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.

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: tabea.heckrodt@manchester.ac.uk

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 Chinatowns’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: https://bit.ly/2kx2RVE

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 www.cfcca.org.uk 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 & 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 Whal-ley, Manchester China Forum

Website: sacu.org.uk  

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 confucius@manchester.ac.uk 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 & 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 & Well-being

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 asiatriennialmcr@gmail.com 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 & 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 FTChinese.com, 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.