The Reconnecting: Artmaking and Mobility programme has invited artists, cultural producers, curators, and writers from Chengdu, Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Changsha and Wuhan to reflect anew on network-to-network, peer-to-peer exchanges between cultural and creative practitioners and organisations in Greater Manchester and China.
Chosen via an open call and selected from a panel led by esea contemporary, British Council, and Manchester City Council, the delegation has connected with cultural organisations and leaders to deepen curatorial knowledge, share creative practices, and experience innovative contemporary art from across the region.
Join us for an artists talk featuring the 9 delegates where they will introduce their practice, research, and reflections on the final day of the programme.
Free, spaces are limited so book your place now.
All featured images are courtesy of the artists.
The Reconnecting, Artmaking and Mobility project is hosted by esea contemporary, supported by the British Council, and is in collaboration with the Manchester Network for Cultural Collaboration with China (MANCCC) and key partners throughout Greater Manchester.
Xuefei Cao (曹雪菲) is a writer, curator, and journalist. Cao graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, and is currently working in the art and fashion industry. She is interested in the social innovation and collaborative mechanism of public arts, creative cultures, and future design with science and technologies, where she collaborates with cross-border creators. She has contributed to design and fashion magazines Domus, IDEAT, Focus on Sound, as well as academic publications and corporate reports.
Cao was previously a film journalist assisting the European Union Film Festival, and other film festivals and media between 2016-2018. Since 2020, she has curated both art and fashion exhibitions, where she was supported by OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, and has organised South-North academic events featuring scholars and specialists in multi-domains to share imaginations of global futures and digital cultures. She has joined the research team at Complex-X (2021-ongoing) for interdisciplinary art-science projects funded by Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, working with artists, designers, scientists, entrepreneurs to discuss collaborative mechanisms, trans-local practices, and sustainable innovations.
Her audio-visual works include photography, essay film, and experimental music and have been featured at ChinaGSD (2020) and Abandon Normal Devices Festival (2021).
Hanxuan Jiang (蒋涵萱) is an artist, filmmaker, and art tutor at Shanghai University Fine Arts College. She focuses on emotional connections between interpersonal relationships, such as social interactions and conversations between close friends and temporary micro-communities, through participatory filmmaking, autobiographic writing/poetry, and communal meals. She graduated from Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford with Distinction (MFA). Her first MA was in Contemporary Art Practice of the Royal College of Art.
In 2019, She was announced by Art News of China as one of the most excellent young artists in China (100 in total). Her moving image works have been selected at European Short Film Festival, London Independent Film Festival, Manchester Film Festival, 9th International Video Poetry Festival, and more. Besides experimental films, she has engaged in the public sphere, including socially engaged art projects such as 'The Distribution of Wealth Most Conducive to Human Happiness' (2019) at Coventry Biennale and 'On Being Together; Memberships, Collectives and Unions' (2018-2019) at Beaconsfield Contemporary Art. Her artworks have been collected at 2019 Florence Contemporary Art Biennale, National Art Museum of China, and Beijing Biennial.
Chutian Shu (舒楚天) is an artist based in Changsha. She received her MFA at Pratt Institute in 2019. She presents works in video and still photography that draw from the mundane situations of daily life to suggest both a sense of alienation from the experience of displacement, and a sense of wonder over its many new possibilities.
For Shu, absurd but poetic interventions in the landscape; droll, deadpan, voiceover narrations in video, and amusing Chaplin-esque demonstrations of multiple ways to redeem toilet paper all suggest the different facets of a mind that is neurotically self-absorbed, endearingly naive, and bewildered by existence, all at once.
Yubing Tan (谭昱冰) is an artist based in Chengdu, China. She graduated fromSchool of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2020 (MFA, majoring Fiberand Material Studies). She creates puppets, miniatures, sculptures,stop animations and fabric works. She believes in the power ofsoftness and the meditative process of craft-making. In 2022, Yubingestablished The Pond gallery at 113 Jitai Road, Chengdu, China. Sheaims to create a safe space for young artists in China and empowerthe local community there. Yubing is an awardee of the Prince ClausSeed Awards 2022.
Zoe Xie (谢文琴) is an independent curator. She has coordinated more than ten international literary festivals in mainland China, including 2017-2022 the 1st to 7th European Union-China International Literary Festival, sponsored by the EU Delegation in China. She is a grantee of the 2022 British Council 'Connections through Culture' (CtC) programme. Zoe has also worked as an Events and Marketing Manager at The Bookworm, Beijing.
Xie has established solid partnerships with acclaimed authors, publishers, translators, and festival organisers in Europe and China. She is currently collaborating with Alexandra Büchler, Director of Literature Across Frontiers, on her CtC project featuring women professionals in the fields of art and literature from the UK and China. She is also the International Cooperation Specialist for CITIC Publishing Group·SIGHT and the mainland China coordinator for the Hong Kong Poetry Festival Foundation, initiated by Bei Dao. Her academic background is in English Literary studies, with a bachelor’s degree from Wuhan University, and a master’s degree from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Part of her upcoming work is with the Manchester City of Literature and its Executive Director Ivan Wadeson.
Binghuang Xu (许冰煌) is a curator, editor, and researcher. Her research-based practice focuses on ecological and socially engaged art. She graduated from Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, and works and lives in the Pearl River Delta. Xu practices through transdisciplinary collaboration, and she jointly runs 'Making Space' as part of Making Collective. She is also a member of a research team at the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen.
In recent years, she has curated 'Xiang Li Lao Re' (2022), an open-call project that seeks 'voices' from the overlooked countryside, and 'Is Video Working for Sheep?' (2022), an exhibition of documentary films and documents of socially engaged art projects. Xu has also participated in several projects in various roles, such as 'Death ID' (2021-2022), initiated by Wu Laobai, a project that investigated the nameless people who disappeared/died in the city; 'The Heavy Metal Country Tour' (2021), initiated by Nut Brother, a project which aimed to reveal the problem of heavy metal pollution in the countryside using multiple interdisciplinary forms, such as fieldwork, music composition, field performance, country tour, and social media.
Xu's upcoming work includes fieldwork in a project titled 'leprosy rehabilitation village'.
Lucia Luo Xu (吟光) is an interdisciplinary writer and artist based in Hong Kong and mainland China. Xu is interested in fantastic writing about 'Art Utopia', Hong Kong immigrant stories, and academic research of 'Distributed Narrative'. She is part of the external faculty of China Academy of Art, Honorary Dean of Penglai SF Academy, and the Executive Director of Hong Kong Writers Association and the World Chinese Science Fiction Association (CSFA). She is the author of several Chinese language books including the sci-fi fiction novel 'The Memory Puzzles of Hong Kong Drifters', the musical fantasy fiction novel 'The Scroll of the Sky and Sea', and the historical fiction novel 'An Odyssey'.
Xu is also co-editor-in-chief of the sci-fi collection 'Nine Cities, Millions of Futures', and co-writer of 'China Science Fiction Development Yearbook 2021'. Her science fiction has been adapted to mechanical installation art, winning the Organizing Committee Award during the 8th Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (UABB). Her band Slip wrote the theme song 'Cyber-Nocturne' for the China Science and Technology Museum, Beijing. Her works have won honours including the Chinese Internet Literature Newcomer Award of the Year, Young Poets of the October Poetry Society, and the King Car Fantasy Fiction Prize in Taiwan.
Marc Yang (杨达) is photographer from Wuhan, China. Yang has been based in the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia for several years, and has visited more than 40 countries and regions. He is concerned about international issues and has documented this in his work, including conflicts in the Middle East such as the Kurdish community; the environmental problems in India's rivers; regional problems facing the Mekong River, a river in Southeast Asia, as well as unique issues concerning China.
Yang is the founder of Wuhan Photography Art Center, L.A.P. Gallery, and the L.A.P. Photography Award. He is also the founder/co-founder of several art fairs, including Wuhan Photo Art Fair, Wuhan Art Book Fair, Xi-An Art Book Fair, and Da-Li Art Book Fair.
Zhixian Zhu (朱芷娴) is an artist working and living in Hangzhou, China. Zhu completed both her bachelor and master degrees in the Department of Fiber Art at the China Academy of Art in 2021. Since then, she has been working in a fibre media lab and studio together with two artists, which facilitates fibre art and public art projects.
Zhu is interested in the metaphors of everyday objects in contemporary art, and the ideas that come from observations of life. She combines ready-made objects and products related to soft materials to create sustainable artworks. Her works have been included in exhibitions at Being Theoria: 4th Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art at Zhejiang Art Museum in Hangzhou (2022), at the 'TRASH-ART' exhibition at Haus Appenzell, Zurich (2021), and at the China National Silk Museum in Hangzhou (2019).
‘Communities in the Making’ is an ongoing series of events that unites community-led and process-driven approaches to fostering co-existence amongst diverse underrepresented cultures and communities in Manchester. Through artist-led workshops, collaborative screenings, cross-disciplinary exchanges, and roundtable discussions, we actively ponder ways of nurturing agency to lay the groundwork for community building.
Throughout the course of the programme, members of the public are invited to gather, collaborate, and contemplate with us. We believe in the inherent creativity of every individual and strive to establish meaningful connections that are reflective of our current moment, and meet the needs and aspirations of the community. ‘Communities in the Making’ activates listening, interdependency, and the cultivation of new experiences to celebrate diasporic knowledge, and ground our work in encounters and experimentations.