Preview: First Week – Culture Month @ University of Leeds

By September 7, 2015

Theatre & Dance. Leeds.

2015 is a particularly significant year as far as cultural exchange is concerned; it is the first bilaterally-agreed Year of Cultural Exchange between the UK and China. The UK has already completed its season of events and activities, by virtue of the British Embassy, in China, and so now its China’s turn. This significance of this agreement certainly hasn’t been lost on the University of Leeds, where their annual Culture Month mirrors the intercontinental festivities of the year. The Business School’s Confucius Institute has taken it upon itself to put on a roster of events from the end of September until the end of October, spanning cultural disciplines and traditions both here and overseas.

The season opens with Confucius Institute Day on September 26th, which involves a wide variety of activities from Chinese street food to lion dances being performed and curated around the University of Leeds campus. The locations are being kept secret, and to be discovered on the day by following the hashtag #WeAreBCIUL. This event is being put on to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the Confucius Institute’s founding.

The following Monday 27th September sees the Parkinson Building host the grand opening of an art exhibition championing the paintings of Wang Ying, a Chinese diplomat who has rendered scenes from British life in beautiful brush painting. Also presenting is Physics Nobel Laureate Professor Novoselov, with his paintings of Chinese bamboo inspired by his visits to Xiamen. The two will together create a single painting during the exhibition’s opening ceremony, something certainly not to be missed.

On the evening of 1st October, Leeds Town Hall will be brought to life by a unique show, consisting of martial arts and dance performances and demonstrations. The show highlights the beauty of each art form in their form and physicality, and stands as an important example of China’s incredibly rich cultural pedigree.

In the following weeks and days there will be yet more from the University and the Confucius Institute, including but not limited to tea ceremonies and a special production to commemorate the deaths of Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu and William Shakespeare. We will be previewing those in due time; in the meantime, be sure to check out the schedule for yourself at Culture Month’s events page!

James Grimshaw