A heartfelt ‘Thank you!’ to everybody who attended, co-ordinated, filmed, set-up, took down and otherwise contributed to the Spring Festival and Lunar/Chinese New Year Celebrations last week. This was our biggest event to date and witnessed collaboration amongst all five colleges, the Guild of Students, Various Student Societies, Wok Fresh and the China Institute at a range of venues across campus. An event this size could not have taken place without the support of everyone involved so we have provided a summary of the events as they took place, with pictures, and a thanks to the individuals and groups that helped coordinate these amazing celebrations!
Preparation and planning for the Spring Festival and Lunar/Chinese New Year began all the way back in November of last year. Although the Cultural Calendar Team had several meetings, our first major meeting involved people who supported the project from its inception all the way through to the final celebrations. These included Shruti Doshi from the China Institute, Mark Houghton and the management of Wok Fresh, the Student Experience and Wellbeing Officers/Representatives from each of the five colleges, the International Officer Jo (Cho Park), and Events & Engagement Officer Natalie Haslam at The Guild of Students. All were essential in ensuring the successful delivery of the events across campus and without their help the Chinese/Lunar New Year Celebrations could not have gone ahead on such a grand scale.
After many meetings, it was time to prepare for the series of events that would constitute the overall campus celebration. Given the logistics of hosting six consecutive events throughout the week, it was decided that the colleges would need their own event pack for each day, which meant we had a lot of work ahead of us! Fortunately we had recruited the help of three, truly excellent and ambitious Ambassadors: Fancy (Zefang Zhang), Belle (Tanyapa Tantrasadetee), and Nicolette (Ning Lee). All three Ambassadors dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to the project, as was evidenced by their willingness to help us fill and package over 2,500 envelopes for the celebration, deliver the event kits, and decorate each venue we attended. Without our Ambassadors, the celebrations would not have been logistically possible, particularly as each ambassador also contributed to managing the events as they took place, and encouraged student involvement at each venue. In this sense they were really the driving force of the team. Fancy, Belle, and Nicolette also took the time to write their own contributions for the Blog so that we could share their experiences of the New Year Festival in their own countries. You can read these by clicking their names above! Thank you to all three ambassadors for their invaluable contributions and also to CAL Student Experience Ambassador Emelia Lavender who helped with the preparation, and staffing of some of the events!
Another exciting development saw us gain our very own film crew in the lead up to and throughout the festival! The team were joined by Jason (Jun Zhang), Menghan Tian, Hui Liang, Mingxiang Xia and Xiaoxuan Mu; all MA Film +TV Research +Production students at the University; to help with capturing highlights of the festival for future publicity of the Cultural Calendar brand on campus. Jason and his team are diligently editing their footage at present and we will no doubt be seeing some of it around in the near future so watch this space! We’d like to thank them all for their time, for being an integral part of our team, and for the excellent work they did filming the celebrations at all of our campus events.
The China Institute Annual Concert:
Prior to our events on campus, the China Institute held their own annual Chinese New Year Concert which was sold out due to popular demand. We’d like to extend our thanks to the China Institute once again for helping us with the project, for providing items to giveaway to students (such as the swanky tote bags), and for inviting us to their networking event which took place before the concert. Also, in case you might have missed the original concert, Didi (Di Xiao) is performing another concert at Birmingham’s Town Hall Symphony Hall, which you can find more out about here. You can also get £5 off of booked tickets by using the code Piano5 when making a booking.
Monday 4 Feb – College of Medical & Dental Sciences:
Our week of celebrations kicked off in the Medical School and was split across two locations in hte lobby/reception area and a room upstairs with tables for making paper lanterns. There was also the opportunity to practice traditional calligraphy with Hongbin Yang from the School of Languages, Cultures, Art History & Music. Fancy, our Ambassador, assisted Hongbin over the two days of calligraphy workshops with interpretation, and we’d like to thank both Hongbin and Fancy for making the calligraphy a huge success with all the students! We estimate that by the end of the week, we must have collected in excess of 400 sheets of student made calligraphy, and we know many of you took pieces home!
We’d also like to thank the MDS Wellbeing Team, who helped with the set up in the Medical School, and with staffing the stand downstairs.
Tuesday 5 Feb – College of Social Sciences:
We also held a Calligraphy workshop in the Alan Walters Building where we continued our second day of celebrations with support from the CoSS Student Experience and Wellbeing Teams. We’d like to say a big thank you for all the support at this event!
Wednesday 6 Feb – College of Arts & Law:
Our celebration in the Arts Lobby for CAL was our debut event for Tai Chi. Hosted by YanYan Yang from the School of Languages, Cultures, Arts History & Music, the Tai Chi was quite popular with staff and students alike and we’d like to extend our thanks to YanYan for hosting the workshop.
This event was also supported by CAL Student Experience, where the team that support the Cultural Calendar is located; we’d like to extend a big thank you to the team, both for their support, and for sharing much of their very limited office space with our decorations over the preparatory weeks!
Thursday 7 Feb – College of Engineering & Physical Sciences and College of Life & Environmental Sciences:
Our only day consisting of two events; we began by hosting our second Tai Chi workshop in the Engineering Lounge at the sprightly hour of 9am. The session proved quite popular with staff in the Engineering building who were very much energized after their early morning Tai Chi Fan Dance!
Our second event of the day took place in the Link at Pritchatt’s Road and proved to be highly successful, with plenty of staff and students popping by to try out the calligraphy.
We’d like to thank the Student Experience & Wellbeing Teams from both colleges for their support with these events.
Friday 8 Feb – The Guild Grand Finale:
The last day of celebrations and our big closing event: the grand finale at the Guild. This event was supported by many of the fantastic cultural societies at the Guild, Jo, the International Officer, and Natalie Haslam who is the Events and Engagements Officer. Each participating society ran their own independent activity, and the day couldn’t have been a success without their support. Participating societies included the Hong Kong Soc who ran arts and crafts activities including making your own windmill, Hong Kong PASS who served traditional food associated with the New Year, Chinese Soc who also had traditional arts and crafts activities, Taiwanese Soc who offered a session on how to write your name in Chinese, the Korean Soc who had a traditional game you could make and participate in, and finally the Calligraphy Soc who also offered calligraphy activities and distributed beautiful pieces they made on the day! We’d like to offer thanks to all of the participating societies for very much being the spirit of the Chinese/Lunar New Year celebrations! Without them there would’ve been no final event. We’d also like to extend our thanks to Wei-Lun Chen, who provided his support throughout the event preparation, and for the final celebration at the Guild.
The Guild event was also the location of our last big Cultural Calendar activity, the traditional Chinese Lion Dance! This exhilarating dance was performed by Boon Yeng, and proved to be extremely popular with the audience. We’d like to thank Boon for performing for us at the Guild, and hope that you all enjoyed watching (and taking part in) the event as much as we did!
The Chinese/Lunar New Year couldn’t have been the success it was without the participation of students from every college across campus so in closing, we’d like to thank everybody who, by attending, took part in their own individual way! Most of all we enjoyed celebrating the Spring Festival and Chinese/Lunar New Year with you, and hope that you both enjoyed and learned something new about the many and varied traditions surrounding this awesome festival.
If you’d like to write about your experiences of the celebration on campus for the Cultural Calendar, or if you think I’ve missed any names in this thank you post, please send an email/draft to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We wish you all a peaceful and prosperous Year of the Pig!
The Cultural Calendar Project Team.