A passion, a global platform, porcelain & a princess

As we come to the end of the Chinese Lunar Year, there is much to share about the last twelve months. 

A passion

We are proud of our achievements which are borne out of our passion to build China literacy in UK schools. As schools emerged from lockdown restrictions, we were invited back into classrooms and had the joy of delivering our China Challenge Days to over 1,000 pupils across key stages 2-4 on subjects as broad as the Silk Roads, China’s geographical diversity, cuisine, population, AI and innovation. Schools from West Sussex to Worcestershire invited us in to build cultural capital and confidence through our interactive activities and fresh knowledge base. More here:

A global platform

We roared into the Year of the Tiger with our inaugural international Good Cop Bad Cop Model UN conference. Basing the debate around the resolutions of COP26 in Glasgow, it involved 150+ students from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Ireland, UK and Australia. Students debated from the perspective of another country than their own, researching the realities of climate change, building greater global awareness and developing skills such as empathy, listening, confidence and collaboration. Students participating in this online conference also heard from inspirational speakers from the International Energy Association, the Chinese Embassy and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. Some even had the exclusive opportunity to be interviewed on BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester with presenter, Kate Justice.

Speaking in English, one of the erudite delegates from Changchun Foreign Language School in Northeast China, whose delegation represented the European Union at the conference, indicated the level of attention that Chinese people place on understanding the outside world. “Our school focuses on training outstanding Chinese diplomatic talent tying into our educational philosophy of national awareness and international vision.” At EwC we understand that knowledge is power and that Chinese young people, by virtue of learning English as a compulsory subject for nine years and discovering about western culture, are better equipped to understand the wider global context than their western peers perhaps are.  Watch summary highlights of our conference here: 

Porcelain

What better way to spark the imagination of pupils about China than through porcelain and tea and their impact on British culture? We have been delighted to work with the Museum of Royal Worcester (MoRW) over the last few months developing their knowledge about the Chinese influence in their exquisite collection, enhancing the archive and developing resources for community and school outreach. You can find out more about our thoughts on the valuable Wigornia cream boat here and the blue and white Angler under a Willow Tree teapot here with our Director, H-J Colston-Inge and Frankie Tsang, Chairman of the Worcestershire Chinese Association.

We were also delighted to be able to leverage the knowledge and experience of our Trustee, Charles Collins; art historian, Anne Haworth and our Ambassador & antiques specialist, Ben Cooper. We spent a fascinating day together uncovering not-seen-before designs in the archive collection, discovering real treasures of design and motif and delighting in them with the wonderful team at the Museum. More news on this project when we finish this funding round at the end of January…

Meantime, why not book to join the Chinese Whispers online talk with Museum Trustee, Paul Crane, on 18 January? 

A Princess

We were invited to showcase our work to Princess Alexandra when she visited the Royal Porcelain Works in Worcester back in the Autumn. The Princess learnt about the work of various community groups and charities involved in the area at the event held at the Henry Sandon Hall and ‘took tea’ in royal fashion from a tea set courtesy of the Museum of Royal Worcester. EwC even gave the Princess a Chinese name which means love, beauty and charity, allowing the sounds of her English name and the work she is involved to be reflected in the Chinese characters. The calligraphy was painted by our Director, Theresa Booth, who took up the art-form during lockdown. We discovered that whilst the Princess has been to Hong Kong, she has never travelled to mainland China. Needless to say, she was fascinated by the work we are doing to leverage the national collection at the MoRW and our reach into UK schools. 

Thank you for your support and interest and do invite us into schools around the Chinese New Year festival starting soon! Click below for more of our 2022 highlights:

Published by H-J Colston

H-J is Joint CEO of Chopsticks Club and a regular speaker on China. Through training and events, she has been building cultural literacy about China from the boardroom to the classroom since 1993. She designed and delivered a “Doing Business in China” course at Pearson Business School. She was invited to meet President Xi Jinping during his state visit to the UK in 2015 in recognition of her work in building China-UK relations. She has a degree in Chinese Studies from the University of Durham. Find out more at www.chopsticksclub.com and www.engagewithchina.org

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