Yearly Archives: 2019

Metamorphosis of a Butterfly: Xiyadie’s Queer Papercutting Art, 16 Oct @4-6pm

Date and Time: Wednesday, 16 Oct, 4 – 6 pm

Location: 50 George Square, Project Room (1.06), University of Edinburgh

Celebrated as ‘China’s Tom of Finland’, Xiyadie is probably one of the best-known queer artists living in China today. His identity as a gay man from rural China and his method of using the Chinese folk art of papercutting for queer artistic expression make him a unique figure in contemporary Chinese art. This talk examines Xiyadie’s transformation of identity in life and his representation of queer experiences in papercutting art. Using a critical biographical approach, in tandem with analysis of his representative artworks, I examine the transformation of Xiyadie’s identity from a folk artist to a queer artist. In doing so, I delineate the transformation and reification of human subjectivity and creativity under transnational capitalism. Meanwhile, I also seek possible means of desubjectivation and human agency under neoliberal capitalism and consider the role of art in this picture.
Dr Hongwei Bao is Associate Professor in Media Studies at the University of Nottingham, UK, where he also co-directs the Centre for Contemporary East Asian Cultural Studies (CEACS). He holds a PhD in Gender and Cultural Studies from the University of Sydney, Australia. His research primarily focuses on queer media and culture in contemporary China. He is the author of Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China (NIAS Press, 2018). He has also published articles in Cultural Studies, Culture Unbound, Global Media and China, Health, Culture and Society, Interventions, Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Made in China Journal, Positions, and The JOMEC Journal.

No booking required. ALL WELCOME!

My World in War and Revolution-16 Oct @6-8pm

Location: The Playfair Library Hall, Old College, University of Edinburgh, EH8 9YL

Date and Time: 16 Oct, 2019. 1800-2000

Each year the University hosts a series of inaugural lectures given by Professors or Chairs newly appointed by the University. The speakers give an illuminating overview of their contribution to their field.

In both the East and the West the diaries is an ancient genre, but it underwent important changes in the modern era. Simultaneously, the social structure, media environment, and political regimes also transformed rapidly.

In this lecture, Professor Aaron Moore focuses on the relationship East Asian modernity shared with the personal diary, which came to both reflect and contribute to phenomena such as ‘total war’ mobilisation, revolution, and the experience of childhood. Moreover, having examined hundreds of diaries from around the world, Moore introduces a methodology for reading personal diaries that emerged out of his comparative approach to modern history. Despite the considerable cultural and ideological differences between China, Japan, America, the USSR, and Britain, the usefulness of the diary as a tool for self-discipline emerged almost simultaneously in each context, and this uncanny convergence must be explained.

Tickets for the event are free but must be booked in advance Here


Memory on Fabric – Textiles of Revolutionary China, 25-29 Sept

Following up on our spectacular exhibition “Poster Art of Modern China, 1913-1997” in 2014, we are proud to bring back Yang Peiming, Director of the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre to present his unique collections of Textiles of Revolutionary China to Edinburgh.

This exhibition presents a unique perspective and an intimate window into everyday Chinese life in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the collection of Chinese Bed Quilts uncovers more than a simple fondness for the auspicious colour red.

Lovingly preserved by the private collector Yang Peiming of the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre, this rare and unique collection will exhibit in Europe for the first time.

Offering viewers not only an opportunity to come face-to-face with the traditional beauty of an ancient culture, the exhibition also provides an insight to the complex history of a modern-day superpower.

Date and Time: 25 September – 29 September, 1000-1700
Location: Riddle’s Court, 322 Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2PG

Interested in sharing Chinese and East Asian stories?

The Traverse Theatre and Grid Iron Theatre Company are looking to connect with East Asian communities and individuals with an interest in traditional Chinese and East Asian storytelling to help develop a brand new theatre show. The new show will be based on Pu Songling’s Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio and will combine retelling of these tales with your own stories.

Thu 10 Oct, 7-9pm
Fri 11 Oct, 3-5pm

Saigon Saigon Restaurant, 14 S St Andrew St, Edinburgh, EH2 2AZ (near east end of Princes St)

These gatherings are free to attend and will include tea and snacks. You don’t need to bring anything – just come along to share conversation and stories. Mandarin speakers will be at
both gatherings.

To find out more, please get in touch with or visit

Real Music / Friday Lunchtime Tours – 20 Sept @ 12.30pm

Date and Time: 12.30, 20 September 2019
Location: Talbot Rice Gallery, Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh. EH8 9YL
Free Admission – no booking required

Professor Natascha Gentz is Chair of Chinese Studies and founding Director of the Confucius Institute for Scotland. Considering the ideas put forwards in Samson Young’s The world falls apart into facts, 2019, Natascha will discuss the negotiations between the so called West and East. From the Colonial relations at the time of Sir John Barrow’s Travels in China, 1806 (featured in the exhibition), to recent instances of mistranslation, this tour will explore some of the global social and political issues raised by Real Music.

Bringing in experts from across the University of Edinburgh and beyond, this lunchtime tours enable a deeper exploration of some of the complex issues raised through the exhibitions. Each week, following a short general introduction by one of the Gallery’s curators, a specialist from a different field will join us to expand upon the themes of specific artworks. Providing different perspectives on Samson Young’s Real Music the upcoming tours navigate through the history of experimental music, the transcultural negotiations of the colonial empire, future applications of the next generation sound synthesis research and the culture of tourist instruments.

Please visit Talbot Rice Gallery website: for further information.


From Shanghai with Love:
23 and 24 August 2019

After the sold-out success of 2017 and 2018, Donghua Edinburgh Centre for Creative Industries is set to return to the Edinburgh Fringe for the third time. Join us in the stunning Playfair Library on either Friday 23rd or Saturday 24th August for this combined exhibition and fashion show. Discover elegant, enduring and electrifying Qipao fashion, Shanghai Style, through the ages and into the future.

Our exhibition features Shanghai Style fashion from the Republican period and beyond. Our runway will feature contemporary and futuristic Qipao designs using the latest high tech materials and techniques, combining tradition with modernity.

Date and Time:

Friday 23 August 15.00, 18.00
Doors opened 30 minutes before the show to allow ticket holders to view the exhibition, enjoy a glass of fizz, and to choose seats. The exhibition remained open for 30 minutes after the show concluded.

Saturday 24 August 15.00, 18.00
Doors opened 30 minutes before the show to allow ticket holders to view the exhibition, enjoy a glass of fizz, and to choose seats. The exhibition remained open for 30 minutes after the show concluded.

If you missed the show last year, here is a short video that was taken on the opening day last year, enjoy!

Visit our microsite HERE for more details and Video Gallery for the previous show videos.

Bookings via the Fringe Box Office
Fringe Venue No 311:
Playfair Library, Old College Quad, South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH8 9YL

Chinese films at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2019

The Confucius Institute for Scotland is delighted to be sponsoring Chinese film screenings at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Up the Mountain

Part of the Documentaries Strand

A portrait of a year in the painting studio of Shen Jianhua in Dali, Yunnan Province. Originally from Shanghai, Shen moved to the countryside to teach the local Bai women art and painting. The film documents both the fading traditions of the local community and the impact of a rapidly changing modern China. In the words of Wendy Ide from Screen International: ‘This lyrical documentary from Zhang Yang is a meditation on beauty.’ [U]

Up the Mountain is nominated for the 2019 Award for Best Documentary Feature Film.

Date and Time: 24 June, 20:20     Venue: Filmhouse

Date and Time: 26 June, 18:10     Venue: Odeon

For further details and book please visit EIFF website HERE.

Bodies at Rest

Part of the World Perspectives Strand

High-concept action-adventure thrills ‘n’ spills from top genre director Renny Harlin, Bodies at Rest pays homage to the 1990s action skills Harlin refined in such films as Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger. On a rainy Christmas Eve, the morgue of pathologist Nick Chan (Nick Cheung) and his intern (Yang Zi) is taken over by gunmen desperate to cover up a drug deal gone wrong. Taiwanese actor Richie Jen is great as the lead villain and the fight scenes make for great old-fashioned action mayhem. [15]


Date and Time: 20 June, 18:10  Venue: Odeon

Date and Time: 21 June, 20:40  Venue: Filmhouse

For further details and book please visit EIFF website HERE

Chinese Calligraphy – one day workshop on Saturday 6 July

Chinese calligraphy is one of the earliest and most important visual art forms in China. As a practice, Chinese calligraphy is a calm, relaxing and meditative process, which benefits our well-being and leads to longevity. By controlling the special soft brush with a sharp point, Chinese brush painting is not only a mental exercise, but also a physical exercise that coordinates both mind and body.

No prior knowledge is necessary, you should simply be keen to learn and willing to hold a brush. All materials used during this workshop will be provided.
Join this session to try hands on and discover more.

The cost is £50 or £40 for university students’ concessions.

Combine this 1 day course with our Chinese brush painting workshop on Saturday 27 July for a discounted price of £80. Please visit here for details of brush painting workshop.

To secure your place on this enjoyable course please download this PDF Form which you will then need to complete and return to our office with a cheque made out to the University of Edinburgh for the appropriate amount. Cash payment can be made at the Institute in person.

This workshop will be led by our institute’s artist Chi Zhang. His Chinese calligraphy has been projected on Edinburgh Castle during the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2015. He also created calligraphy frontispiece for ‘Selected Poems by Robert Burns in Chinese Translation’, which was published by the Edinburgh University Press in 2010.
For more information and to see Chi’s work, please visit

One to one tutorials and small group workshops can also be arranged.
Please email or call us on 0131 662 2180 to discuss.




Chinese Independent Documentary III

Wu Wenguang and the Folk Memory Project

Friday 31 May 2019, 2pm-7pm

Venue: 50 George Square, G.04 Screening Room

This event is free, but booking is essential. To book, please click HERE.

Knocking on Memory’s Door with the Video Camera. A handful of people took video cameras and went back to their respective villages. They went in search of the old generation that was still living there in dim, stark houses. They went to uncover the memories hidden deep inside them. Each filmmaker had some prior relationship to the village. Some of them were born or grew up there, some still live there, some had never lived in the village but had parents or grandparents who had. For the old people in the village, this was the first time anyone had come with a camera to ask them to open their memory chests. Here was the younger generation, leaping over their parents’ generation– that generation wiped clean of memory- to ask the elders about the past. This meeting may be awkward and uncomfortable but it is also an exciting adventure. Their stories are now documentary films presented in this program. [Wu Wenguang: The Art of Unforgetting: Folk Memory Project]

We are delighted to welcome China’s foremost independent documentary filmmaker back to the University of Edinburgh to present his most recent projects. Join us for an inspiring Friday afternoon of cutting edge documentary in China, insightful lectures, discussions and “meet the artist” conversations over drinks and nibbles. [Natascha Gentz, Director, Confucius Institute for Scotland]


14.00 – 15.30 Film: Investigating my Father (Wu Wenguang)

 15.30 Tea & Coffee

16.00 – 17.00 Presentation: The  Art of Unforgetting: Folk Memory Project

(Wu Wenguang & Zhang Mengqi)

 17.00 Drinks & Canapés

17.30 – 19.00  Film: Self-portrait: Sphex in 47 KM (Zhang Mengqi)

19:00 Drinks reception

About the Presenters

Wu Wenguang is the internationally acknowledged doyen of Chinese independent documentary, producing acclaimed “unofficial” films in China since the late 1980s. In 2005 he created the Caochangdi Workstation as an independent space to focus on oral history and to document individual stories during particular difficult historical periods including the “Three year famine”, the “Great Leap Forward,” the “Land Reform” and the “Cultural Revolution”. This massive project is intended to create an independent folk memory archive, now involving 20 filmmakers, and more than 200 participants going back to their villages for interviews, with over 1500 interviewees from more than 300 villages.

Zhang Mengqi was trained as a dancer and joined Caochangdi as a filmmaker and choreographer in 2009. Her films have been presented at international film festivals in China, Japan and Europe. The film presented in Edinburgh will complete her 8 “self-portrait series”.

About the Films

Investigating My Father

Directed, edited by Wu Wenguang

80 min. /2016

Filmmaker’s words:

My father was a landowner’s son and an ex-Kuomintang Air Force pilot, who remained in mainland China after 1949. For survival, he tried to transform himself from a man of the ‘old society’ to a man of the ‘new society’. As his son, I started investigating his ‘history before 1949’, which he had kept away from me. This film documents the process of my investigation over twenty years.

Self-Portrait: Window in 47 KM

Directed, photographed, edited by: Zhang Mengqi



Filmmaker’s words:

This is the 8th film in my documentary series “47 km.”

An 85-year-old man sits under Mao Zedong’s portrait and, as the sun sets, recalls his revolutionary history in pursuit of “New China.”

Meanwhile, a 15-year-old girl named Fanghong walks through the village with her paintbrush, knocking on the doors of elders’ dark rooms, sitting before them to draw their portraits. She’s like a ray of light illuminating their memories and ruins.

I followed Fanghong, and together we built a window for 47 km village.

HSK 2 Revision and Practice Starting 22 April 2019

Course Summary

HSK 2 Revision and Practice is to support those learners who are preparing for the HSK 2 test. Learners will have a total of 15 direct contact hours over the period of two weeks. This course is composed of three parts – mock tests, revision and practice. In this course, learners will have the opportunity to take six simulated tests to help them understand the structure of the HSK 2 test. Revision is based on the mock tests where the teacher will identify the individual needs of students and suggest the necessary test skills. In addition to the mock tests and revision, 300 HSK 2 vocabulary and key grammatical structures will be reviewed and practised in this course.

Course Details

Date: 22 April – 2 May

Duration: 2 weeks, 6 sessions (3 sessions each week)

Price: £102/£68 concession

To book and pay online please download this HSK 2 Revision and Practice Course Form then complete and return it to the Confucius Institute for Scotland with a cheque for the correct amount made out to the University of Edinburgh.

Location: Confucius Institute Campus. You can download a map showing the campus layout here: Conf-campus-map


6:00pm – 8:30pm
6:00pm – 8:30pm
6:00pm – 8:30pm
Week 1
(22 – 25 April)
Session 1
(22 April)
Session 2
(23 April)
Session 3
(25 April)
Week 2
(29 April – 2 May)
Session 4
(29 April)
Session 5
(30 April)
Session 6
(2 May)

Course Content

 Session 1
  • Mock test 1
  • Revision
  • Words/Phrases Enhancement
  •  Mock test 1
  •  Revision and test skills development
  •  HSK 2 vocabulary (1-100)
Session 2
  • Mock test 2
  • Revision
  • Grammar Enhancement
  • Mock test 2
  • Revision and test skills development
  • Grammar: the use of complements
Session 3
  • Mock test 3
  • Revision
  • Words/Phrases Enhancement
  • Mock test 3
  • Revision and test skills development
  • HSK 2 vocabulary (101-200)
Session 4
  • Mock test 4
  • Revision
  • Grammar Enhancement
  • Mock test 4
  • Revision and test skills development
  • Grammar: the use of some common tenses: 正在…呢, 了,着 and过
Session 5
  • Mock test 5
  • Revision
  • Words/Phrases Enhancement
  • Mock test 5
  • Revision and test skills development
  • HSK 2 vocabulary (201-300)
Session 6
  • Mock test 6
  • Revision
  • Grammar Enhancement
  • Mock test 6
  • Revision and test skills development
  • Grammar: the use of number: time, age, price, ordinal number, cardinal number, and weight

Teaching Methods

The class is structured in two stages. A student-centred learning and teaching method is applied in the first stage. A simulated test environment is created to encourage students to familiarise themselves with the real test on their exam day. After the mock test, the teacher will go through the paper. This will be a clinic study style in order to identify the areas students need to improve, and the teacher will provide the learners with the strategies of dealing with scenarios similar to the test.

The second stage applies a teacher-centred method. The teacher will go through the 300 HSK 2 vocabulary and focus on some common grammatical problems that arise among Mandarin language learners.

Essential Readings

Hanban. (2018) Official Examination Papers of HSK – Level 2 2018 Edition. Beijing: Higher Education Press.

Supplementary materials prepared by the teacher.

How strong is your vocabulary?

Try our Vocabulary On-line Self-practice to find out! Student will receive a full set of online practice in class. Before you start the class, why not try one of the below categories first?

HSK 2 Verb