Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Working with China

Note: I first wrote this for the Writers' Centre Norwich  blog but am posting it here too.

Following on from my last post about China, I wanted to try and offer something a little more productive than the socio-political reminiscences of a part-time tourist. What follows therefore is an attempt to bring some of the conversations and experiences I had there together into a set of very brief hints and contacts should anyone wish to engage in any international partnership work with people in China. I am calling it ‘Sam’s ludicrously lightweight guide to arts and community work with China’. SLLWGTAACWWC for short.


Theatre/Drama/writing organisations
The most productive dialogue I had with anyone in China came with a gentleman by the name of Nick Rongjun Yu. Nick is a Playwright, Producer, and Director of Programming at Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and one of the best communicators I have ever come across. Three hours sat in a conference room with twenty five people can rarely have been as enjoyable and productive as the time we spent with him. He has toured and studied in the UK on several occasions, including performing at the Edinburgh Fringe a few years ago and running workshops as part of touring parties. He is keen to continue dialogue and work with the UK and would be a fantastic participant for an international conference.

If anyone is interested in working with him, please email me and I will provide his direct email address. And no, I am not his agent…though after this I may be asking for commission on future earnings!

If you work at a school in Norfolk which would like to find a partner school in China, then British Council Shanghai can help you out. In fact, if you work in a school anywhere and would like to find a partner school in China then the British Council can help. But Norfolk is paired with a district in Shanghai which means that any school arrangement would go through the Shanghai office and they would be only too glad to help. One of the fellow delegates who works with a school in Norwich had a very productive conversation with their Director, the upshot of which is the beginning of a process of pairing the school with one in Shanghai.
Further information on general school pairing can be found here:

 Creative Entrepreneurs
I’m not exactly sure what a creative entrepreneur is, but if you think you are one then this  looks like an interesting way of developing cross-cultural dialogue and contacts. I have no idea whether it is particularly effective but it does look interesting, particularly for those interested in the artistic development of physical spaces such as cities. And at the very least there is an interesting list of Government bodies and initiatives which you can check out.
Closer to home, the British Council also run an interesting looking cultural leadership programme which began earlier this year.  Although the pilot year places have all been filled, you can join the mailing list and they will notify you when the 2010/11 programme is launched.

Well, that’s about it! Apologies if it was even less comprehensive than you expected. If I hear of anything else, I will endeavour to share it. Until then…

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