Step into China – an exhibition of traditional and modern Chinese objects opens at the University of Leeds

A new temporary exhibition exploring the work of the Business Confucius Institute and its work in building a cross-cultural relationship between Chinese and non-Chinese people is on show for two days at the Institute itself on the campus of the University of Leeds.

Opening on 11 December, Step into China: Confucius at Leeds is the exciting debut collaboration between MA students from the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies and the Business Confucius Institute. The exhibition displays objects from the Institute’s own collection alongside personal anecdotes.

Frances Noble, Business Confucius Institute Marketing Executive, said:

“The students have developed a strong understanding of our goals and activities since they started their project, and we look forward to seeing their interpretation of our work in their exhibition.

“We are delighted to be involved in this project as it reflects our values of collaboration and cross-cultural understanding. We hope it will bring new visitors to the Confucius Institute to discover Chinese language and culture and learn more about what we do.”

The Business Confucius Institute has been operating at the University of Leeds campus since 2012 and is a particularly special Institute as they have a strong business focus; they are partnered with the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. The Institute also offers Chinese language classes and cultural workshops about traditional aspects of China.

The MA students working on the exhibition wanted to explore the impact the exhibition has on the Leeds local community through both traditional and modern means. All of the objects on show tell the story of a growing cross-cultural understanding between Chinese and non-Chinese people in Leeds fostered by the Business Confucius Institute.

MA Arts Management and Heritage Studies student, Pinelopi, said:

“This exhibition has been a very valuable experience for me. I really enjoyed learning more about Chinese culture and the meaningful ways the Business Confucius Institute promotes it.

“Having taught English as a foreign language back home, I found the way the Institute combines language and cultural learning very interesting and inspiring. The most rewarding part has been working with my group members; the theme of the exhibition inspired us to talk and share interesting aspects from our cultures and I learned a lot. I even picked up some Chinese words.”

The exhibition is being held in the unique setting of a language classroom where visitors will learn not just about the Chinese language, as is typical for the setting, but also about traditional objects and their importance in Chinese culture.

Visitors will also learn about collaborations with the Institute and local businesses such as The Body Shop to transform the experience of Chinese customers in Leeds.

Visitors are encouraged to touch and engage with some of the objects on display. There will even be a live tea ceremony, as everyone know how much everyone in Yorkshire loves a cup of tea!

More information about the Step into China: Confucius at Leeds exhibition can be found here.

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Written by MA students from the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds.

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Business Confucius Institute at the University of Leeds. Photo by Frances Noble.