Partnering with China in the creative industries

In this blog, AHRC Programme Coordinator Jo Billingham, discusses a recent workshop on our work with the creative industries in China.

Earlier this year, AHRC hosted a workshop at the Museum of London for award holders and UK partners of the UK-China Creative Industries Partnership Development Grants.

Nick Bryan-Kinns, Queen Mary University, London
Nick Bryan-Kinns, Queen Mary University, London, is the project leader for AI for Music in the Creative Industries of China and the UK

The Fourteen projects have been awarded up to £25,000 to develop creative partnerships between the UK and China, investigating innovative subjects like mixed reality performance, sustainable weaving and creative advertising.

The broad spectrum of the creative industries was represented by projects incorporating film, music, animation, theatre, opera, visual arts, museums and heritage with an emphasis on the city of Shanghai.

The day began with a Welcome talk from Paul Meller, Associate Director of Programmes at AHRC, and a short introduction to the day’s events by Adam Walker, Global Strategic Lead for AHRC and Grace Lang, Director, UKRI China.

One of the main aims of the day was to provide project teams with the opportunity share ideas and explore potential for knowledge exchange and future collaboration.

Each team was given just 5 minutes in which to present the aims of their project and to give an overview of the roles of their partners in both the UK and China, which provoked plenty of exciting sound and visuals from participants to give a taste of the longer term possibilities which could arise from these awards.

Professor Aleksandar Dundjerovic, Birmingham City University
Professor Aleksandar Dundjerovic, Birmingham City University, International theatre director and Co-Investigator on the project Innovation in live performance: developing interactive technologies for opera and theatre productions

These presentations were described as being invaluable in sharing creative ideas before breaking for a networking lunch.

By the afternoon, participants seemed to have gotten a lot out of the time to discuss projects with their colleagues, which led to some lively group discussions.

Groups were asked to identify and share:

  • The main themes emerging and any overlapping areas
  • Rewards and challenges
  • Reflections

AHRC’s International Lead Adam Walker and UKRI China Director Grace Lang then discussed ‘Next Steps and Future Plans’, explaining that the Partnership Development Grants will be the first stage in a suite of funding activity supported by the UK Government’s FIC (Fund for International Collaboration). They’re intended to provide a platform for the initiation / enhancement of research-industry partnerships between the UK and China with a view to larger, longer-term collaboration.

Nick Bryan-Kinns, from Queen Mary University, London, is the project leader for AI for Music in the Creative Industries of China and the UK. He described the positive energy and innovation from both China and the UK as amazing. He emphasised the two countries’ long but very different cultural heritages, concluding that it was “the intersections between the two which (are) going to be extremely interesting”.

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