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The University of Southampton
Winchester School of Art

WSA students make triumphant return from China

Published: 28 April 2008

Traditional Chinese paper-cutting, calligraphy, tai chi and dumpling making were all on the agenda, along with visits to textile factories and Mandarin lessons, during a three-week study placement in China by University of Southampton art students.

Twenty-five fine art, graphic arts, and textiles, fashion and fibre undergraduates from Winchester School of Art (WSA) have returned home after a successful trip studyingalongside Chinese students at the University's partner universities in China.

The three week-long study placements at Dalian Polytechnic University, Changshu Instituteof Technology, and Suzhou Art and Design Technology Institute involved both on and off campus study activities and gave the WSA students a comprehensiveintroduction to Chinese art, education and culture.

In Changshu, students got an insider's view of China's large-scale manufacturing industry on a tour of two textiles factories, where they had access to the testing centres and dye and processing laboratories. They also visited one of the world's leading toolbox factories.

Cultural visits included visits to traditional gardens and villages in Changshu and Suzhou and there was a chance to discover the rapidly changing urban landscape of Dalian, one of the richest cities in China.

Isabel Jameson of WSA, who accompanied the students on the visit, explains: "The study placement was an opportunity for Winchester School of Art to build on already successful partnership agreements with Chinese higher education institutions - but first and foremost, it was an opportunity for our students to discover China and its people.

"The visit could not have come at a better time: China's place in world economics is continuing to grow at a great pace, and it is highly likely that most of our students will have contact with the country and its business or manufacturing industries at some point in their future careers. The study placement was an opportunity for them to discover China within an educational context, and will promote greater integration and understanding between students from both countries."

The success of the study placement means that similar visits may be organised for WSA students on a yearly basis. Photographs from this first visit will be included in the WSA Degree Show in June (21 to 27) and an exhibition of work created during and inspired by the visit is planned for later this year.

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