Students Staff

14 January 2009

Debating Chinese art and culture

Colchester Campus

An ambitious series of talks by artists, curators and academics this month will look at contemporary Chinese art and culture.

This critical debate programme, organised by the University of Essex and firstsite, will discuss the unique historical developments that have led to a current boom in Chinese art. Talks will focus on the University’s recent exhibitions and performances of Chinese art but situate this activity in a wider context that includes film, literature and political debate.

Artists will discuss their own work and explore how their relationships between east and west have shaped their art and view of the world. One of the UK’s most eminent artists, Richard Wentworth, will talk about his recent trip to China, while the University’s current artist-in-resident, Sun Xun, will discuss his ideas and the impact of his residency in the UK on his artistic production.

Jess Kenny, Arts and Gallery Director, said: ‘Working with firstsite has allowed us to bring some amazing speakers to Colchester, creating a unique opportunity to place contemporary Chinese culture in a critical context, thereby gaining valuable insights into this extraordinary country’s rapid growth and development in the twenty-first century.’

This critical debate programme forms part of the University’s partnership project with firstsite, This is China, which runs from Thursday 15 January to Thursday 19 February. It includes a residency by animation artist Sun Xun, an exhibition of posters from the Cultural Revolution, screenings of Chinese short films and a performance by maverick live artists Mad for Real. Organised as part of the Jiangsu-Essex Festival, This is China has been made possible by support from Essex County Council and University of Essex alumni.


Notes to editors:
The debate programme includes:
• Den Xiaping to Now: Art in China since 1978 at 7pm on Monday 19 January
• Mad for Real in Context at 7pm on Monday 26 January
• Not Marco Polo at 7pm on Thursday 5 February
• Cultural difference or prejudice? at 2pm on Monday 9 February
• Sun Xun and the moving image at 7pm on Monday 9 February
• Achives, tactics and gestures at 7pm on Thursday 26 February
For more information, please see:

For further information please contact the University of Essex Communications Office on telephone: 01206 872807 or e-mail:

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