Ikon partners up with the Centre for Chinese Visual Arts at Birmingham City University to deliver their New Masters Programme

By Jiang Jiehong, Heather Connelly and Hiu Man Chan from the Centre for Chinese Visual Arts (CCVA) at Birmingham City University

It was a pleasure to participate in the Foot in the Door event earlier this year at Ikon Gallery. We thought this post will follow up with our presence at Ikon, with an introduction to our newly launched MA course on Contemporary Arts China (CAC) in partnership with Ikon, as well as the Centre for Chinese Visual Arts, and our research and curatorial activities more generally.

Professor Jiang Jiehong is the course director as well as the director of CCVA. He has been working closely with Ikon for many years on numbers of international art projects. In 2012, Jiang co-curated the fourth Guangzhou Triennial: The Unseen with Ikon’s director Jonathan Watkins, which included artists from over 30 countries. This close relationship between CCVA and Ikon has enabled a further partnership and opportunity, for both organizations to jointly offer an extended curatorial placement to an MA CAC student, who will have the experience to work with the gallery’s off-site programme team, on Ikon’s exciting Slow Boat project.

The MA CAC is a unique course which responds to the increased public and academic interests in Chinese contemporary arts over the past decade, and the role of art and curatorial practice play in translating China to the world. The course has been designed to provide expert knowledge in a thriving interdisciplinary research environment and to bring together artists, curators, designers, researchers and practitioners who want to pursue an international career in the arts and/or research. Centred around practice-based research, theory and professional experience, the MA CAC offers students an opportunity to expand their research and understanding of the field through an extended work placement (one to three months) with our international partners. They include the Ikon Gallery (Birmingham), Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (Manchester) Guangdong Art Museum (Guangzhou), New Art Exchange (Nottingham), OCAT (Shanghai, Xi’an), Primary (Nottingham), Swarovski (Wattens), Tate (Liverpool), Ullens Centre of Contemporary Art (Beijing), and the White Rabbit Contemporary Chinese Art Collection (Sydney). We currently accepting applications for this exciting new course and have a number of full scholarships available.

Issac Julien – Stones Against Diamonds (Ice Cave) at The Distant Unknown exhibition, Shanghai, 2016

Issac Julien – Stones Against Diamonds (Ice Cave) at The Distant Unknown exhibition, Shanghai, 2016

The Centre for Chinese Visual Arts at Birmingham City University is the leading institute in the UK to enable and enhance a cross-cultural artistic dialogue. Initiated in 2007 through an international network with the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (CAFA) and the China Academy of Arts in Hangzhou (CAA), CCVA has developed an extensive regional and international partnerships, which allows us to bring together artists, designers, curators and researchers who are working with or are interested in the contemporary contexts of China in order to share expertise, understanding, critiques and ideas of innovations. By using its unique position in the UK, CCVA continues its transcultural dialogues by questioning the exhibiting histories of Chinese contemporary arts, design media and visual culture, while fostering new ways of thinking and modes of knowledge in relation to today’s globalized Chinese situation.

Our Centre focuses on three main practices. Firstly, we curate international contemporary art exhibitions in China and contemporary Chinese art exhibitions around the world. Our previous projects include The Asia Triennial Manchester: Harmonious Society (2014) and more recently in 2016, The Shadow Never Lies at Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, The Distant Unknown: Contemporary Art from Britain at OCAT Shanghai, as well as Everyday Legend at Shanghai Minsheng Art Gallery.

Han Kyung Woo - Projected Specimen web copy (Medium)

Issac Julien – Stones Against Diamonds (Ice Cave) at The Distant Unknown exhibition, Shanghai, 2016

Secondly, we conduct research that focuses upon contemporary Chinese art and visual culture. We have received a prestigious award from the Leverhulme Trust for a two-year research project titled Everyday Legend: Reinventing Traditions in Chinese Contemporary Art. This project aims to better understand the decline in traditional Chinese arts and culture amid the country’s rapid economic growth, and to consider how conventional design and hand-making skills can be best preserved for future generations, as well as the role contemporary artists in China can play to facilitate this. Everyday Legend is an international network in conjunction with University of Groningen, Goldsmiths, University of London, Central Academy of Fine Arts as well as the New Century Contemporary Art Foundation in Beijing. The CCVA offers academic support and joint supervisions within our Centre’s institutional network partnerships for postgraduate and research degree studies, with specialist knowledge offered in the following areas: ‘curating contemporary Chinese art’, ‘contemporary Chinese art and visual culture’, ‘transcultural curatorial practice’, ‘contemporary moving images in China’ and ‘arts of the Chinese Cultural Revolution’.

Finally, CCVA is home to the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, published by Intellect. With Professor Jiang as the Principal Editor of the only journal on this topic in English-language academia, its aim is to facilitate a scholarly forum for the presentation of new research into and critical debate on or concerned with this specialized subject. The journal publishes three issues per year, and the new Call for Papers for its coming issues have just been released on our Centre’s website.

Further information on our past and current projects, details about how to apply for our Post Graduate degrees and announcements on available scholarships can be found on our official website.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us, we always look forward to hearing your thoughts on contemporary Chinese art and visual culture!

Email: ccva@bcu.ac.uk
Website: http://www.ccva.org.uk

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