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UCLan to celebrate region’s ethnic heritage with interactive arts project

12 June 2013

Chris Theobald

UCLan calls on region's Chinese community

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is calling on the region’s Chinese community to help shape a visual arts project aimed at documenting the lives of Chinese people located throughout Lancashire.

Funded by the Arts Council England and working closely with Lancashire Cultural Services, the UCLan Confucius Institute*-led project is organic, created in real-time, and fully dependent on help and input from members of the local community.

The project will offer free photography lessons to Chinese locals of all ages living in Lancashire. They will learn photography techniques to help record their daily lives in a way that is visual, engaging and inspiring. Photographs generated by the initiative will shape two exhibitions over the project’s duration, celebrating the work and lives of the local community and forging a deeper community spirit.

“We’re very excited about launching this project. UCLan Confucius Institute is very committed to promoting community engagement."

UCLan’s Confucius Institute is also looking for volunteers to come forward from across the county to have their portraits taken by commissioned graduates from UCLan’s photography degree programme. These will form the content for the second county-wide exhibition.

There is also a ‘blank-canvas’ option whereby self-portraits taken at the exhibition using a provided Polaroid camera will be added to a live art piece – further enhancing the inclusionary ethos of the project. Selected photographs will be presented in a book along with stories from members of the local community.

The exhibition is due to take to the roads in early 2014, coinciding with the tenth anniversary of the Morecambe Bay cockle disaster – a timely homage to the local Chinese community. Morecambe Bay will also be the backdrop for one of the portrait sessions.

Feixia Yu, Director of UCLan Confucius Institute, said:
“We’re very excited about launching this project. UCLan Confucius Institute is very committed to promoting community engagement and as art plays such an important role in Chinese culture, what better way to strengthen this than through a visual arts project."

“This project has the ability to reach thousands across the county and will give many community members access to a new skill through the free photography workshops."

Feixia Yu added: “This project has the ability to reach thousands across the county and will give many community members access to a new skill through the free photography workshops.

“Most importantly, the project will hopefully encourage Chinese locals to come forward and share their stories, creating an archive that can be enjoyed by current and future communities.”

For more information and to find out times and venues of workshops and portrait sessions, please visit www.chineselancashire.com or telephone 01772 894242.