Hello, my name is Jingwei, I joined Ricefield Arts in October 2023 as a placement, and I have been involved in and supported many activities with the promotion of traditional Chinese culture.

On the 10th of February, we had a wonderful Chinese New Year celebration at Flemington House in partnership with the Confucius Institute at the University of Glasgow and Interfaith Scotland. This was the first time I had been part of an event of this size and was tasked with managing the playback of the music equipment.

Performers for February 10th

During the celebration, we were treated to many traditional Chinese arts, including Sichuan Opera Face Changing, Long Silk Dance, Peking Opera and Yangqin performance, which enabled the audience not only to enjoy these wonderful performances but also to appreciate the unique charm of traditional Chinese culture.

Group Photo for February 10th

On the 11th of February, we travelled to the Chinese New Year celebration supported by Ricefield Arts in Perth. At 9.30 am, members of the organization and six volunteers met downstairs at the office to begin the much-anticipated journey.

Volunteers Group Photo for February 11th

Upon arrival in Perth, we set up the exhibition hall as planned. One of the volunteers and I were responsible for making Year of the Dragon bookmarks and preparing red cardboard, Chinese toasts and dragon stickers. During the making process, we introduced the participants to the verbal expressions and meanings of the Chinese style wishes. Children and parents actively participated in learning the meanings of each word, which was warmly welcomed.

Jingwei and a participant

At the Calligraphy booth, volunteers taught participants how to hold a pen and write the Chinese character for FU “福”.

Three of Our Volunteers at the Calligraphy Booth

At the Chopsticks Challenge booth, three shapes of objects were designed and the challengers had to pick them up with chopsticks and put them back on the tray. Those who completed the challenge were awarded fortune biscuits.

Volunteers are handing out fortune cookies to a successful participant

We also ran a merchandise stall selling traditional Chinese crafts such as Chinese knots, face paint and kites. Everyone was curious about these items and bought them or gave them as gifts to their friends.

Our volunteers are explaining the meaning of products to customers

On February 17th, our Chinese New Year Welcome Event took place at Kelvin Hall. Given its magnitude, we enlisted the support of over 10 volunteers. We convened in the meeting room to introduce ourselves.

Volunteers Lunch for 17th February

At the entrance of the hall, we built a wishing tree and invited participants to share their hopes and wishes for the coming year. In the Chinese costume exhibition area, children took photos of traditional Chinese costumes against a themed backdrop.

Our Volunteers at the Wishing Tree Booth

During the tea ceremony, our knowledgeable volunteers led a tea-tasting session, introducing Chinese tea culture while everyone enjoyed their tea.

Volunteers at the Tea-tasting Booth

My task was to design a handheld pendant for the Year of the Dragon. Since this is the Year of the Dragon, it was crucial to capture the mysterious and intricate characteristics of the mythical creature, the dragon. In addition, we incorporated other typical Chinese elements such as pandas, temples and fortune cats. To cater for both children and adults, I chose stencil carving to provide them with a diverse selection of artefacts. With creative colouring and tassel decoration, the pendants are lifelike and charming.

Participating children make their dragon crafts
One of the samples

In addition, we set up three sticker punch points at the Chopsticks Challenge, Shuttlecock Game and Library. Participants could earn stickers by completing tasks at each station and collect rewards by completing sticker collection at the end of the library.

Volunteers at the three sticker collection points

The day ended with a sense of achievement and joy shared by all participants!

Group Photo for Kelvin Hall

On February 18th, Ricefield Arts’ culminating Chinese New Year celebration commenced at the Burrell Collection, featuring an array of engaging events scattered throughout the museum, with dedicated volunteers guiding attendees through various activities.

Our dance teachers orchestrated two mesmerising Chinese dance performances showcasing carefully choreographed steps and a vibrant satin dance class which attracted a large number of students.

Dance Performance

Participants of the Dance Workshop

In addition, we organised two engaging storytelling sessions that delved into the symbolism of the Chinese Zodiac and the New Year animal “年兽”.

Our storyteller telling the story of the Zodiac
Our storyteller telling the story of the New Year animal “年兽”

During this event, I also acted as a calligraphy instructor, teaching calligraphy skills and guiding participants in handwriting simple numbers and Chinese names. It was very moving to see the participants, including those well-versed in Chinese culture, seriously tackling the challenge of mastering traditional characters.

Our Calligraphy Booth for the day at the Burrell Collection

In February 2024, I had the privilege of interning at four Ricefield Arts locations for their Chinese New Year celebrations. From making connections with new volunteers to engaging with participants from different cultural backgrounds, I have fond memories of each experience. These opportunities not only sharpened my communication skills but also taught me the importance of effectively executing tasks and maintaining high standards in large-scale event management – a challenge I had never encountered before. Reflecting on these experiences, I am eagerly looking forward to making meaningful contributions to promoting Chinese culture at the Ricefield Arts in the future.