Monthly Archives: April 2015

Chinese Language Lunchbox
July & Aug

More opportunities for staff and students at the University of Edinburgh to acquire a smattering of Chinese are on offer in the second series of lunchtime language sessions i introducing absolute beginners to the Chinese language.  There are three standalone sessions running:

  • Useful Chinese Expressions
  • How to say Chinese Names
  • Chinese Character Appetiser

Each session is offered four times on various dates throughout July and August in the George Square area.  Sessions are free to attend and will run from 1pm-1.30pm on various dates.

To see available dates and reserve space please book via MyEd – search under Chinese Language Lunchbox or Confucius Institute for Scotland.

If your organisation is interested in these sample language sessions or a more tailored programme please contact us by email or phone 0131 662 2180.

‘Scots in Asia’ – 26 & 27 June
Keynote: Sir Tom Devine

This seminar explores the historical and contemporary experiences of Scots in Asia,  with a keynote lecture by Professor Emeritus, Sir Tom Devine and a range of  impressive speakers. 

The keynote lecture from Sir Tom Devine entitled Addicting the Dragon: China, Opium, and Scotland’ will be held in the Meadows Lecture Theatre, William Robertson Wing, Old Medical School, Teviot Place, University of Edinburgh from 5.30pm on Friday 26th .

Tom DevineProfessor Emeritus, Sir Tom Devine graduated from Strathclyde University and hold honorary doctorates from The Queen’s University, Belfast and the University of Abertay, Dundee. At Strathclyde he rose through the academic ranks from assistant lecturer to Professor of Scottish History (in 1988), Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and, finally, Deputy Principal of the University from 1994 to 1998. From 1999 to 2004 he was a member of staff at Aberdeen University, being successively University Research Professor in Scottish History, Director of the AHRC Research Centre in Irish and Scottish Studies and Glucksman Research Chair of Irish and Scottish Studies. He joined Edinburgh University in January 2006. In addition to these appointments in the UK, he hold Honorary Professorships across the Atlantic at North Carolina (USA) and Guelph (Canada). Between 1992 and 1993 he was a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow.

The event Opening on Friday 26th with a keynote lecture at 5.30pm and the remaining talks will take place from 9.45am until 6pm on Saturday 27 June.

The seminar on Saturday 27th June runs from 09.45am till 6pm. The programme features:

  • Dr Tom Barron, independent historian: ‘Scots coffee planters in nineteenth century Ceylon’
  • Dr Tanja Bueltmann, Northumbria University: ‘From ethnic associational-ism to social networking: A longitudinal comparison of formal sociability in Scottish communities in Asia, c.1870 to the present’
  • Professor Emeritus Sir Tom Devine, University of Edinburgh, ‘Addicting the dragon: China, opium, and the Scottish factor’
  •  Ellen Filor, University College London, ‘Death or a Pension: Scots and the End of the East India Company, 1800-1857′
  •  Dr Joanna Frew, University of Essex, ‘Agricultural improvement and order in the Baramahal, South India, 1792-99′
  • Dr Isabella Jackson, University of Aberdeen, ‘The Shanghai Scottish: Scottish, imperial, and local identities in the Scottish Company of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps’
  • Professor Angela McCarthy, University of Otago, ‘James Taylor and cross-cultural encounters in Ceylon’
  • Dr George McGilvary, honorary postdoctoral fellow, Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies, University of Edinburgh, ‘Commercial exploits of the Scottish elite in India and South-east Asia, 1760-1830, with special reference to David Scott, MP (1746-1805)’
  • Professor Emeritus Patrick Peebles, University of Missouri – Kansas City, ‘Governor James Alexander Stewart Mackenzie and the making of Ceylon’
  • Iain Watson, University of Edinburgh, ‘The right kind of migrants: Scottish expatriates in Hong Kong and South-East Asia since 1950 and the preservation of human capital’.

The lectures will take place at Meadows Lecture Theatre, William Robertson Wing, Old Medical School, Teviot Place, University of Edinburgh EH8 9AG. All are welcome to attend either the Friday or Saturday only sessions or both.  Admission is free but booking is required at: Please select tickets as appropriate.

The event is sponsored by the ESRC Seminar Series ‘Scotland’s Diasporas in Comparative Perspective’ and the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies, University of Edinburgh in partnership with the University of Otago and the University of Hull.

Prof Ban Wang: “Where have all the villages gone?” 4 June

The fourth scholar in our Distinguished Lecture Series is Ban Wang, the William Haas Professor in Chinese Studies and a board member of the Confucius Institute at Stanford University.

Wang BanProfessor Wang is also the Yangtze River Chair Professor at East China Normal University. In addition to his research on Chinese and comparative literature, he has written on English and French literatures, psychoanalysis, international politics, and cinema.

He received his Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1993. He was a research fellow with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University. He taught at Beijing Foreign Studies University, SUNY-Stony Brook, Harvard University, and Rutgers University before he came to Stanford.  He has been a recipient of fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities and was also a research fellow with the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton in 2007.


Where Have All The Villages Gone? –
The Life and Death of Rural Culture in Chinese Literature and Film

In China, “home sweet home” would refer to a village rather than a city. This talk shows that the Chinese village, a source of nostalgia and memory, undergoes decline and rebirth in the midst of China’s pursuit of modernization and urbanization. Whether as a retreat or a depository of traditional values, the village home epitomizes a series of responses to uprooting and destruction.Walking through literary scenarios and film clips, Professor Wang will discuss changing stances and sentiment toward village culture and rural landscape. In literature, nostalgia for home is mixed with a rejection of tradition. On the other hand, depictions of the desolate village are tinged with utopian yearnings for the harmonious home of the Peach Blossom Spring.

While Zhang Yimou’s Road Home elevates communal bonds and Confucian values to a sublime height, Postmen in the Mountain (dir. Huo Jianqi) raises concerns about the village caught up between urbanization and the preservation of rural culture.


His major works include The Sublime Figure of History: Aesthetics and Politics in Twentieth Century China (Stanford UP, 1997) and Illuminations from the Past: Trauma, Memory and History (Stanford, 2004); and History and Memory (Oxford University 2004). He co-edited Trauma and Cinema: Cross-Cultural Explorations (Hong Kong UP, 2004), The Image of China in the American Classroom (Nanjing UP, 2006), China and New Left Visions (Lexington, 2012), and Debating Socialist Legacy and Capitalist Globalization (Palgrave, 2014). He edited Words and Their Stories: Essays on the Languages of the Chinese Revolution (Brill 2012). His edited volume Rethinking Chinese Perceptions of World Order is forthcoming from Duke University Press. He was a recipient of fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a research fellow with the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton in 2007.

For further information please visit his page at Stanford University.

Thurs 4 June 5.30pm-7pm
Lecture Theatre 2
University of Edinburgh Business School
29 Buccleuch Place

All welcome. No registration required. Networking drinks reception follows



“Unintended consequences?” Provision of MFLs – 27 May

The provision of Modern Foreign Languages in schools is a topic of considerable interest to students, parents and educational professionals most especially with the current Scottish government strategy on 2+1 language provision.

On Wed 27th May 15.00-16.00 Moray House School of Education will host a presentation by Dr Jim Scott entitled “Unintended Consequences? The Governance of Modern Foreign Language Learning in Scotland (1962-2014)”.


Statistics suggest the decline in modern foreign language (MFL) learning is accelerating.  Previous research has examined learning, teaching and motivation as possible causes of current and past declines.

This research provides new insights by investigating the nature and effectiveness of governance of MFLs from governmental to school levels over 50 years.

This study is novel is novel in setting the governance of a major educational development in context, It will consider the political, economic and educational factors which have advanced the learning and teaching of MFLs and look at the challenges- attitudinal, motivation and Anglophone society issues, as well as the consequences of political and education agency – which have impeded progress.

The findings suggest that while MFL governance has been well motivated it has suffered from key problems around vision, planning, co-ordination and practice. Evidence also suggest that many key and elite governance actors do not believe that learning MFLs is important.


Jim Scott is an educational lecturer, researcher and consultant, with particular interests in educational leadership and governance, Curriculum for Excellence and ICT. He is the former head of Perth High School and Graeme High School, Falkirk and former chair of several national educational committees.  He is a visiting lecturer at the University of Dundee, a course facilitator and lecturer at the Scottish Centre for Studies in School Administration and owner of ELLC Consulting.

Will China Dominate the 21st Century? 6th May

Join us on Wed 6th May 18.30-20.00 at the University of Edinburgh Business School when Jonathan Fenby will speak about his recent book of the same title, in which he outlines the challenges that China faces during its recent phase of spectacular growth.


Jonathan Fenby is former deputy editor of The Guardian 1988–1993; editor of The Observer 1993 –1995 and editor of The South China Morning Post 1995-1999.

He currently runJonathan Fenbys the China team at Trusted Sources, an emerging markets research and consultancy firm he founded. He is a leading analyst on China with a strong following in the investment community.

Jonathan’s specialist area is policy interpretation, politics and the broader political economy. He is the author of eight books on China. His ‘History of Modern China’ for Penguin Press and Harper Collins was chosen as one of the books of the year for 2008 by The Economist and Financial Times. He broadcasts frequently on CNBC, BBC and Bloomberg, among other broadcast media, and lectures on contemporary China in the UK, US, Europe and East Asia.


China has to deal with political, economic, social and international tests, each of which involves structural difficulties that will put the system under strain. Based on the speaker’s extensive knowledge of contemporary China, this event will offer a pragmatic view of where the People’s Republic of China is heading at a time when its future is too important an issue for wishful theorizing.

Jonathan’s talk will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Professor Richard Harrison, who is the China lead for the Business School looking at strategic partnership development. They will be joined by University of Edinburgh’s Professor Matthias Zachmann, who specialises in East Asian International relations.

This is a joint event with the Asia Scotland Institute.  Registration is required.

18.00:            Registration
18.30-20.00:  Lecture20.00:            Drinks Reception

Venue: Auditorium, University of Edinburgh Business School, 29 Buccleuch Place, EH8 9JS


Scotland’s Relations with Asia – Humza Yousaf 23 April

Please note that In this joint event with the Royal Society for Asian Affairs the original speaker Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs is no longer able to attend. Her place will be taken by Humza Yousaf, Scottish Government Minister for Europe and International Affairs who will reflect on the government’s international framework in Asia. He will discuss how the government plans to internationalise within the context of the current devolution settlement, and how Scotland may increase its engagement with Asia, in key countries such as India and Pakistan.

Coffee and registration from 18:00. The lecture will commence at 18:30 and be followed by a networking reception.

Chinese Art Event at the Burrell
25 & 26 April

In a unique collaboration Glasgow’s Burrell Collection and Scotland’s oldest auction house, Lyon & Turnbull will work together in a two day fundraising event focusing on Chinese art – China Insight.

The programme on Saturday will feature specialist lectures and guided gallery tours, while the opportunity to bring artwork or antiques for evaluation is on offer on Sunday ensuring that the weekend will suit those who appreciate art as well as owners and collectors.

All those who buy tickets for the Saturday China Insight programme will have the chance to win one of 12 places on a one-off guided tour of the Burrell Collection stores with Dr Yupin Chung, curator of Chinese & Far Easter Civilisations.  The winners will be drawn at 11am and the tour will take place at 4pm.

Saturday 25th April:  Day ticket £10

In addition to tours of the Burrell the lecture programme on Saturday will feature leading specialists from the Chinese Art world:

Jacqueline Simcox, published author and world authority on Chinese textiles will speak on Chinese Imperial and court costume. Jacqueline has previously lectured at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Royal Academy and the British Museum and will be making her debut in Glasgow.

Nixi Cura co-founder of the Arts of China Consortium at New York University who will speak on Chinese painting. Nixi is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow.

Lee Young, Head of the Asian Art department at Lyon & Turnbull and Dr Yupin Chung, Curator of Chinese & Far Eastern Civilisations at The Burrell Collection will represent their respective institutions on stage.

Sunday 26th April : £5 for first item & £1 per item thereafter

The Burrell Collection main atrium will be buzzing around valuation tables where members of the public can bring in their own art and antiques to be valued and appraised. Lee Young & Steven Moore, as seen on the Antiques Roadshow, will head the team of specialists from Lyon & Turnbull with expertise including – Chinese & Japanese works of art, as well as items of other origin from jewellery & silver, to paintings and ceramics. All items will be seen. This type of event often throws up hidden treasures  “It’s always an exciting day for us as we never know what we are going to see and the discoveries we are going to make. While the weekend will celebrate Chinese art, our expertise on Sunday will not be limited to this one discipline and we are delighted to be able to offer valuations for all manner of art and antiques.”– Lee Young, Head of Asian Art Department at Lyon & Turnbull.

All monies raised will go to the Burrell Collection to support the major refurbishment and redisplay of the gallery which is being supported by the City of Glasgow.

To book tickets for China Insight please call 0141 287 2591 to book or visit the Burrell Collection.

Saturday: 11am-5pm
Sunday:   11am-4pm

The Burrell Collection, Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow G43 1AT

You can visit Lyon & Turnbull’s webpage on this event here.


Institute closed over Easter Weekend

Please note that the Confucius Institute for Scotland will be closed on Friday 3rd and Monday 6th April.  During these dates please email or leave a message on our answerphone service.