U.K. Renews Cultural Exchange Accord With China

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Maria Miller

The cultural ministers for both countries trumpet a fresh commitment to one another to work together to cross-promote business and output across the arts including film and television.

The U.K. government is trumpeting the renewal of a cultural agreement with China as British Prime Minister David Cameron leads a group of Brits to talk trade and business relations between the countries.

The U.K.'s minister of culture, media and sport, Maria Miller, and Chinese Minister for Culture Cai Wu signed the deal heralding a five-year program that aims to "give a boost to cultural and creative exchanges between the U.K. and China."

Among the artists and organizations expected to tour China in 2014-15 include the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Northern Ballet, National Theatre of Scotland and Shakespeare’s Globe.

Miller reminded commentators in a statement that last year had seen the "largest-ever festival of U.K. culture in China."

Said Miller: "U.K. Now took over 700 British artists to audiences in 29 cities across China. In return we have seen some fantastic examples of Chinese culture coming to the U.K., from a heavy-metal version of Coriolanus at this year’s Edinburgh Festival to the current exhibition of Masterpieces of Chinese Painting at the [Victoria and Albert Museum]."

Miller said the hope is that the agreement will also bolster business relations in film and television as well as the performing and visual arts, museums, cultural heritage and literature.

British Council CEO Martin Davidson said of the fresh accord between the countries: "Cultural relations between the U.K. and China have never been stronger. Following the consecutive hosting of the Olympic Games and the U.K. Now festival in China last year, the renewal of the Cultural Exchange Agreement, led by the British Council and Ministry of Culture, takes us forward to 2018. I really believe that this agreement can provide the framework for even stronger cultural relations between our two countries, both in terms of more people experiencing arts from our respective countries, and working together on cultural infrastructure."