Birmingham MPs Shabana Mahmood (Ladywood) and Steve McCabe (Selly Oak) have visited the newly opened Birmingham Institute of Fashion and Creative Art (BIFCA) in Wuhan, China.
A partnership between Birmingham City University and Wuhan Textile University, BIFCA is the first non-profit, Chinese-foreign cooperatively run educational institution in Hubei province to offer undergraduate programmes.
The MPs visited BIFCA on Wednesday 16 November as part of a delegation representing the All Party Parliamentary China Group and organised by the British Council Wuhan. Established in 1997, the APPCG is the UK Parliament’s platform for discussion on all issues of importance to the bilateral UK-China relationship.
Joining Mahmood and McCabe were five other MPs from across the UK, including delegation leader and APPCG Chair, Richard Graham. The group were also accompanied by Nick Whittingham, Consul General at the British Consulate-General in Wuhan.
The delegation enjoyed a guided tour of the Institute’s state-of-the-art facilities – including the latest 3D design and media production equipment – contained in a completely refurbished 10,000m² building on the Nanhu Campus at Wuhan Textile University.
As well as spending time with Wuhan Textile University’s President, Wei Yiliang and BIFCA’s Assistant Dean, Dr Cheryl Yu, the APPCG delegation were able to network with students at the Institute. Together, they exchanged their thoughts and ideas on studying, and the learning differences between the UK and China.
Nick Whittingham, Consul General, British Consulate-General Wuhan, said:
“The MP delegation was hugely impressed by BIFCA and the new creative bridge it has created between the UK and Wuhan.
“I am really looking forward to working closely with BIFCA and its students during the coming year to boost education links between the UK and Hubei.”
The visit finished with a formal invitation from the British Council Wuhan for BIFCA to contribute to its upcoming Creativity Week, which is being held in venues across Hubei province in China.
The British Council Wuhan’s Creativity Week runs from 12-16 December. Prior to this, BIFCA students will work in groups during two, two-day workshops to develop ideas based around the impact of urbanisation on Wuhan and its life. Artwork will be created in various mediums, including video, audio, photography, sculpture and interactive displays, and exhibited in the Birmingham Café at BIFCA during Creativity Week.
Dr Cheryl Yu, Assistant Dean, BIFCA, said:
“BIFCA offers a life-time changing opportunity for our students. We emphasise a learning process that equips our students with the necessary skills and acumen to allow them to thrive in their chosen careers.
“The team of excellent international staff challenge Chinese students’ traditional ways of thinking to become more creative, to think critically and to implement their knowledge and skills into practice in class and outside the University.”
BIFCA offers a selection of creative arts degrees and students have the option to spend half of their studies in the UK, studying at Birmingham City University’s brand new City Centre Campus.