CCI Students visit China, on Arts Education Exchange

A group of eight University of Portsmouth, CCI students are visiting Wuhan Textile University, in China, to participate in a two-week art exchange programme between the two universities.

The programme will see the Fashion and Textile Design students collaborating with their Chinese counterparts to jointly co-design and make garments, from the 11th to the 25th of November 2017.

Through workshops, talks, study visits, and social events, the students will explore how their two cultures send messages about who they are through what they wear and what it says about the ‘tribe’ they feel they belong to.

The exchange will culminate in an exhibition at Wuhan Fashion Week 2017, where the students’ will share their works. Normally, Wuhan Fashion Week celebrates the works of established designers, so this will be a rare opportunity for the University students to showcase their works and represent the creative relationship between the UK and China.

The exchange to Wuhan follows a visit to the University of Portsmouth in the UK by the participating Chinese students from Wuhan Textile University earlier this year. During their two-week stay in the UK, the students jointly analysed fashion trends and the signals given by wearing certain clothes and how all of this can inform dress design. They worked together examining the coded messages of dress and the cultural relevance of clothing, and drew on their findings to design and make garments.

Sue Noble, a Senior Lecturer on the University of Portsmouth’s Fashion and Textile Design course, said the project was illuminating for all of the students:

“Fashion is a primary means of self-expression – it’s an essential social tool in the lives of young people. It’s been fascinating to see how this has developed as the students work together. Our two groups are from opposite sides of the world, yet they quickly found visual ways to communicate and identified common ground. The groups found they had a shared sense of global fashion and enjoyed bringing together their experience and culture to express themselves in new ways.”

Their projects were further developed throughout the summer, when the students continued to engage with each other online to share and grow their ideas. This allowed for a sustained period of cultural and artistic exchange between the UK and China, helping to develop the students’ artistic ability and increasing their understanding of each other’s countries and cultures.

The British Council organised the programme in collaboration with New World China Land Limited, one of the largest property developers in Mainland China. It is the second phase of the UK-China Cultural Exchange Agreement, which was signed between the two organisations in 2015.

Jazreel Goh, Director of Education China at the British Council, said:

“We are delighted to be working with New World China Land Limited to bring young students from the UK and China together to engage in artistic and cultural exchanges. Combining the latest trends in British fashion design with China’s long-standing tradition of working with textiles is a unique opportunity for our participants, and their collective works will further promote the close creative relationship between our two countries.”

Mr Li Xingsheng, from New World China Land Limited said:

“We are proud to be part of the UK-China exchange through this innovative arts programme.”

Katie Clarke

Katie Clarke is a Media Studies Student, currently on her Placement Year, working as Promotions Assistant for the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, at the University of Portsmouth.

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