Yearly Archives: 2010

Urban Utopia and Contemporary Visual Arts in China – June 2010

Given the speed of development in China it is hardly suprising that the idea of a city constructed in the blink of the eye is central to recent Chinese visual arts.

The instant city is visually represented by miniature models and computerized simulations. The extensive use of architectural modelling -in the media, on the theatre stage, and on the screen – is a symptom of the neoliberal state`s need to reify its vision in idealized form.

In response, some filmmakers have turned to preserving the present condition of cities in images. Others go beyond using new media to propose to propose a post-cinematic and post-spatial understanding of the city.

The Confucius Institute for Scotland is delighted to present a lecture by Professor Yomi Braester, Professor of Comparative Literature and a core member of the the Cinema Studies Program at the University of Washington in Seattle. He has published extensively on film, drama, and fiction in the PRC and Taiwan and is the author of `Witness against History: Literature, Film, and Public Discourse in Twentieth-Century China` (2003) and `Painting the City Red: Chinese Cinema and the Urban Contract` (2010).


Urban Utopia and Contemporary Visual Arts in China
Monday 7th June 2010
Ground Floor, Abden House

Followed by a drinks reception

This event is free. To reserve a seat for this talk please email or call 0131 662 2180.

Learn to play Yang Ch`in – July 2010

Discover the music that can be made on the beautiful Yang Ch’in (Chinese Hammered Dulcimer) with our summer school workshop programme offering four hours of tuition and up to four hours for self practice.

Yang Ch’in playing is melodic, rhythmical and melodious. It is a key instrument within a Chinese orchestra. The instrument is portable and can be played initially without the need to read music.

Led by Kimho Ip, Yang Ch`in performer and musical curator at the Institute, workshop sessions take place on Saturday 24th and Saturday 31st July from 10am-noon.

At the first workshop you will learn the structure of the instrument, the technique of using the ‘hammers’ and begin to create pentatonic chord patterns to delight the ears.

Between the two workshops, you can book up to four hours for self-practice time at the Institute. This will allow you to practice the technique of using the hammers and will help extend your knowledge and confidence before returning to work again with Kimho for the second workshop. Practice times can be booked Monday – Friday between 09.30 and 16.30.

In the second workshop participants will learn to play up to three traditional Chinese tunes as a group. This session will also introduce basic knowledge required to maintain of the instrument including tuning, changing keys etc.

And, should you have fallen under the spell of the Yang Ch`in, advice on purchasing a suitable instrument is also available. Prices start from around £400 including delivery.

The cost of the course is £125 for four hours of tuition and up to four hours of self practice. Classes are restricted to a maximum of six students. The ratio of instruments to students is 1:2.

To register,please download, complete and return the PDF registration form form along with payment made out to the University of Edinburgh. If you have any questions please contact us on 0131 662 2180.

PDF Registration Form

Calling young leaders: UK-China 400

If you are a young leader age 18-30 working, volunteering, or with a personal commitment on the environment and healthy living, you may be eligible for a life-changing visit to China.

The hunt is on to find young leaders to take part in a exchange visit from the UK to China. If you want to review issues affecting the debate on the environment, the health of future generations, and the material heritage of our culture, read on to find out how to take part in a leadership exchange with China.

Organised by the British Council, in agreement with the All China Youth Federation, this initiative is part of a major UK-China exchange programme first announced in February 2008 to see 400 young people from both countries undertake a 10/12-day exchange over a two-year period. This year from 20 June to 1 July the last group of 100 will head to China.

During their visit applicants selected for their leadership qualities, will meet with leaders, experts and practitioners in the area of environment and healthy living to further develop their understanding and skills. The programme will most likely be based in Beijing and at least one other Province.

The deadline for application is 10 May 2010. Successful applicants are expected to contribute £300 towards the trip. There will be a briefing day in London on either Wednesday 2 June / Thursday 3 June 2010.

The deadline for application is 10 May 2010. Successful applicants are expected to contribute £300 towards the trip. There will be a briefing day in London on either Wednesday 2 June / Thursday 3 June 2010.

UK-China 400 is the result of an agreement made between Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Premier Wen Jiabao in January 2008. The programme aims to strengthen understanding and levels of trust between people in the UK and China whilst developing existing and new district links as well as broadening the international perspective of young people.

Links with China take root

A tree planting ceremony of a Chinese maple donated by Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh took place at the Confucius Institute prior to the spring Advisory Board meeting.

Links with China take root

L to R: Mme Tan Xiutian, Chinese Consul General; Prof Steve Blackmore, Regius Keeper, RBGE; Principal Prof Sir Timothy O` Shea, Vice Chancellor, University of Edinburgh; Minister Counsellor Tian, Chinese Embassy; Prof Natascha Gentz, Director, Confucius Institute for Scotland.

The tree has been grown from a seed brought back from China by Regius Keeper of RBGE, Steve Blackmore. The RBGE has a long history with China which began in 1904 when George Forrest, known as the Indiana Jones of the plant world undertook the first of seven expeditions to China to collect and introduce back to the UK species such rhododendrons, primulas, magnolias, gentians, meconopsis and lilies.

This young tree serves as a symbol of the links between the two organisations as well as a visible and growing sign of the links between Scotland and China.

Travellers and Oasis – March 2010

Tickets are now on sale for this unique concert taking place at `teatime` in the magnificent McEwan Hall on Sunday 14 March.

Following last year`s sell out concert from iMAP Ensemble at Abden House, the Institute is sponsoring this unique concert which will see musicians from China, Thailand, Holland and the UK perform specially composed music exploring the universal themes of travelling and oasis.

Under the artistic direction of Kimho Ip, with special guest, John Kitchen, McEwan Hall organist, audience members will hear yangchin, saxophone, cello and a variety of ethnic instruments. With specially created accompanying video footage, a short community artist spot,this early evening concert will open your ears and eyes with unique combinations of beautiful music.

VENUE: McEwan Hall
DATE : Sunday 14 March
TIME : 5pm-6.15pm
PRICE: £10 (£6) and family (£26)

Hub box office online
or call 0131 473 2000

Tickets on sale at door 30 minutes before the performance.

Filip Davidse, soprano saxophone
Sam Glazer, cello
June Chan, cello
Louise Martin, cello
Kimho Ip, yangchin
John Kitchen, organ

Videos by Anothai Nitibhon, video artist
Production Manager, Martin Palmer

Guest Lecture: The Complexity of Difference – March 2010

Zhang Longxi, City University of Hong Kong gave a talk on Monday 22 March at 6pm in the Confucius Institute for Scotland. A podcast of this talk will be added soon.

His topic was The Complexity of Difference: A Methodological Issue in Cross-Cultural Studies.


Difference is a basic fact in life and in our understanding of life, as people are all different as individuals and as social groups and communities. In humanities and social sciences, however, differences are often ignored on the individual level, while emphasized on the collective level. This is particularly true in understanding different cultures. By examining some recent works in East-West cross-cultural studies, Zhang will argue that we should pay attention to the complexity of difference and what Geoffrey Lloyd calls the “multidimensionality” of things so as to avoid the mistake of subsuming individual differences under collective categories, and to go beyond the simplistic claims of universalism as well as the relativist dilemma of cultural incommensurability.


Zhang Longxi is Chair Professor of Comparative Literature and Translation at City University of Hong Kong and Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities.

ZHANG Longxi holds an MA from Peking University and a Ph.D. from Harvard. He taught at the University of California, Riverside, before moving to City University of Hong Kong, where he is currently Chair Professor of Comparative Literature and Translation.

His research area is East-West comparative studies, and his major book publications include `The Tao and the Logos: Literary Hermeneutics, East and West` (Duke University Press, 1992), which won honorable mention for the Joseph Levinson Book Prize; `Mighty Opposites: From Dichotomies to Differences in the Comparative Study of China` (Stanford University Press, 1998); `Allegoresis: Reading Canonical Literature East and West` (Cornell University Press, 2005); `Unexpected Affinities: Reading across Cultures` (University of Toronto Press, 2007), and most recently, 《比較文學研究入門》[`An Introduction to Comparative Literature`] (in Chinese, Fudan University Press, 2008).

He was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities in 2009.

Booking is not essential but an advisory email or phone call to help us with planning is appreciated. Please email or call 0131 662 2180.

Guest Lecture: Music Taipei v Music Shanghai – March 2010

Event Date: 18/03/2010

Professor Shen Tung of National Taiwan University will present a talk entitled Music Taipei vs. Music Shanghai: A Historic Overview of the Dissemination of Chinese Opera and Popular Songs from Shanghai to Taipei in the 20th Century.

This event will take place in the Confucius Institute starting at 6pm. Places are free but should be booked by email to or by phone to 0131 662 2180

Scholarships to China – deadline 30 March

Scholarships to China focusing on are on offer from the Confucius Institute Headquarters to enable those studying and/or teaching Chinese as a second language, to have the chance to study Chinese language and culture in China.

A number of scholarships focusing on Literature, Education, History and Chinese Traditional Medicine lasting between one semester and two years are available under this programme from the Confucius Institute Headquarters.

These scholarship are offered to enable those studying and/or teaching Chinese as a second language to have the chance to study in China for a period of one semester, one year or even for a full two year Masters course.

The application procedure is set out in the PDF attached here.

Application forms can be found on this website page.

The deadline for receipt of completed applications is Tuesday 30 March. Please feel free to contact us for an initial discussion or if you have any questions.

Chinese Bridge – Competition

For the opportunity to win a trip to China and other amazing prizes read on to discover more about this global language and cultural competition.

Since its launch in 2002 over 50,000 students from 59 countries have participated and almost 600 students have been invited to China to attend the semi-finals and finals.

In addition to testing language proficiency, the competition test knowledge of China, cultural skills and understanding. There is huge scope to demonstrate cultural skills and understanding through e.g. Kongfu, Taichi, calligraphy, music, paper-cutting etc. As well as Grand First, Second and Third prizes there are a number of special awards for individuals such as Best Presentation, Best Performance, Best Eloquence, Best Tutor etc.

Those preliminary contest winners are invited to the finals in China and will have a very good chance to win a scholarship to further their Chinese studies in China.

The 9th `Chinese Bridge` competition will take place in London on Saturday 13th March 2010. For more info please visit the Chinese Bridge website

China Inside-Out – March 2010

An innovative creative writing conference will take place in early March with options to attend some or all of the varied event programme.

Organised by the Confucius Institute in conjuntion with Scottish PEN this three day event brings together Chinese women writing fiction, non-fiction and poetry in English with Scottish women writers. Opening with a keynote public lecture on Thursday 11 March in the Playfair Library and two days of events at Abden House on 12 and 13 March booking is now available. For full details please visit our micro-site,