China Now Conference – Cultural Exchange in the New Normal

The UK’s relations with China offer immense opportunities for both countries. Cultural and educational exchange on a people-to-people level has been a cornerstone of the bi-lateral relationship. We believe that people-to-people links make a powerful and lasting contribution to a more peaceful, tolerant and prosperous world.​

The inaugural China Now Conference takes place during a time when international travel is heavily restricted. We wish to use the online space to encourage dialogue and to deepen understanding of a contemporary China. Covid 19 has changed the way we work we wish to use the conference as an opportunity to review the way our partners are collaborating in both countries and we want to dive deeper into understanding what the ‘new normal’ means for international collaboration between artists and cultural organisations. ​

The conference is exclusively for members of the China Now website, a membership website set up by the British Council to keep UK cultural sector professionals up to date and engaged with cutting edge advances in China.

Conference Schedule

ALL

Innovation, Art Practice and UK-China Cultural Exchange

February 24 2021 | 9:30 am - 10:45 am GMT

UK-China Exchange: Arts and Culture in a Pandemic

During the COVID pandemic, a growing number of cultural activities in China have moved into virtual spaces, from art exhibitions, festivals and film screenings through to tours of the Palace Museum. To open the conference, we explore some of the innovative digital practices that have transformed the country’s cultural industry over the past year, and how these can empower and enrich future collaborations between China and the UK.

February 24 2021 | 10:30 am - 11:30 am GMT

Many Truths to Speak: Documentary Making During the Pandemic

While the COVID pandemic has presented major challenges for the documentary industry, the last year has also seen a number of innovative collaborations between China and the UK, giving filmmakers previously unseen levels of access and allowing them to present different perspectives on the reality of contemporary China. In this session, documentary experts and filmmakers who have worked between China and the UK discuss these new modes of international co-production, and the possibilities they present for China and the UK in the future.

February 24 2021 | 11:30 am - 12:30 pm GMT

Mixing Realities: Digital Media Creativity in China

The popularity of immersive and alternative reality art and cultural experiences has been growing rapidly in China, with more and more artists and organisations exploring the possibilities of VR, XR, AR and other new digital ways of looking at the world. Here, we bring together creatives and professionals who are mixing realities in China to discuss how they have embraced this cutting-edge technology in their practices, and the opportunities it offers for collaboration and exchange.

Creativity and Sustainability

February 25 2021 | 9:30 am - 10:30 am GMT

A New Generation of Sustainable Fashion

Although the fashion industry is notorious for wastefulness, brands and designers in China are putting sustainability at the heart of their values. The sector is also looking at ways to make the country’s complex supply chain more integrated and transparent. This panel features fashion brands. Designers and sector experts from China discussing sustainable fashion in the context of China, and how their practices address concerns which are equally challenging for the industry in the UK.

February 25 2021 | 10:30 am - 11:30 am GMT

Cultural Heritage: The Art of Balancing Conservation and the Commercial

Recently, there has been a strong drive in China to ensure the sustainable development of China’s World Cultural Heritage Sites, which has given rise to debate about the role and importance of cultural heritage.

This session discusses how to protect heritage sites and local cultures without exploiting them as tourist attractions,  the session also explore a need to find balance between the need to engage and raise awareness amongst younger urban generations in China with a need to protect and preserve rich tangible and intangible heritage.

February 25 2021 | 11:30 am - 12:30 pm GMT

Growing Green Culture in China

In China, like-minded organisations are taking a creative approach to raising awareness of sustainable lifestyle and to developing and offering tangible and practical solutions for wider use. To understand their motivations and practices, we bring together organisations who have embraced and dedicated themselves to green culture, to discuss their efforts in trying to bring about lifestyle changes and a more sustainable future for young people in China.

Art for All

February 26 2021 | 9:30 am - 10:30 am GMT

Art for Change: Curating for All

The COVID pandemic has highlighted the need for a focus on inclusion in China, and there has been a push from leading cultural bodies to increase access to the visual arts for marginalised communities and to be more inclusive in the telling and representation of their stories and voices. To explore this pressing issue, prominent arts and culture organisations share their approach to inclusivity, discussing the role that this plays in their curatorial process, and how the UK and China can work together more closely in achieving this moving forwards.

February 26 2021 | 10:30 am - 11:30 am GMT

Living in Community: Architectural Practice in Chengdu and Guangzhou

One thing which the pandemic and lockdown have reminded us of is the beauty of human interaction. Many cities in China have millions of inhabitants, and in some like Chengdu and Guangzhou the focus has been shifting from design based on maximum utilisation of space and functionality to the human-centric design of space for communal use and access. This is a question for cities around the world, and the session features Chinese architects discussing their practices and the different opportunities and challenges in creating and regenerating urban spaces to better fit the lives of their inhabitants.

February 26 2021 | 11:30 am - 12:30 pm GMT

From Access to Inclusion: Paving the Way for Greater Diversity in China

The hearing and seeing impaired have often been denied access to the communal experiences of the arts in China. Now, more and more organisations have been working to change this, making efforts to run ’no-obstacle’ events, exhibitions and screenings which are accessible to blind and deaf audiences. This panel brings together artists and experts working in this field, who discuss their practices and innovations, and the use and potential of new digital technologies in boosting inclusion.

Wednesday 24 February

Innovation, Art Practice and UK-China Cultural Exchange

February 24 2021 | 9:30 am - 10:45 am GMT

UK-China Exchange: Arts and Culture in a Pandemic

During the COVID pandemic, a growing number of cultural activities in China have moved into virtual spaces, from art exhibitions, festivals and film screenings through to tours of the Palace Museum. To open the conference, we explore some of the innovative digital practices that have transformed the country’s cultural industry over the past year, and how these can empower and enrich future collaborations between China and the UK.

February 24 2021 | 10:30 am - 11:30 am GMT

Many Truths to Speak: Documentary Making During the Pandemic

While the COVID pandemic has presented major challenges for the documentary industry, the last year has also seen a number of innovative collaborations between China and the UK, giving filmmakers previously unseen levels of access and allowing them to present different perspectives on the reality of contemporary China. In this session, documentary experts and filmmakers who have worked between China and the UK discuss these new modes of international co-production, and the possibilities they present for China and the UK in the future.

February 24 2021 | 11:30 am - 12:30 pm GMT

Mixing Realities: Digital Media Creativity in China

The popularity of immersive and alternative reality art and cultural experiences has been growing rapidly in China, with more and more artists and organisations exploring the possibilities of VR, XR, AR and other new digital ways of looking at the world. Here, we bring together creatives and professionals who are mixing realities in China to discuss how they have embraced this cutting-edge technology in their practices, and the opportunities it offers for collaboration and exchange.

Thursday 25 February

Creativity and Sustainability

February 25 2021 | 9:30 am - 10:30 am GMT

A New Generation of Sustainable Fashion

Although the fashion industry is notorious for wastefulness, brands and designers in China are putting sustainability at the heart of their values. The sector is also looking at ways to make the country’s complex supply chain more integrated and transparent. This panel features fashion brands. Designers and sector experts from China discussing sustainable fashion in the context of China, and how their practices address concerns which are equally challenging for the industry in the UK.

February 25 2021 | 10:30 am - 11:30 am GMT

Cultural Heritage: The Art of Balancing Conservation and the Commercial

Recently, there has been a strong drive in China to ensure the sustainable development of China’s World Cultural Heritage Sites, which has given rise to debate about the role and importance of cultural heritage.

This session discusses how to protect heritage sites and local cultures without exploiting them as tourist attractions,  the session also explore a need to find balance between the need to engage and raise awareness amongst younger urban generations in China with a need to protect and preserve rich tangible and intangible heritage.

February 25 2021 | 11:30 am - 12:30 pm GMT

Growing Green Culture in China

In China, like-minded organisations are taking a creative approach to raising awareness of sustainable lifestyle and to developing and offering tangible and practical solutions for wider use. To understand their motivations and practices, we bring together organisations who have embraced and dedicated themselves to green culture, to discuss their efforts in trying to bring about lifestyle changes and a more sustainable future for young people in China.

Friday 26 February

Art for All

February 26 2021 | 9:30 am - 10:30 am GMT

Art for Change: Curating for All

The COVID pandemic has highlighted the need for a focus on inclusion in China, and there has been a push from leading cultural bodies to increase access to the visual arts for marginalised communities and to be more inclusive in the telling and representation of their stories and voices. To explore this pressing issue, prominent arts and culture organisations share their approach to inclusivity, discussing the role that this plays in their curatorial process, and how the UK and China can work together more closely in achieving this moving forwards.

February 26 2021 | 10:30 am - 11:30 am GMT

Living in Community: Architectural Practice in Chengdu and Guangzhou

One thing which the pandemic and lockdown have reminded us of is the beauty of human interaction. Many cities in China have millions of inhabitants, and in some like Chengdu and Guangzhou the focus has been shifting from design based on maximum utilisation of space and functionality to the human-centric design of space for communal use and access. This is a question for cities around the world, and the session features Chinese architects discussing their practices and the different opportunities and challenges in creating and regenerating urban spaces to better fit the lives of their inhabitants.

February 26 2021 | 11:30 am - 12:30 pm GMT

From Access to Inclusion: Paving the Way for Greater Diversity in China

The hearing and seeing impaired have often been denied access to the communal experiences of the arts in China. Now, more and more organisations have been working to change this, making efforts to run ’no-obstacle’ events, exhibitions and screenings which are accessible to blind and deaf audiences. This panel brings together artists and experts working in this field, who discuss their practices and innovations, and the use and potential of new digital technologies in boosting inclusion.