself. Join us to learn about graduate programmes, the application process, including online tests, video interviews, assessment centres and most importantly about networking and how to find networking opportunities.

Online talk: Collecting and displaying China at the National Museum of Scotland

A new East Asia gallery opened at the National Museum of Scotland in February 2019 as the final stage of the Museum’s fifteen-year transformation and renovation. The new gallery presents a display of China, Japan and Korea from past to present across four themes. For its China part, it showcases the Museum’s historical collection as well as pieces from recent key contemporary acquisitions. This presentation will, through a curatorial lens, discuss the processes and challenges of presenting China in a permanent gallery in Scotland.

About the speaker: Dr Qin Cao is Curator of the Chinese collections, including those of the Himalayan and Mongolian regions, and the Korean peninsula. Qin studied Archaeology for her BA at Nanjing University and then her MA at University College London. She obtained a DPhil on the subject of Shang dynasty weapons from the University of Oxford in collaboration with the British Museum. Dr Cao has interned and worked at a number of heritage institutions, including the Bangkok office of UNESCO, Jinsha Site Museum, Chengdu, China and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. In 2012, she joined the British Museum as part of their Future Curators programme, and also worked at the Manchester Museum. Her primary interest is Chinese material culture, in particular bronzes of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, and numismatics.

Qing: China’s Multilingual Empire exhibition launch

Join us as we celebrate the opening of our new exhibition Qing: China’s Multilingual Empire. Exploring the languages and culture of China’s last dynasty, the exhibition features John Rylands Library documents curated with support from the Confucius Institute.

We’ll hear from exhibition curators Dr Johannes S. Lotze (Postdoctoral Fellow in Medieval Chinese History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Julianne Simpson (Collections and Discovery Manager, John Rylands Research Institute and Library). This will be followed by a live audience Q&A.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the foundation of the Confucius Institute at the University of Manchester. Over this period, the Institute has established itself as a resource for the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, the wider University and the local Manchester community. It has become an important asset with an excellent reputation for supporting access to Chinese language learning and Chinese culture in the North West.

Talk: Chinese gardens - design and symbolism

Join Manchester Confucius Institute and catch glimpses of the beloved blossoms and flowers of China during this time of year. Firstly, landscape architect Dr. Youcan Ren will hold this online talk on the symbolic meaning of Chinese flowers and traditional garden design. Popularised in China’s Jiangnan region, the plant arrangements in private gardens has formed a subcultural system that was significant to place the sentiments of the Chinese gentry. The book of Superfluities has made a detailed list of the aesthetic and cultural meanings of plants in private gardens and will be the starting point of her talk. Hopefully you will be inspired to experiment in your own garden or to create a special and meaningful gift for someone.

Talk: Daoism, TCM and the links to health preservation practice in China

Tai Chi and Daoyin, which is also known as Qigong have become very popular in the western world due to their many health benefits. These gentle and flowing movements are a very effective way of keeping fit and strengthen the internal body defence system whilst at the same time helping to reduce stress levels.

We will be joined by Feixia Yu, who has been running regular tai chi classes and well-being workshops for many years to talk about traditional Chinese health practices that are based on the two fundamental principles of yin and yang. Feixia will explore how the six healing sounds correspond to a specific organ and put those theories into practice by demonstrating some typical Daoyin moves that can be practised by absolutely everyone!

Talk: Finding work in the UK - my personal story

Many international students come to study in the UK with the aim to gain some work experience upon graduation. With the Graduate route becoming effective on 1 July, international students can work or look for work after their studies for a maximum of 2 years. In order to help students finding the right path for them, we are pleased to welcome successful Mandarin teacher and entrepreneur Miss Jessica Zhang to talk about her personal journey of finding a job in the UK. She will describe her experience as a foreign language teacher in a UK school at the beginning of her career and what you can do to prepare yourself for that type of working environment. So, if you are looking for information about finding employment in the UK, then Jessica’s know-how in writing a good CV and gaining valuable work experience as a non-native is not to be missed.

Talk: Reaching my career goals - architect Jing Wu answers your questions!

For our second talk with a specific career focus, we are welcoming Mr Jing Wu, who has ample experience in the architectural and engineering industry in Europe and Asia. He will share his personal journey of career choices, successes and setbacks before answering any questions you may have on cultural differences, industry standards and how to make the most of networking opportunities. So, if you are an international student who is looking to take the Graduate route and gain some work experience upon graduation, Jing’s experience of following a career path that was not always as smooth as previously anticipated is not to be missed.

Rather than ‘lecturing’ you as a career coach, Jing will instead be using this talk to interact with you and answer any questions you may have. Bring along your questions for Jing to answer!

Talk: The global appeal of the new generation of Chinese sci-fi writers

If you have read books like The Three-Body Problem, you will agree that Chinese science fiction is a diverse and quite unique type of sci-fi. Back in 2019, we welcomed Xia Jia to Manchester Literature Festival and someone asked: ‘What makes Chinese science fiction Chinese?’ In her response she explained that contemporary Chinese science fiction writers form a community full of internal differences like their origin, social class, ideology, cultural identity and aesthetics. However, there are still aspects of commonality among them as the stories are written primarily for a Chinese audience. The problems addressed are the problems that this audience can relate to but it is somehow connected in complex ways with the fate of the whole human race.

We are delighted to welcome Regina Kanyu Wang, a bilingual writer from Shanghai, who will talk about how the female identity and international encounters have influenced her own writing. Regina will explore further what makes Chinese science fiction ‘Chinese’ and reflect on her rediscovery of what it means to write science fiction as a Chinese female author. She will also give a reading of her most recent story The Story of Dǎo.

The 8 Brocades of Qigong – an easy to follow feel-good routine

introducing the 8 Brocades of Qigong and learned how to carry out 4 out of the 8 movements. In this class we will focus on learning the remaining 4 movements and their benefits for body and mind.

Qigong, also known as Chinese yoga is a gentle form of exercise that strengthens the internal body defence system and can be practised by absolutely everyone! Based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, these eight silken movements are a perfect way to start your day during these dark winter months.

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, hosted by Manchester Confucius Institute and UoM Chinese Studies 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 speakers of foreign languages 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 for conversation so everyone can get to know each other. There will also be Chinese snacks and drinks for you to try.

We hope you’ll join us and this will be the beginning of new friendships within the student community.

Traditional Chinese New Year food with Sam Sin

Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is China's most important festival. It is time for family and friends to enjoy their time together, and mark the occasion with some festive holiday foods. Chinese New Year 2021 falls on Friday, February 12, 2021, beginning a year of the Ox.

Sam Sin from Koi Kitchen returns to share how Chinese families usually celebrate Chinese New Year together. We will learn the traditional greetings, customs, and traditions during this auspicious time of year.

Sam will also share a recipe for 'Egg Dumplings' 蛋饺 the lesser-known cousin of the popular wheat wrapper dumplings everyone knows and loves. This naturally gluten-free recipe is an interesting alternative to add to your Lunar New Year feast whether you are celebrating with a traditional hot pot or cooking up a number of sharing dishes.

Woodblock print exhibition: The Soul of the Black Earth

Manchester Confucius Institute is delighted to welcome students back to campus. In celebration, they are hosting an exhibition featuring a selection of woodblock prints to give a taste of Chinese culture and introduce themselves. Manchester is a truly multicultural place with so much to discover and the institute can’t wait to be part of it through their events and cultural activities. Visit the main glass corridor in the Samuel Alexander building and explore the wonderful collection of prints from Heilongjiang Province, China! Presented in collaboration with Creative Manchester.

2020 events

Chinese New Year celebrations with Manchester Confucius Institute

Chinese New Year is undoubtedly Manchester’s most bright and colourful annual celebration. The streets of Manchester will be awash in a sea of red lanterns, with plenty of things to see and do. The Confucius Institute will be part of the City Centre celebrations by running the following activities:

Manchester Chinatown

24-26 January, 12pm - 5.30pm | NCP Car Park, China Town >>>
Manchester Chinatown will host a weekend of celebrations which we are excited to contribute to. Three musicians from the Confucius Institute will contribute with performances of the Guzheng, Dizi and Erhu; three traditional Chinese instruments on Saturday, 3-4pm.


25 January, 11am - 5pm >>>
Join us as we celebrate The Year of the Rat with a host of family-friendly activities. We will be teaching Chinese paper folding along with crafting activities centred on the Chinese zodiac that are sure to keep children entertained.

Selfridges, Exchange Square

25 -26 January, 1 - 5pm >>>
Enjoy the art of Chinese calligraphy by receiving a complimentary tag that can be personalised with a name or message written in Chinese and taken home or placed onto a wishing tree on Saturday and Sunday. The store also invites to a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony on Saturday.

Virgin Money Lounge, King Street

26 January, 12 - 3pm >>>
Visit us at Virgin Money Lounge on King Street to enjoy traditional Chinese brush painting onto fans and lanterns. This workshop is designed for adults to come along and learn the basics of this traditional Chinese art form. Book here:

Central Library

26 January, 12pm – 4pm >>>
The Central Library invites you to enjoy various Chinese New Year celebrations throughout the day. The Confucius Institute will be hosting a drop-in tea ceremony from 12-4pm, with various performances and workshops taking place simultaneously.

*12-1pm - Guzheng performance
*1-2pm - Chinese dance workshop
*2-3pm – Chinese flute (Dizi) performance
*3-4pm - Tai chi workshop

Manchester Art Gallery

26 January, 12pm – 4pm >>>
We will have performances and workshops taking place as part of Manchester Art Gallery’s celebrations. Additionally, you will have the chance to draw our teachers during their dance and tai chi performance.

*12-1pm - Chinese dance workshop
*1-2pm – Guzheng performance
*2-3pm - Tai chi workshop
*3-4pm – Chinese flute (Dizi) performance

Confucius Institute talk: Contemporary Chinese printmaking

To celebrate the launch of our contemporary Chinese woodblock print exhibition 'The Soul of the Black Earth', we will be joined by artist Dr Weimin He from Oxford. Dr He is one of the artist printmakers featured in the exhibition. Having lived in Heilongjiang Province, his origins have very much influenced his artistry. During his talk he will further explore the printmaking process and its history, with insight into the area that has inspired the prints on show. His talk will be followed by the official launch of the exhibition at 5.30pm

Exhibition: The Soul of the Black Earth - 60 years of contemporary Chinese printmaking

The Confucius Institute is delighted to bring this fascinating exhibition to Manchester, telling the story of four generations of printmakers from Heilongjiang Province in the north-east of China. Prints from this region are widely known as the Great Northern Wildness School, which is one of the most influential and characteristic schools in the Chinese art arena. The exhibition tells the story of four generations of printmakers and, in doing so, provides a look back at 60 years of history that this area of China has experienced. Presented in collaboration with Dr Weimin He, Heilongjiang Museum of Art in Heilongjiang and Confucius Institute at Oxford Brookes.

CI cookery classes

Manchester Confucius Institute is hosting three fun and hands-on cookery classes led by Sam Sin from Koi Kitchen. Each class will have a different theme and focus, allowing you to create a variety of authentic dishes and learn new cooking techniques. All sessions are suitable for vegetarians. The topic of our March class is 'Go veggie Chinese style'.

Lessons from Laozi - managing anxiety amidst a pandemic

Speaker: Manuel Parreño Piñol (Embrace China Ltd)

Following on from a very inspirational in-person talk in Manchester last October, Manchester Confucius Institute in collaboration with Leeds Business Confucius Institute are inviting you to this online talk with inspirational speaker Manuel Parreno!
Lao Zi, founder of the philosophy known as Daoism, has earned the respect of people in all circles in China. Lao Zi's philosophy, after more than 2000 years, is still influencing the daily lives of Chinese people, heavily influencing their way of thinking and dealing with life's difficulties.
Manuel will examine Laozi's Dao as it relates to human beings, the current global pandemic, and Laozi’s understanding of how we can harness greater inner peace in our life.

Online talk: The wellbeing benefits of indoor plants

Join us to discover simple steps of growing plants indoors and find ways of using our natural environment to combat stress and worries, one seedling at a time.
Becoming a student often means moving into your first home away from home. Under the current circumstances, we spend more time than usual there and it is important that your study and living space is a calm one. The first thing most people think about is buying a plant! But then how do you look after it? During this one-hour session, Mark Frith, an experienced Horticulture Therapist will explain how to plan your indoor garden, select plants and then how to propagate from them. If you already have some plants and experience some problems, like discoloured leaves or common pests, you may want to know how to remedy them. At the end of the session, Mark will be able to answer any of your questions, no matter whether you are starting off or are somewhat a more experienced gardener already.
Mark Frith is the founder of Growing Togetherness and delivers bespoke sessions on Horticultural Therapy to help communities grow and be more sustainable. He truly believes that taking time to learn something new and rewarding should be an important priority for people in this day and age, especially when highly pressured jobs and lifestyles are having such a negative impact.

The 8 Brocades of Qigong – a 10min feel-good routine to start your day with Feixia Yu

Manchester Confucius Institute has been trying to introduce new ways for people to engage with traditional Chinese wellness practices to support physical and mental wellbeing. Back in April, we developed a series of short video tutorials demonstrating the 8 Brocades of Qigong in English.
As a follow-up, we are delighted to welcome Feixia Yu for an interactive live tutorial this Wednesday at 1pm: The 8 Brocades of Qigong – a 10min feel-good routine to start your day
Qigong, also known as Chinese yoga is a gentle form of exercise that strengthens the internal body defence system and can be practised by absolutely everyone! Based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, these eight silken movements are a perfect way to start your day during these dark winter months.
If you enjoy this Zoom tutorial, we will make sure to share the link to the video tutorials afterwards, so you can repeat this in your own time and on a more regular basis.

The Book of Shanghai: Chen Danyan & Wang Zhanhei in conversation

Join us for a literary exploration of the city of Shanghai as part of a very special event, showcasing Comma's city anthology The Book of Shanghai, which features ten contemporary Chinese authors. We will be joined by two contributing authors Chen Danyan and Wang Zhanhai, who will be in conversation with Comma Press' CEO & Publisher, Ra Page, about what it is to be a young, female writer in China today, writing about the lives of urban Chinese residents.
A joint event between the Confucius Institute at the University of Manchester and Comma Press.

The 5th International Symposium on Chinese Language Teaching and Learning

The Confucius Institute at The University of Manchester is delighted to host the 5th International Symposium on Chinese Language Teaching and learning via zoom. It brings together academics, researchers, teachers from the UK, USA and China in the teaching and learning of Chinese language to share their expertise and experiences.
The theme for this year is “Adapting to the change”, with the term “change” to be understood in its widest sense, including the transition to online learning and teaching that the current pandemic has imposed on so many of us at very short notice. How have we and our students adapted to this new situation? To what extent this pandemic has contributed to redefining what constitutes language learning and teaching? What is the post-pandemic new normal likely to look like for us?
The change also includes the reform of the Chinese GCSE/A-level exam for secondary schools in the UK since 2017. What’s more, in the pandemic, language teaching turns out to be particularly difficult for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). We will bring these areas into the spotlight, in order to raise awareness in the Chinese language teaching field.
The symposium will run on Sat 28th Nov from14:30 until 17:30 and on Sun, 29th Nov from 10:00 until 12:45.

Discover China's popular winter food with Sam Sin

Following our successful face-to-face and virtual Chinese cooking tutorials, Sam Sin from Koi Kitchen will give a great insight into Chinese cooking during these winter months. She will also share her recipe for Crunchy Toffee Apples, a classic Chinese dessert shared by Chinese families worldwide. This step by step recipe is fun to do with young children and adults alike, and can be enjoyed all year round!
About the speaker:
Sam Sin founded Koi Kitchen in 2016, following her passion for creating and sharing delicious food. As with many British Chinese families that migrated to the UK in the 1970s, her parents made their living working in the catering industry. Being brought up helping out in her family’s takeaways and restaurants, Sam closely watched her mum cook their traditional family meals. And this is where her love of great food and quality fresh ingredients comes from. With a real skill to share that knowledge and those experiences, her adapted recipes and authentic cooking techniques are truly inspiring.

2019 events

Confucius Institute talk: China's changing consumer markets

How fashion manufacturers and retailers react to an ageing society in China.

Accessing the Chinese consumer involves understanding the unique platforms and drivers of purchases. Over the next decade, approximately two-thirds of all retail spending growth in the UK is predicted to come from people aged over 55. At the same time, ‘new older generations’ in China who are seen as open-minded and less traditional as well as more financially stable will substantially increase in the next decade. Recently there has been a notable change in how the older population is considered in the traditionally youth-focused fashion industry, although many fashion companies and retailers are still uncertain about whether their strategies fit.

This talk will provide a comprehensive understanding of the fashion preferences and consumer behaviour in relation to the older Chinese consumer group. Come along to understand what this could mean for you and your organization and how to tailor your business strategies to embrace the huge potential market in China.

Minzhi Zhang is a doctoral candidate researcher at The University of Manchester with 10 years’ experience in the fashion industry (Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and China Textile News).

Chinese New Year film screening: Men on the Dragon

A heartfelt, feel-good Hong Kong comedy about a group of middle-aged men who join a dragon boat team to avoid layoffs and rediscover their lust for life. Screenwriter Sunny Chan’s directorial debut is a well-observed comedy-drama with much to say about men of a certain age facing all sorts of mid-life crises.

Chinese New Year at HOME

Presented in partnership with Chinese Visual Festival and supported by the Confucius Institute at The University of Manchester.

Confucius Institute talk: China in drag - travels with a cross-dresser

Michael Bristow, BBC World Service’s Asia and Pacific editor will talk about his eight-year stay in Beijing and why he decided to write about the country’s modern history. To assist him he asked for the help of his language teacher, who was born just two years after the communist party came to power in 1949. The changing fortunes of his life have mirrored the ups and downs of his country, which has moved from communist poverty to capitalist wealth in just a single generation. It came as a surprise though, to learn that the teacher was also a cross-dresser. Michael gradually realised that the teacher’s story is the story of modern China.

Our talks are free to attend and everyone is welcome!

From Shore to Shore - a powerful new drama with great food and live music

The Confucius Institute extends an invitation to an exclusive showing of the From Shore to Shore play on campus.

Three stories, three lives, three journeys, to find a place called home. Award-winning writer Mary Cooper and multilingual collaborator MW Sun have woven together stories of love, loss, struggle and survival into a powerful drama told alongside great food and live music. Taking place in a restaurant setting, over a delicious two-course meal, From Shore to Shore blends English, Mandarin and Cantonese to tell the stories of Chinese communities in the UK.

CI poetry talk: The charm of Chinese culture

Chinese culture has a long history, profound knowledge, and endless charm. Be part of this public talk and get to know more about Chinese literature, Chinese poetry, as well as China’s ancient capitals.

The research of Dr Zhen Kang, Professor of Chinese Literature at Beijing Normal University, focuses on Ancient Chinese Literature and Culture and his interests are Chinese Tang Dynasty Literature, Su Shi, and Li Bai.

Since 2005, Dr Kang’s lectures have been featured on CCTV’s most popular programme called 'Lectures Room', where more than 100 episodes were taught by him. He is also the Literacy Consultant and had guest appearances on several popular CCTV programmes, including Chinese Poetry Congress, Everlasting Classics, Readers, Chinese Character Dictation Contest.

Please note: This talk will be held in Mandarin and there will be NO interpretation service available

Film screening; I’ve Got The Blues

Angie Chen’s latest, acclaimed documentary 'I’ve Got The Blues' is a striking film that focuses on Hong Kong painter, art director, blues musician and activist Yank Wong Yan-kwai. Through a series of often interrupted interviews, Chen uses her often elusive subject as a starting point for a meditation on creativity, personal and social conscience and contemporary Hong Kong. Never less than engaging the film ultimately captures the fleeting nature of creation – on both sides of the camera.

Chen says, “I have sought to bring the vibrant underground art scene to the forefront, to introduce ‘Yank’ and his friends, to make this film not only about Yank, but also about Hong Kong and its people.”

Confucius Institute public talk: Contemporary Chinese culture through performing arts

The talk will explore the current British perception about Chinese culture and how different art forms and works might help to raise public understanding and appreciation of contemporary Chinese perspectives.

The first Chinese Arts Now (CAN) Festival that took place earlier this year, celebrated and promoted artists of Chinese extraction in the UK, both those born in Britain and those from the wider Chinese diaspora. More than 60 high-quality events took place throughout London showcasing a diverse range of art forms, presenting contemporary British-Chinese stories and new works that fuse Chinese heritage and European culture in innovative ways. "There are great Chinese traditions, but I think there is a gap in showing contemporary Chinese culture. We don't live in a time where we just perform lion dances, we have contemporary theatre, new music, and we have innovative artists." An-Ting Chang explains.

An-Ting Chang is a concert pianist, composer, theatre and artistic director of Chinese Arts Now (CAN). In addition to solo and chamber recitals, An-Ting is constantly seeking new and creative approaches to combine her concerts with different media

Dragon boat festival

Would you like to try out a slightly different sport? Well, if you can swim at least 50 metres and have some team spirit, look no further and join us for some Dragonboat paddling in the lead up to the Dragonboat Festival in June. If you haven’t done this sort of thing before, don’t worry you will learn everything you need to know during these training sessions.

This training session will be lead by Paddlers for Life at Debdale Outdoor Centre, 1037 Hyde Rd., Manchester, M18 7LJ. You will have to sign an indemnity form on arrival before taking part in the training. The Confucius Institute will cover the cost of the training session but please confirm your attendance in advance by emailing:

And if you are enjoying this traditional Chinese team sport, you might be interested in joining the CI Manchester Panda Team to compete in the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival at Salford Quays on Sun, 2 June!

Chinese theatre at the community festival: Fighting the White Bone Demon

As part of the University's Community Festival, Huaxia Chinese School proudly presents 'Fighting the White Bone Demon', a story from the ancient Chinese Book 'The Monkey King's Journey to the West' as a 15-minute play in Mandarin with English subtitles. Huaxia Chinese School is a Manchester-based supplementary school providing Chinese language and culture education to children aged 5 - 18.

Pizza making at Hulme Community Gardens

Make and enjoy your own Pizza in this interactive workshop at Hulme Community Gardens. This is a great opportunity for students who are new in Manchester to get together and make friends. And while you are at the garden centre right near the university campus, you will also have the chance to view our Confucius Institute garden. Please wear appropriate clothing for this activity.

PLEASE NOTE that before each session, a member of the Confucius Institute team will meet participants at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (M15 6PQ) at 4:20pm to walk to the garden centre together.

Bluedot 2019: What element am I?

Jodrell Bank's multi-award winning festival of discovery is set to return to for its fourth outing on 18-21 July 2019, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landings.

Join the Confucius Institute to find out what makes Chinese Philosophy around the 5 elements so exciting! Wood, fire, earth, metal, and water are believed to be the fundamental components of everything in the universe and are used to describe interactions and relationships between things. In Chinese astrology, each zodiac sign is associated with one of the five elements — this association is your “lucky” element. Find us and try your hand at the art of Chinese calligraphy and create beautifully decorated rocks personalised with your special element or message.

CI talk: Understanding the multiple meanings and spaces of Manchester’s Chinatown

Discussing the results of research undertaken in Manchester’s Chinatown, this talk will explore the multiple meanings of the site, exploring how Chinatown allows for acts of social and economic interaction, cultural celebration and identity expression. In an attempt to look beyond common understandings of Chinatown’s as static spaces defined by exotic imagery and touristic interest, this talk will explore how both the physical space and the cultural meanings within Manchester’s Chinatown have come to shape the space we know today.

Food spaces, in particular, have been studied to explore their role in Chinatown, as well as the work of organisations such as The Confucius Institute. It will draw some comparisons to Vancouver’s Chinatown and in doing so, raise a discussion of the multiple challenges that Chinatown’s can face when attempting to exist as culturally and economically significant spaces in the context of rapid urban change and racial marginalisation.

Film screening: Still Human 

A wheelchair user since a workplace accident, the gruff working-class Cheong-wing (Anthony Wong) needs assistance to carry out daily tasks. An advert for a new assistant brings Evelyn, a young woman from the Philippines, into his life. Writer and director Oliver Chan manages to instil her characters with great dignity and uses their story to explore a range of contemporary social issues that affect many working-class people in Hong Kong. The emotional impact of Still Human is helped enormously by three beautifully nuanced performances from Anthony Wong (Best Actor Hong Kong Film Awards) and Crisel Consunji (Best Newcomer Hong Kong Film Awards) as the film’s two leads and Sam Lee in a notable supporting role.

Justifiably described by Screen Daily as ‘a real Hong Kong treat’, Chan’s multi-award-winning debut proved a surprise hit at the Hong Kong box-office when it was released earlier this year.

Supported by the Confucius Institute at The University of Manchester.

Mid-autumn festival gala

Come and celebrate China’s second-biggest annual festival with the Confucius Institute! We will be hosting a Festival Gala showcasing music and dance acts that are traditionally enjoyed during the Moon Festival, as it is also known. Meet Beijing Normal University Art Troupe, made up of the University’s talented students, who will bring Chinese music and dance to Manchester with their performance.

Tickets can be bought at the Confucius Institute, 180 Waterloo Place, M13 9GP or online:

This event is kindly sponsored by Wong Wong Bakery, Princess Street, Manchester.

Chen Qiufan and Xia Jia at Manchester Literature Festival   

We are delighted to welcome two of China’s most acclaimed science fiction writers to MLF. Chen Qiufan (aka Stanley Chan) is the author of Waste Tide. Set in the world’s largest e-waste recycling centre, the novel considers the complexities of the climate emergency, class, power and globalisation. His work has been translated into English by Ken Liu. Xia Jia (aka Wang Yao) is an academic, fiction writer and translator. Seven of her stories have won the Galaxy Award, China’s most prestigious science fiction award. She has published a fantasy novel and three science-fiction short story collections in Chinese, with her first collection to be translated into English, A Summer Beyond Your Reach, coming in November. Her work has been translated by Ken Liu, Emily Jen and Carmen Yiling Yan.

There will also be a writing workshop organised by CFCCA in conjunction with this event. Visit for more information.

Confucius Institute talk: Lao Zi – the law governing all laws

Lao Zi, the first philosopher of Chinese Daoism has shaped Chinese philosophy and is highly respected in all circles in China; he was a venerated philosopher to the Confucians; to the people he was a saint or a god and to the Daoists he was an emanation of the Dao and one of their greatest divinities.

In this public talk, the speaker examines Lao Zi’s believe in the duality of human nature and argues that we are not our own as we depend on the laws governing happiness, something we all strive towards. Piñol explores Lao Zi’s Dao as it relates to human beings and the fact that happiness is within everyone’s reach.

Manuel Parreño Piñol graduated from Xiangtan University with a Master’s Degree in Chinese Philosophy, focussing on the Meaning and Value of Goodness in Lao Zi’s Philosophy.

Film screening: Plastic China

As the world’s biggest plastic waste importer, by 2016 China was receiving ten million tons per year from most of the developed countries around the world. With high external costs impacting the local environment and health, these imports are reborn here in these plastic workshops into “recycled” raw materials for the appetite of China – the world factory.  This waste is then exported back to where they came from with a new face such as manufactured clothing or toys.

Plastic China’s main character Yi-Jie is an unschooled 11-year-old girl whose family works and lives in a typical plastic waste household-recycling workshop. As much as her life is poor and distorted, she’s a truly global child who learns about the outside world from the waste workshop that her family lives and works in.

Chinese Independent Film Network UK and Chinese Film Forum UK co-present Plastic China, which forms part of the Earth in Crisis Chinese Eco-documentary Tour.

Curated by Chinese Independent Film Network UK and supported by UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Earth in Crisis brings award-winning directors to cinemas across the UK and showcases a series of Chinese eco-documentary films that foreground the growing ecological emergency facing our planet.

Confucius Institute talk: Wellbeing - the Chinese approach

What really is wellbeing and do we need to look at the wellbeing of the Chinese nationals in our communities differently? This talk will explore these questions by arguing that Chinese wellbeing remains to be misinterpreted, misunderstood and overlooked.

Over the last few decades, the UK has attracted different groups of Chinese migrants and immigrants, but only recently more professional and academic attention has been paid to understanding and supporting this so-called ‘one big cultural group’.

Misunderstanding and ignorance of the complexity of the Chinese cultures/identities (which closely link with one’s wellness and mental health) seem to be a key contributing factor to the existing ‘western’ led support and services mismatch with the actual needs of the Chinese.

Tiffany Leung, a counselling psychologist with a research focus in ‘Chinese Mental Health in an Intercultural Context’, advocates that more space and resources can constructively facilitate the Chinese’s articulation of their own voices on their deeper meanings of wellness.

From seeing to discovering - A unique exploration of the interplay between art and mathematics

Our civilisation has been developed based on modern knowledge and tradition, or oriental and occidental, but there is an important third source which has been often been largely neglected: interdisciplinary and intercultural inference and exchange. In this lecture, Professor Cai will focus on the interplay between science and humanity and in particular the similarity among mathematics, art, poetry, and daily life. He will explain why maths is everywhere. Professor Cai believes that there is a process from seeing to discovering in any field of study or career, and he will demonstrate it through classical or modern painting together with some photographs that he took from all around the world.

Dr Cai Tianxin is a mathematician, poet and essayist, photographer and a distinguished professor of Zhejiang University, one of China’s leading academic institutions. He holds a PhD in number theory and has published extensively in this field. His poetry has been translated into more than 20 languages; he has held more than 10 solo photography exhibitions and is a winner of numerous literary and scientific awards. He has also travelled to more than 100 countries – this visit to Manchester is his first!

2018 events

Monday lunchtime talk: China's one-child policy from a wider East Asian perspective

The so-called one-child policy, introduced in 1979 and gradually phased out since 2015, is known as one of China’s most radical population policies in recent history. It is also well known that the state under the policy organised a nationwide family planning campaign. What is less known, however, is its international dimension. In this talk, Dr Aya Homei (University of Manchester) will describe that the policy also mobilised interactions between Chinese and Japanese health officials and grassroots health activists, which ultimately promoted a certain kind of family planning initiative that went beyond the purview of population control. She will explain these interactions in terms of a broader political and cultural context of China-Japan relations in the 1980s, with a focus primarily on how the Japanese interpreted the Chinese family planning campaign.

Chinese New Year film and pizza: Godspeed

Celebrate Chinese New Year at HOME with 'Godspeed' one of the best recent films from Taiwan. When Na Do, a youthful slacker looking to make some money by transporting drugs, reluctantly takes a ride in Old Xu’s clearly past its best taxi both their lives change forever as they find they are on the wrong side of the mob. Laced with the darkest of black humour Godspeed proves to be something of a tour de force, not least because of the fabulous performance of Hong Kong comedy legend Michael Hui as the world-weary Hong Kong taxi driver displaced to Taiwan.

The Confucius Institute invites to FREE Pizza and discussion afterwards!

Confucius Institute talk: Changing food practices in urban China

The rapid increase in meat consumption amongst the urban Chinese middle classes is problematised across international research and policy literature as a key contributor to global environmental problems. In this presentation Alison will explore the dynamics of meat provision and consumption in everyday life in Beijing and Shanghai, reflecting upon experiences of eating meat within shifting systems of food provision; the changing role of meat associated with socialising, celebrating and nurturing; and emerging hybridities of dietary and health knowledges – alongside food safety concerns – that are being leveraged to justify meat reduction practices. Meat reduction, however, remains difficult to achieve particularly when eating amongst family or eating out. Our findings reflect an already shifting relationship between the Chinese middle classes and their consumption of meat. This finding problematises the assumption that middle-class consumption will continue to rise, indefinitely, alongside increasing societal wealth and urbanisation. Everyday life dynamics including social and cultural conventions around family, sociality and health are shown to both support and constrain emergent food transitions in the Chinese context. This presentation is the result of a collaboration between the  University of Manchester (Alison Browne –Geography/SCI; Josephine Mylan – Alliance Manchester Business School/SCI) and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Zhu Di – Institute of Sociology).

Confucius Institute talk: Everyday matters - urbanisation and sanitation in China

This talk is about the different ways in which everyday hygiene practices in urban China influence how long-term residents, newcomers from the rural countryside and other groups in the city get along. Dr Deljana Iossifova (University of Manchester) will present how communities practised sanitation and how cities handled night soil in recent history. Today, to match what is expected from ‘world-class’ cities, China relies largely on sanitation infrastructure similar to that in the West. However, as the country undergoes so-called ‘high-speed urbanisation’, not all cities and not all urban areas within cities can keep up with the speed of modernisation. Pockets of poverty remain and often coincide with pockets of outdated (in the eyes of city planners) sanitation infrastructures. We will explore how the coexistence of the old and the new; the poor and the rich; the traditional and the modern is experienced in the everyday of urban residents and how these experiences shape how people in China’s dense cities live together.

China’s belt and road initiative: Connecting the world

The Society for Anglo Chinese Understanding invites to a panel discussion on China’s Belt and Road - or 21st Century Silk Road - Initiative, which has been hailed as “the greatest economic development project ever undertaken” and is of huge significance in redefining China’s place in the world. It opens a new meeting ground for diverse civilisations, potentially reawakening the Eurasian super-continent to rebalance the global landscape.

The panel will discuss the economic, intercultural and geopolitical dimensions of the scheme, weighing its globally transformative potential and considering how we in Britain should be responding. With two panel members recently returned from a business tour of Pakistan, the experience of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will also be addressed.

Panel:  Professor Michael Wood, University of Manchester; historian, writer, broadcaster and presenter of the BBC’s The Story of China, Keith Bennett, Vice-Chairman of The 48 Group Club Shao Zheng, Counsellor for Policy Analysis and Strategic Planning, Chinese Embassy to the United Kingdom Hon. Alderman Mushtaq Lasharie CBE, Former Councillor and Deputy Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Chairman Third World Solidarity

Welcome address: Afzal Khan CBE, MP for Manchester Gorton; also contributing:  Rhys Whalley, Manchester China Forum


Supported by: Chinese Economics Association, Third World Solidarity and The Confucius Institute at The University of Manchester

Join us at the annual CI dragon boat race

This year UCLAN Confucius Institute will organise the annual Dragon Boat race amongst North West Universities at Preston Marina. 6-8 teams will once again compete for the top spot, drawn from university staff, students and friends of the Confucius Institutes. Other competing universities include Lancaster University, Edge Hill University, Liverpool University and UCLAN.

We are currently recruiting for a team of 18 enthusiastic competitors who are able to attend at least a couple of training session on Saturdays in preparation for the race.

The only requirements are the ability to swim 50 metres and obviously plenty of team spirit! If you haven’t done this sort of thing before, don’t worry you will learn everything you need to know during the training sessions.

Why not take this opportunity to take part in something different and get to know a really fun and exciting Chinese tradition. If you are interested in being part of the Manchester team please email by 16th March!

Film screening: Almost Heaven

Almost Heaven tells the story of Ying Ling, an ambitious 17-year-old girl far from home, struggling to overcome her sense of displacement, alienation and fears of death as she trains to become a funeral director in one of China’s largest funeral homes. The film is confidently quiet in its telling of this intimate, tender and life-affirming portrait of a young woman on the cusp of adulthood.

Confucius Institute talk: White-collar beauties: Gender, sexuality and power in urban China

This talk is about the experiences of highly educated young professional women, hailed by the Chinese media as ‘white-collar beauties’. It exposes the organizational mechanisms – naturalization, objectification and commodification of women – that wield gendered and sexual control in post-Mao workplaces. Whilst men benefit from symbolic and bureaucratic power, women professionals skilfully enact indirect power in a game of domination and resistance. The sources of women’s subversion are grounded in their only-child upbringing which breaks the patrilineal base of familial patriarchy fostering an unprecedented ambition in personal development, gender as inherently relational and a role-oriented system, and inner-outer cultural boundaries as signifiers of moral agency. This raises a new feminist inquiry about the agents for social change. Through a nuanced analysis grounded in the socio-cultural locality, this book throws fresh light upon the ways in which gender, sexuality and power could be theorized beyond a Euro-American reality.

Community festival

Come and experience our free Community Festival packed with fun family-friendly activities. We are throwing open our doors for our local neighbours to discover the variety of things we do. Go behind the scenes at the University to find out all about our work and get hands-on with our exciting activities.

At Manchester Confucius Institute you can enjoy a tea ceremony in the beautiful Chinese Garden, classical music performances and Chinese arts & crafts workshops for children.

Film screening: Sunshine That Can Move Mountains

When Tenzin Banjue learns his brother is in a vegetative state, the young Tibetan monk must leave his monastery and embark on the long walk back to his home village. Filmed with Tibetan actors, set against the region’s sprawling landscapes, director Wang Qiang’s debut feature is both a rich meditation on love and faith and a snapshot of a disappearing culture.

Supported by the Confucius Institute at The University of Manchester

Welcome film and pizza: The Great Buddha

We are welcoming everybody back to the new academic year with 'The Great Buddha'. Pickle works as a security guard at a Buddha statue factory. Urged by his best friend, he grabs his boss’s dashcam. As they watch the recordings, they find out some dirty secrets that will trigger a chain reaction.

This screening will be introduced by Andy Willis from the Chinese Film Forum UK and the Confucius Institute invites to FREE Pizza and discussion afterwards!

Confucius Institute public talk: Traditional Chinese medicine, food therapy and wellbeing

Chinese herbal medicine is concerned with the correction of internal imbalances as opposed to simply responding to symptoms and patients are encouraged to actively participate in the self-healing process by addressing diet, exercise etc. Professor Shulan Tang is a well-known clinician and expert in Chinese medicine. She is highly respected in her field, her knowledge and command of Chinese herbs are unparalleled, and her clients travel from around the globe to seek treatment from the Professor.

She will talk about food therapy related to Chinese medicine and explain how to choose different herbs to suit individual body constitution. Shulan will introduce ways to incorporate those in your daily diet to improve your health in general, reduce stress, insomnia, promote blood circulation and natural beauty.

Our public talk series will now take place at Manchester Central Library, St Peter's Square, M2 5PD!

Please note that due to unforeseen circumstances Dr Tang will NOT be able to hold the talk herself. The content of her talk will be delivered by two practitioners of the Shulan Clinic. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Confucius Institute taster sessions 2018

Come along to our free taster sessions, get to know our native teachers, find out which class would be the right one for you and learn about our approach to teaching Mandarin. We look forward to welcoming you to the Manchester Confucius Institute.

We will offer the following one-hour sessions:

Monday 24/09/2018: Comprehensive One Taster

Tuesday 25/09/2018: Calligraphy Taster

Wednesday 26/09/2018: Conversational One & HSK 3 Taster

Thursday 27/09/2018: Comprehensive One & Calligraphy Taster

Mirror project: Smoothing towards Utopia with artist Han Bing

Chinese artist Han Bing will lead a public procession from Manchester Cathedral, through the city, ending at HOME. With each member of the procession wearing the flags of different nations worn draped around their shoulders, the artist addresses the question of how to smooth the conflicts between our individual identities and our role as a member of a community - or a citizen of a country - without erasing the differences that make us unique. As nationalist politics are on the rise across the world, Han Bing asks, who has the right to belong? And what must be erased or assimilated in order to become part of a collective?

If you would like to be involved in the procession, we welcome you with open arms. Please email with the subject heading ‘Smoothing towards Utopia’. You will need to be at the Cathedral by 2pm on Wednesday 10 October.

Han Bing grew up in a small rural village in China, now based in Beijing, he is an artist who works across performance, painting, photography and installation.

Smoothing Towards Utopia is supported by the Confucius Institute at the University of Manchester.

Mid-autumn festival celebration

Come and celebrate China’s second-biggest annual festival with the Confucius Institute! Fun and informal drop-in activities like Chinese calligraphy, costumes, dance performances, tea ceremony and moon cake tasting that are traditionally enjoyed during the Moon Festival, as it is also known.

Manchester Literature Festival: Mary Jean Chan, Xi Chuan and Jennifer Lee Tsai

MLF and the Confucius Institute are delighted to present an inspiring afternoon of poetry from three exciting voices of Chinese heritage. Xi Chuan is a multi-award-winning poet, essayist, translator, and is currently a professor at Beijing Normal University. He has published nine collections of poetry, including Depth and Shallowness, and A Dream’s Worth, and has translated the likes of Ezra Pound, Jorge Luis Borges, Czeslaw Milosz and Gary Snyder. Mary Jean Chan’s poems feature in many literary journals and Carcanet’s New Poetries V11. Her debut collection is due from Faber in 2019. Jennifer Lee Tsai is a fellow of the acclaimed national poetry mentoring scheme, The Complete Works III, and her poems appear in the Bloodaxe anthology, Ten: Poets of the New Generation. The event will be introduced by John McAuliffe.

You can also join all three poets for writing workshops, networking and dinner at Yang Sing restaurant, 3pm – 6.30pm, at an event organised by ?? Bi’an, the UK Chinese Writers’ Network. Tickets cost £17.50/£13.50 including dinner.

Confucius Institute talk: Chinese gardens - how a British botanist opened China to the West

At a time when the world was opening up to trade and exploration, on the lookout for valuable commodities, in particular, plants — not least tea, the highly prized crop that originated in south-west China, John Bradby Blake (1745-1773) was a trader working for an East India Company in Canton, also known as Guangzhou. A botanical enthusiast, he undertook the ambitious and innovative task of producing an illustrated catalogue of Chinese plants, a legacy of documents and botanical art, which include Chinese native plants that changed Western food culture and that are now part of our daily lives.

Learn more about the botanical interactions between Britain and China in the 18th century in this talk which will focus on the main aspects of Blake’s project, its reception in Britain and what it reveals of the importance of botany in the contemporary British Empire.

Expert in Sino-British exchanges and China Trade paintings Dr Josepha Richard will provide a snapshot of a period when westerners were just beginning to gain access to that country’s extraordinary food and garden culture.

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