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Director's Blog: Visiting Beijing with The British Council

13 May 2016

Our Director, Marilyn Scott, gives an update on how her fascinating trip to China with the British Council went following her last blog post in March.

I promised to report back on my visit to China in March. I had a fascinating trip meeting many fellow curators from museums all over China. What was so marked was that despite the differences in our culture many of the same issues were being discussed.

With the downturn in the Chinese economy there are the same fears that state subsidy for museums will decline and so issues like making money from good museum shops, holding events in museum spaces for a fee and how to appeal to younger people were all topics covered. All museums in China are currently state supported but I did meet the owner of a fantastic Chinese art collection who had opened his own museum, he believes it is the first independent museum in China. He is clearly very wealthy but was bemoaning the fact that he gets no state subsidy despite opening his museum for free and welcoming thousands of school children every year – it all sounded very familiar!

The Chinese hospitality was second to none and the food exquisite. Sadly I had little time to enjoy Beijing apart from a day in The Forbidden City and glimpses of wonderful museums that we visited during the conference. Definitely due a return visit.

Image: The Forbidden City April 2016

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