Students help celebrate the Year of the Dragon at Bristol's museums
Press release issued: 27 January 2012
University of Bristol students are helping members of the public to celebrate Chinese New Year this weekend [28 to 29 Jan] when they take part in a range of performances at Bristol’s flagship museums to help mark the Year of the Dragon.
Around 50 Chinese students from the University of Bristol will be volunteering at the M Shed and Bristol Museum and Art Gallery helping to run activities and talking about Chinese culture with visitors. The University’s Chinese Society and Chinese Students and Scholars Society have been involved in planning the weekend.
Performances begin at 11 am at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery as the renowned University of Bristol Chinese Lion Dance Troupe gets the weekend off to a colourful and energetic start in the presence of Bristol’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Geoffrey Gollop.
Julie Finch, Head of Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with community groups, organisations and individuals in and around Bristol for this event. People are volunteering a huge amount of their time and energy to ensure that the museums can be centres for sharing Chinese culture.”
Miss Qidi Qi, President of the Chinese Society, commented: “It's our pleasure to join in with this activity and collaborate with the museum. The event represents a close cultural exchange between China and UK. We are happy to take part in and show some aspects of traditional Chinese culture to local people, such as paper-cutting, using chopsticks and Mandarin taster sessions.”
Alex Pang, who is studying engineering at the University of Bristol, added: “This is a great challenge for me and I am enjoying the process of working together with other students and staff at the museum.”
President of Bristol Chinese Students and Scholars Association (Bristol CSSA), Wang Lei commented: "This is a good opportunity to understand China and the Chinese culture, not only China's traditions, but also its contemporary development. We have sourced all decorations from China for the event, so it is a real cultural display. It is our honour to help the Museum to prepare this celebration."
The weekend’s events are free and supported by Learning South West as part of the ‘Have a Go’ World Skills Project, the University of Bristol Faculty of Social Sciences & Law, and Renaissance South West. For more information on this event, visit the Bristol City Council website.
From 2.30 pm to 3 pm there will be a performance by the Red Maids’ Senior School and QEH School China Tour Choir. The choir will travel to China in the spring half-term (Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai) where they will give three concerts.
There will also be performances at the M Shed on Saturday afternoon from 1 pm to 3.15 pm and on Sunday from 11 am to 3.45 pm.
There will be a total of four lion dances over the weekend:
Saturday 28 January
- 11 am, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
- 1 pm, M Shed (outside if fine)
- 3 pm, M Shed, Events Suite
Sunday 29 January
- 3.30 pm, M Shed, Events Suite
In addition to the above events, there will be a host of activities at each site.
At Bristol Museum and Art Gallery visitors can:
- fold lucky paper earrings for New Year,
- make New Year cards,
- follow a dragon trail around the museum’s varied collections,
- or join a taster Buddhist meditation session.
At M Shed, visitors will be able to:
- see street artist Silent Hobo in action spray-paint a giant dragon,
- take a taster Mandarin lesson aboard the Lodekka bus and meet Chinese students,
- eat Chinese food at the Dragon Express stall and earn how to make a Spring Roll,
- try out water calligraphy with a giant brush and have a go at writing in Chinese,
- learn about Bristol’s sister city, Guangzhou from the Bristol China Partnership,
- watch Bristol’s only dragon boat team, Bristol Empire Dragons, paddle in the dock,
- find out about the Chinese Medicinal Herb Garden, a collaborative project between the University of Bristol Botanic Garden and the Register of Chinese Herbal medicine, formally opened in 2010,
- learn about micro-finance in China from members of charity Wokai,
- make a traditional paper-cut for New Year or a Chinese Lantern.