Sunday, February 7, 2010

China: Birth and belonging

Performance Fri 26 Feb, 19.00-21.00. Talks and discussions Sat 27 Feb, 10.30-17.00.

Photograph of figures on bench, single figure, and characters

With a population of over 1.3 billion, China is the most populous country in the world. Chinese ideas of family and the individual differ dramatically from those we see in the 'Identity' exhibition. In various ancient philosophies, a person's essence is founded in their interaction with the world. Life does therefore not begin at conception, but at birth. In traditional medicine the body is influenced by inheritance, the environment and also Qi ('breath of life').

How do these ideas influence an individual's sense of identity and belonging? By casting our thought to another nation, can we learn anything new about our own?

We have invited Sally Lai, Chief Executive Officer at the Chinese Arts Centre, to curate a special performance in Wellcome Collection on the Friday evening. There will also be an opportunity to see the 'Identity' exhibition and meet the curators.

On Saturday an international panel of speakers will explore the complex nature of Chinese identity. There will be sessions on ancient ideas of the body, individualisms, the diaspora, and contemporary biomedical ethics and science - as well as plenty of time for audience discussion.

Tickets must be booked in advance.
£30 full price / £20 concession for both days, including refreshments and lunch.
Please call 020 7611 2222 to book.

To accompany the Identity exhibition.

Contributing artists:
Yuen Fong Ling, Brendan Fan, Seaming To


Hugh Aldersey-Williams, Curator, 'Identity: Eight rooms, nine lives'.
Therese Hesketh, Professor of Global Health, UCL Centre for International Health and Development
Vivienne Lo, Senior Lecturer and Convenor of Asian Studies, Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL
Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, University of Oxford
Jack Price, Professor of Developmental Neurobiology, King’s College London
Margaret Sleeboom-Faulkner, Reader in Anthropology, University of Sussex
Diana Yeh, Visiting Lecturer, University of East London

Toby Murcott, science journalist, author and broadcaster

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