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Tradition and innovation come together in preparation for Chinese New Year

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Spring Festival came a month early to HELIX, as the Business Confucius Institute (BCI) welcomed staff, students and guests to look ahead to the Year of the Dragon. 

Attendees were greeted by the beautiful sound of the guzheng as they arrived to see the University’s learning innovation hub adorned with couplets and red lanterns.  

Traditional music and decorations sitting alongside the cutting-edge venue and facilities put a fresh twist on Chinese New Year activities.  

Four people gather round the guzheng

Engaging activities

The programme was designed to educate, inspire, and build community.  

Presentations by BCI teachers introduced Chinese New Year traditions and taught some greetings in Mandarin.  Throughout the day attendees could try paper cutting and calligraphy in the Makerspace and add their messages to a lightboard.  Other interactive opportunities included the photobooth, podcasting room and online polls.  

Link to Leeds Ambassador Lynette attended the event and reported in her blog post:

The event was extremely interactive, encouraging us to take part in the various cultural activities.

"The highlight was a craft centre, offering hands-on experiences in traditional calligraphy and creating paper cut-out decorations for the Spring Festival."

A Chinese person shows someone how to hold a calligraphy brush

HELIX facilities 

The event was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate HELIX in action, making use of various spaces and highlighting equipment including the lightboard and podcasting set-up.  

The lightboard activity inspired many participants to consider how this tool could be used to enhance their own events and teaching.  

Representatives from the Student Welcome Team and Leeds University Union joined us to record a podcast about their experiences of Spring Festival, and to talk about the events coming up for students in the coming weeks. Listen to the conversation on Soundcloud

Community and belonging 

Participants familiar with Spring Festival and Chinese culture soaked up the festive atmosphere with those who don’t usually celebrate, learning from each other and sharing their cultures and traditions. A diverse group of countries were represented among attendees.

In her Link to Leeds blog post Lynette said:

I found immense joy in immersing myself in diverse cultural experiences, savouring new foods, and forging new connections.

BCI Executive Director Professor Lynda Song said: 

Just as the lightboard images continue to glow with participants’ Spring Festival greetings, we hope that the sense of community created at this event will endure as we prepare to welcome the Year of the Dragon.

"The BCI will continue to educate, inspire and connect people at Chinese New Year and beyond."

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