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This illustrated talk will focus upon an intensive period of collaboration that occurred over 18 months during 2014-2015, between Aberystwyth School of Art and universities in Changsha. Following initial contact made between Paul Croft (Aberystwyth) and Liu Jing (Changsha Normal University) in Hong Kong in 2010, relations between the two institutions have since developed and led to series of exchange visits and the curation of three major exhibitions.
Commencing in May 2014, ‘JIE 界’ at Changsha Houhu International Art Park, a joint solo exhibition organised by Liu Jing, featured work by Paul Croft and Professor Lu Yu from Changsha Central South University. In October 2014, this was followed by an exhibition of ‘Contemporary Chinese Printmaking’, co-curated by Croft, Liu Jing and Professor Luo Xiangke (CNU) at The School of Art in Aberystwyth and featured 65 prints by 30 artists from The Hunan Printmakers Association. The success of these two shows led directly to ‘The Xiaoxiang Exhibition of International Printmaking’ at the Meilun Gallery, Changsha in November 2015, which included over 200 prints by 90 artists from China, UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, and Chile.
This talk will also identify some of the associated collaborative projects that occurred during the period and thereafter, including ‘The Famous Foreign Professors’, Student Exchange Exhibitions, Print Workshops, Lectures, and the establishment of the Xiaoxiang International Printmaking Centre at Changsha Normal University.
That collaboration still occurs, is proof that connecting people and ideas across cultures can lead to innovation that potentially can have significant impact not only in China but also worldwide. This talk will illustrate how relatively short-term projects that have grown out of seemingly chance contacts and meetings, can build the trust and experience required for longer-term plans.