This January we’re taking a moment to reflect on the past year – our growing team, our successes and our increasing development. 2018 was a busy year for Ricefield Arts! Here’s a round-up of some of our highlights.

Glasgow Kite Festival

The volunteer team at Glasgow Kite Festival

We were delighted to receive funding from Our Place Fund  to deliver the inaugural Glasgow Kite Festival in Bellahouston Park on 22 July 2018. Part of the European Championships Festival 2018, the event highlighted the long history of kites – invented in China over 2000 years ago. Visitors were able to make their own kite using bamboo and following traditional methods. There were also free craft workshops, the chance to try traditional Chinese clothing, a treasure hunt and an exhibition – and of course, kite flying with demonstrations by the Kite Club of Scotland! We were also happy to visit local areas in Glasgow during July for a series of community kite making workshops with Gilded Lily, Interfaith Glasgow, Chinese Community Development Partnership, Glasgow Mela and Kelvin Hall. A big thanks to our team of over 30 volunteers who made the festival possible, as well as to our additional partners Glasgow Life and Glasgow Sport.

When Red, Go Green

Cycling workshop participants in Kelvingrove Park

Being awarded funding from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund for our two-year climate change project When Red, Go Green was a significant step for Ricefield Arts in 2018. The project aims to increase climate change awareness and encourage sustainable living in our Glasgow community, and is compromised of three main sub-projects: Grow & Cook, Pace & Pedal, and Reuse & Reduce. The funding supported four new staff members: Lindsey, Clarinda, Rita and Kam Fung, and a busy programme of activity including free cookery, cycling and mending workshops, climate change conversations, swap shops and the development of our Chinese Community Library (more on that below!). The team have since launched a brand new project website and Twitter, which is full of information and hints & tips for reducing your carbon footprint.

Chinese Community Library

Some of the library collection on display

We launched our Chinese Community Library in October 2018, a sub-project of our When Red, Go Green activity. Based in Baltic Chambers, the library aims to be a cultural hub, as well as encouraging a circular economy through the sharing of resources. Since then the Library has been the venue for many of our events and workshops, and is additionally available for hire. The book collection it houses has been developed entirely through donations, and covers a wide range of topics including Chinese art, language, history, philosophy and medicine. It is open for book borrowing and research each Wednesday. If you’re interested to join for a free as a member, head to the When Red Go Green website.

CEMVO Awards

We were absolutely delighted to be awarded the CEMVO Ethnic Minority Impact in Arts and Entertainment Award for the second year running at their ceremony in November 2018. MSP Humza Yousaf presented us with the award, following a thoughtful nomination by Jade Graham of Glasgow Life. The team had a great evening, inspired by the hard work of the other nominees and award winners.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year workshops at Kelvin Hall

We were delighted to celebrate the Year of the Dog in February 2018, with activity throughout Scotland. In Kelvin Hall, we hosted our second year of celebrations with a games & sports theme. Following our Zodiac Animal Activity Trail, visitors tested their chopsticks skills, learned Chinese calligraphy, tried Chinese chequers, Tangram and the Game of Go, made Year of the Dog crafts, tried traditional clothing and played with shuttlecocks. There was also a very lively Lion Dance by our friends at Hung-Ga, as well as a chance to compare Scottish and Chinese New Year traditions and learn about stamps from the Scottish Philatelic Society.

We also visited Perth Light Nights for their weekend of Chinese New Year celebrations, hosting Chinese craft workshops on the river side and taking part in the colourful New Year procession.

Partnerships

Artist Lin leads a workshop at Wing Hong Chinese Elderly Centre

We continued work with a broad range of partners in 2018, aiming to reach new audiences throughout the city. A highlight was our year-long project with Wing Hong Chinese Elderly Centre, supported by VAF funding.  We’ve delivered craft workshops including felting, card making and collaging – all with the aim of increasing wellbeing and decreasing isolation within Glasgow’s elderly Chinese community. We were also delighted to take part in festival celebrations within the Centre, including a lively Mid-Autumn Festival event and creating a boat for Dragon Boat Festival.

A performance of The Painted Skin at Britannia Panopticon

This year we also developed a new relationship with Britannia Panopticon, the world’s oldest surviving music hall in Glasgow’s Trongate. As part of their Halloween celebrations, Ricefield volunteers took part in two performances of the famous Chinese ghost story by Pu Songling: The Painted Skin. Ghost Stories from Around the World also featured tales from Russia and some more local characters from Glasgow’s gruesome history.

Larry at our Book Week Scotland Tea Ceremony in 2017

2018 also saw the culmination of the My Time project, led by Voluntary Arts Scotland. We hosted poet Larry Butler, who immersed himself in our work and community. He then produced a creative poem, Poaceae & Chameleon, inspired by how volunteers and board members described Ricefield. The finished poem now has a home on our website, and has been read by Larry at the Scottish Poetry Library – it will feature in an exhibition travelling to Glasgow this year!

Festivals & Events

The volunteer team at Glasgow Canal Festival

We love getting out in the summer weather, so we were very happy to take part in two of our favourite festivals in 2018: Glasgow Mela and Glasgow Canal Festival! At Glasgow Mela in June we held the first of our Community Kite-Making workshops, as well as other craft activities and a pop-up Chinese Craft Fair. At Spiers Wharf in August we led origami boat making, a second Chinese Craft Fair and a guided cycle-tour of the canal route.

Some of our volunteers at the Hidden Gardens

We also took part in events hosted by our friends at Kelvin Hall, pondered Chinese vocabulary as part of Book Week Scotland, celebrated the Hidden Gardens at their summer party, made Chinese-inspired headdresses at Leap Sport‘s Pride House and led family craft workshops at Kelvingrove Bandstand – to mention a few highlights!

Workshops

Book making for Book Week Scotland 2018

Our team of workshop artists grew this year, as we made new connections through our When Red, Go Green project and sought to further develop our support of artists of Chinese descent. Artists visited schools and universities, travelling as far afield as Middlesborough to share Chinese cultural traditions. Our wellbeing project with Wing Hong Chinese Elderly Centre provided an opportunity for cross-generational dialogue, while funding from Book Week Scotland allowed artist Clarinda to develop a new workshop exploring the formation of Chinese characters and vocabulary. We’re looking forward to working with this team to further investigate both traditional and contemporary Chinese culture in 2019.

Our Volunteers

Volunteers at Glasgow Mela

We expanded our incredible volunteer team this year, with new library and marketing roles through our When Red, Go Green project. Volunteers also had the opportunity to take part in the event planning and delivery of Glasgow Kite Festival, as well as being responsible for photography and some very entertaining blog posts. We celebrated the varied contributions of the team at our annual Volunteer Party, held in September at Project Cafe, with tasty food, games and awards. Interested in volunteering? Sign up for updates here.

Thank you for a great 2018!

We’d like to take a final opportunity to thank everyone who made all this possible – including our dedicated board, our amazing team of volunteers, our hardworking staff, our funders and our partners across Scotland. Most importantly, we’d like to thank our diverse community of supporters. If you’ve attended a Ricefield Arts event this year, visited our community library,  joined an art workshop, purchased crafts our at one of our stalls or engaged with us online – you’re helping us move one step closer to our aim of promoting the full spectrum of Chinese culture in Scotland.

We’d love to hear from you about your favourite memories with Ricefield in 2018, or if you’re interested in working together in the future. Lots of 2019 news and announcements coming very soon!