I am delighted to have been asked by the Contemporary China Centre at the University of Westminster, to do a seminar on the 5th April (see details below). It will be the first time I have presented my research outsides the comfy confines of the University of Leicester: I’m nervous and excited at the prospect!


The Contemporary China Centre presents

Representing Communism: exhibitions of revolutionary Chinese art in 1970s Britain

Speaker: Dr Amy Jane Barnes

Tuesday 5th April, 2011
4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Westminster Forum
University of Westminster
5th Floor, 32-38 Wells Street
London W1T 3UW

In 1972, President Richard Nixon visited China, facilitating a period of rapprochement between East and West, which corresponded with a discernable shift in popular attitudes towards the People’s Republic and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) in both North America and Western Europe.

This presentation looks at the development and reception of two exhibitions of Chinese revolutionary art held in Britain as a direct result of the renewal of Sino-British diplomatic relations in 1971-2: a small display of woodblock prints held at the Gulbenkian Museum of Oriental Art, Durham, in the summer of 1974 and Peasant Paintings from Hu County (Arts Council), which toured Britain in 1976-1977. The presentation will focus on how utopian visions of the People’s Republic were translated into, and consolidated by exhibitionary practice.  It will analyse critics’ and the visiting public’s reception of these exhibitions –  and the art they presented –  against a backdrop of growing popular interest in Mao’s China.

Amy Jane Barnes completed her PhD in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester in 2010. Her thesis looked at the reception and interpretation of Chinese Cultural Revolution-era art in Britain. She is currently working as an independent researcher, undertaking projects on behalf of the Eunamus project (http://www.eunamus.eu/), and New Walk Museum and Art Gallery in Leicester. She recently co-edited National Museums: New Studies from Around the World (2011), and the forthcoming volume The Thing about Museums: Objects and Experience, Representation and Contestation.

All welcome

Participants from outside the University of Westminster please register in advance with Dr Derek Hird at d.hird@westminster.ac.uk

Contemporary China Centre
Department of Modern and Applied Languages
University of Westminster
309 Regent Street. London, W1B 2UW

For enquiries about the Contemporary China Centre, please contact
Professor Harriet Evans
Tel: 020 7911 5000 ext 7603

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