Sheffield Confucius Institute – 2016 in review
Our award-winning Sheffield Confucius Institute (CI) is the hub for our China-related activity here at the University. From hosting scholars, researchers and language teachers from China to raising awareness of Chinese culture in the city and region with a programme of language and culture classes, our CI is helping us forge genuine partnerships with China built on shared understanding. As we look ahead to new collaborations and initiatives, we reflect on their year so far.
2016 began with the CI’s Star Mandarin School being awarded with a Special Distinction Quality Framework Award from the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education (NRCSE), the highest award in its quality assurance.
There are only seven schools in the UK that currently hold this award, and the Star Mandarin School is the only one outside of London.
The CI also worked with the Shanghai Theatre Academy to organise the opening and closing ceremonies for the first China Britain Trade Expo at London’s Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.
The event involved a programme of twenty speakers from both China and the UK addressing some key topics focused on negotiation, marketing and doing business in China.
Bo JI from Cheung Kong Business School was one of the panel speakers and the Confucius Institute also and also provided cultural experiences throughout the event.
The CI led Chinese New Year celebrations at Sheffield City Hall, with activities for children and colourful dance performances for everyone to enjoy.
One of China’s international troupes also performed an evening of acrobatics and cultural pieces. Artists from China shared the stage with Sheffield’s own Chinese performers including the Lion Dancing team and Wanlin Dance School.
February also saw the CI complete their training sessions on Chinese language and culture for the University's Law School.
Six sessions were delivered including how to pronounce Chinese names correctly, how to address people, the implications of names, social rank and status, how to make compliments in Chinese and the learning styles of Chinese students.
One attendee said: “The course was very insightful and we gained a great deal of knowledge into Chinese culture during the sessions”.
The CI hosted a Confucius Study Day in March for the Student Health Association. This involved 40 GPs from seven universities across the country learning more about the health beliefs and medical culture of Chinese students. Topics that were discussed included the differences between traditional Chinese medical culture and western methods, holistic treatment in traditional Chinese medicine and modern China’s health and medical system.
These were supplemented by workshops on Tai Chi, health maintenance and Chinese massage, Tui Na.
An attendee said: “The information given on the study was fantastic and will help us to provide better health care information for our Chinese population.”
March also saw collaboration between CI and the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) on the Are You Ready for China event in Leeds. More than 70 attendees learnt about the latest developments in the Chinese economy and what it means for Yorkshire businesses.
2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Chinese dramatist Tang Xianzu and William Shakespeare, esteemed playwrights of the same generation. To commemorate their work, the Confucius Institute is set for an exciting collaboration with the London Confucius Institute at The School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) and Shanghai Theatre Academy. The CI will joint-host the 1616: Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu Festival, scheduled to take place at the end of November 2016 in London.
The Festival itself will be broken down into two parts, the first being Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu in dialogue: a series of conversations and the theatre competition. For the first project, the aim will be to hold a public fora at a series of universities between leading specialists on Tang Xianzu and Shakespeare, as well as public talks about the experience of a Chinese playwright.
The Festival includes a theatre competition which is scheduled to take place at the end of November 2016 in London, as well as a series of public events entitled “Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu in Dialogue” in October 2016, in which experts and scholars of Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu are being invited to engage in dialogues about the two literary giants from the UK and China.
The CI has been working closely with the local Chinese community and Sheffield Hallam University on the New Era Development in Sheffield, which is currently under construction. Once completed, this will be home to the Chinese Business Incubator (CBI) which will provide help to Chinese business to set up in the UK, as well as making itself a regional hub for local businesses who want to explore opportunities in China.
Work is progressing on a Chinese business TV programme scheduled to be aired on the Sheffield Live TV station later this year. The programme will consist of six episodes documenting a Chinese businesswoman’s week in Sheffield and will be based on situational conversations in Chinese. The programme is designed to help the local business community in their meetings and interactions with their Chinese business counterparts.
To help cater for the increasing number of Chinese businesspeople and tourists, the CI has hosted a 16 week course for staff at the Copthorne Hotel in Sheffield. This has helped businesses equip their staff with language and culture skills enabling them to serve and work with Chinese customers and partners more effectively.