A film crew from China have followed a group of Chinese students during a special week-long trip to the University for the Creative Arts (UCA).
Art China, the country’s only government-funded arts website, filmed the group of 15 teenagers from Beijing’s China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) as they travelled to UCA Rochester to find out what life is like at a British arts university.
The Chinese students were embedded into a Pre-Degree course with current foundation students where they all worked together to create a special exhibition at UCA Rochester’s Zandra Rhodes Gallery last month.
Gary Clough, course leader in International Pathway Programmes at UCA, said: “The trip has been a huge success and I know that both the Chinese and British students have got a lot out of the week.
“It can be really tough to put into words what life is like in the UK and how studying is different but the film crew will be able to bring it to life and show first-hand what UCA and the UK are really like, which is really exciting.
“UCA is a world-class creative arts university and we want to encourage more students from around the globe to study here because they bring so much to our students and our creative communities, so we’re really pleased that the film crew will be promoting UCA in China, via this project.”
Art China, which is viewed by over 10 million people every month, will produce a series of documentary videos to promote arts education in the UK.
Daisy, a reporter for Art China, said: “We are very interested in this exchange trip because it is a brave and exciting collaboration for a Chinese university to take students out of the country.
“In China, students are taught about the skill and technique of art but western education is much more open-minded so we are very excited to report on these differences and hopefully make art education better in China.
“The cultural differences will also make very good television because many of the students are leaving China for the first time and it is good to see their reactions to the different people, food and surroundings that are in the UK.”
Zhang Junjuan, Vice-Principal at CAFA, said: “This has been a very exciting trip for our university and its students. We have never done anything like this before and we are very thankful to UCA for putting this special programme on for us.
“It’s been a fantastic week for our students, who have not only learned about new art techniques and ways of thinking but they have also learned so much culturally, which the TV audience will be very interested in too.
“China is becoming more open and more students are looking to study and live outside of the country than ever before. We hope this is the start of a long and happy relationship with UCA.”
The Chinese and British students took lessons together but also got to know each other during a visit to London where they toured the capital’s art galleries and museums.
Spike Gowers, a current UCA Foundation student, said: “It’s been a really interesting week and I’ve enjoyed seeing how they work. Their style has had a real impact on me and, after watching them in the studio, I have experimented in different ways with my usual style.
Fellow UCA student Stuart Perrin, said: “Art is very diverse and I think it’s really good to work with people who work in such different ways and have such a unique style. I think it’s great that the university is trying to be more international because it shows its’ ambition and there is so much to learn from other countries.”
Chinese student, Sebastian, 16, said: “It’s been truly exciting to be a part of UCA for this week and I have learned lots from the tutors during the classes. My dream is to study fashion so I met with the fashion tutors and students here and now cannot wait to return to UCA to study fashion in a few years time.”
Fellow CAFA student, Isabelle, 16, said: “It’s been really inspiring to visit UCA and has made many of us want to be a part of this university now.
“I’ve learned a lot about UK culture, food and ways of study which I will take back to China. In China, we are taught art techniques step-by-step and there seems to be a right way and wrong way but out here you are told to explore art and do whatever feels right which I have found very interesting.”