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Confucius Institute 曼彻斯特大学孔子学院

Cultural workshops

Are you looking to host an authentic China-themed event or celebrate a festival like Chinese New Year? Our cultural workshops are the perfect way to experience an exciting range of Chinese cultural activities.

A photograph of a tutor teaching Chinese calligraphy

Workshop topics

We offer a selection of workshops designed to introduce a range of language and cultural elements. Based on the expectations of your group, we will design a bespoke package of activities from a broad selection of topics.  Find out more about each workshop and watch some of our workshop sessions below:

Chinese language taster

This workshop is for beginners who have not studied Mandarin before or have only studied the basics. We will introduce some interesting aspects of Chinese culture and basic daily expressions such as greetings, self-introduction, thank you and goodbye. We will also teach participants numbers 1-10 with hand gestures. Our teachers apply a communicative approach, using lots of speaking practice and interactive games.

  • This is our most popular workshop and suitable for all age groups.

Chinese New Year taster

In this workshop we will introduce aspects of Chinese culture and folk customs related to the  Chinese New Year period and tell interesting stories, like where the Chinese character 年(year)came from. We will also share facts about traditional foods and how families celebrate China’s biggest festival with each other. There is even a very popular ‘Happy New Year’ song that we can teach you.

  • This workshop is suitable for all age groups. 

Taichi

Originating in ancient China, tai chi is regarded as one of the most effective exercises for mental and physical health. In this workshop participants will be shown basic Chen style tai chi movements to relaxing music by an experienced instructor. We suggest that a venue with plenty of space is used for this activity e.g. a school assembly hall or an open outdoor space if the weather permits.

  • This workshop is suitable for children in Year 2 or above and adults.

Games on Chinese culture and customs

Participants will be shown a traditional Chinese game called 击鼓传花(passing the flower according to the drum beat). This will be followed by a quiz about basic Chinese culture.

We can also introduce fun and simple competitions with chopsticks after we have taught how to use them correctly.

  • We recommend this workshop for primary school aged children.

Chinese songs and traditional Chinese instruments

In this workshop we will introduce one or more traditional Chinese musical instruments such as the zither, er hu or Chinese flute by letting participants interact with the instrument. Our teacher will play a piece of music using the instrument to demonstrate, whilst students will be encouraged to use some smaller and simpler instruments to play along to the same beat. 

Students may also be taught a simple song and take part in an interactive quiz about Chinese music. Please note that the individual instruments used will depend on our staff availability but please get in touch if you have a specific request.

  • This workshop is suitable for all age groups.

Chinese folk dance

In this workshop participants will be shown some typical Chinese dance movement styles, for example the Han dance, Tibetan dance, Uygur dance and Dai dance. You will then learn a specific simple dance in time to music e.g. the Han handkerchief dance or Dai peacock dance.

  • This workshop is suitable for children from Year 2 or above.

Chinese calligraphy

In this workshop we will introduce the history of Chinese calligraphy before participants are then taught the eight basic strokes. After some practice, you will be able to write a Chinese character or phrase in a formal Chinese way, for example the character “福” (happiness). Each individual will be assisted and be able to take a piece of art home at the end.

  • This workshop is suitable for children in Year 4 or above and adults.

Chinese traditional brush painting

Chinese brush painting is one of the oldest continuous artistic traditions in the world.  Traditional painting involves similar techniques to that of calligraphy and is done with a brush dipped in black ink or coloured pigments (oils are not used).

In this workshop we introduce different types of painting before participants are taught a specific object e.g. bamboo, panda, grapes etc. After practicing, participants will be able to create their own piece of art work.

  • This workshop is suitable for children in Year 4 or above and adults.

Chinese arts and crafts (traditional paper cutting, paper folding and knot making)

Paper cutting

Participants will have the opportunity to learn traditional paper cutting. They will be shown a step by step demonstration and learn how to cut a pattern into coloured paper, such as the popular patterns for the Chinese character “春”(spring), or butterfly, panda, etc (this is dependent on the age of the participants). During the lesson we will try to help each individual as much as we can, however please note this may not always be possible.

  • For the ‘spring’ character, we recommend Year 3 and above. For other more simple paper cuts, we recommend Years 1-3.  

Paper folding

We will show participants a step by step demonstration of how to fold paper into a jumping frog. Participants can then use their imagination to decorate their own frog and take part in a frog jumping competition. For young children who require an easier alternative, they could instead learn how to make a panda bookmark. This is a very popular workshop, especially for younger children.

  • For the jumping frog, we recommend Year 3 and above and for the panda bookmark, Years 1-3. 

Knot making

Participants will be taught how to make a basic Chinese knot bracelet in pairs. We recommend this workshop for a small group of adults due to the complexity of the skill and the time required.  

  • This workshop is suitable for adults.  

Traditional Chinese stories

In this workshop participants will hear stories about the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals and how the monster 年 became the namesake of Chinese New Year. The love story of the mid-autumn festival and the story behind the dragon boat festival will also be shared in a vivid and engaging way. We will also be talking about the different customs that are related to these traditional Chinese festivals.

  • We recommend this workshop for primary school children.

Traditional Chinese tea ceremony

In this workshop participants have the opportunity to enjoy a demonstration of a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. You will learn about the importance of tea culture in China by observing how to make, serve and enjoy a variety of Chinese teas.

  • This workshop is suitable for children in Year 4 or above and adults.

Workshop requirements

Our sessions that involve teaching with PowerPoint slides require an audio visual-equipped teaching room.

If you are booking calligraphy or brush painting sessions to be delivered to a number of different groups, we ask that one single space is provided for the day, as the set up can be quite time-consuming.

Our dance and taichi workshops are best held in a large indoor space with audio equipment available to play the accompanying music or outdoors if the weather permits.  

Fees

The length of our workshop sessions range from 30 minutes up to 1 hour, with one teacher for up to 30 participants. We charge £120 for up to three individual workshops sessions in one day.

If you would like to have two different types of workshops, we require that you book at least two workshop sessions of each in one day. For example, if you would like to provide taichi and a Mandarin taster in one day, we would ask that you book at least two workshop sessions of each for that day. 

We can host a one-off one-hour workshop in some cases, which will incur a fixed rate cost of £120.

Please note that the above prices do not include travel costs. These will be discussed with you upon booking. For most bookings, public transport will be used, but in the case of a music workshop, taxis may be required due to the size of the instruments.

How to book

Please note that during the Chinese New Year period, workshops must be confirmed two weeks before the workshop date. During the rest of the year, workshops must be confirmed four weeks in advance.

To contact us, please email or call us using the details below: