Local students celebrate London 2012 in a new exhibition at the Oriental Museum
(12 June 2012)
Local sixth-form and University students have come together to create an exhibition as part of the Cultural Olympiad for London 2012.
Made in China: Exports and Experiences opens to the public on Saturday, June 16, at Durham University’s Oriental Museum. The exhibition has been designed and curated by local teenagers working together with Durham University students as part of a year-long project.
The exhibition explores relations between Britain and China between 1500 and the present day. As part of the project students have explored the internationally important Chinese collections at the Oriental Museum, looked at material found during archaeological excavations in Durham City and now housed in the Old Fulling Mill Museum of Archaeology, and explored the archives in Palace Green Library.
The students have also spoken to members of the local Chinese community to gather their memories. The resulting exhibition ranges from early European maps of China to an English bishop’s chopstick holder; from porcelain to beer mugs and Olympic mascots.
Craig Barclay, Curator of the Oriental Museum, said: “This exhibition explores the diverse range of objects and experiences that link Britain and China. The young people involved have committed a huge amount of their time at weekends and during the evenings over a year or more. The exhibition they have created reflects the hard work and creative thinking that has gone into the project.”
Alex Green 18, a project team member, from Gilesgate Sixth Form Centre said: “I have always had an interest in history. Doing Stories of the World has broadened my knowledge of a history I never knew. Doing this project has opened doors for me and shown me new ways of exploring history. I have also built up my team working skills and increased my self-confidence. I have made new friends locally and from all over the world.”
Heather Lawton 17, a project team member also from Gilesgate Sixth Form Centre said: “I’ve always been fascinated with history, and Stories of the World offered opportunities that I wouldn’t have experienced without joining. Every session has been fun, interesting and I’ve learnt some amazing things that most people will never experience. Everyone’s really welcoming and it just makes Stories of the World a really fun experience.”
Made in China: Exports and Experiences is part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad project, ‘Stories of the World’, which invites young people, aged 14-25, into museums and art galleries to reinterpret their collections in new and inspiring ways. Young people working at the Oriental Museum have been worked alongside those at Tyne and Wear Museums and Middlesbrough Museums to explore the amazing museum collections held in the north-east. Inspired by the Journeys of Captain James Cook, they have revealed the fascinating stories behind objects whilst on their own ‘Journey of Discovery’.
The Oriental Museum is open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday and noon to 5pm at weekends and on bank holidays. Entry to the museum is £1.50 for adults, 75p for children (five-16) and Over 60s, and free for children under five and students. For more details visit www.durham.ac.uk/oriental.museum or phone 0191 334 5694.