On 5 December 2011, the then First Minister of Scotland, the Rt Hon. Alex Salmond, met with China's Minister of Culture, Cai Wu, in Beijing to formally sign a Cultural Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between China and Scotland to increase the scope and level of cultural exchanges between both countries.
Both Governments have witnessed a substantial increase in the level of cultural interactions, exchanges, collaborations and networks since 2012 and have subsequently agreed to renew and refresh this MOU.
In accordance with the Agreement between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the fields of Education and Culture, signed in London on 1 November 1979, the subsequent creation of the Scottish Government with devolved responsibility for culture, and inspired by the strengthening relationship between their two countries, The Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China and the Government of Scotland (hereinafter referred to as "The participants") agreed to renew the following Memorandum of Understanding which sets out that the participants wish to encourage greater collaboration and exchange between their respective national cultural organisations and bodies, festivals, artists and practitioners.
Definition of culture
1. For the purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding 'culture' will be defined as including, but not restricted to, all performing and visual arts, museums and collections, literature, publishing, film, art and crafts, built heritage, music, software design, animation and gaming.
2. The participants recognise that a nation's culture can add significant value to their educational, academic and business activities. It helps articulate their distinct national identity and enhances mutual understanding between countries, creating an atmosphere of respect, trust and celebration. It also plays a key role to supporting and stimulating sustainable economic growth.
3. Cultural connections, collaborations, performances and exchanges between China and Scotland have significantly increased and deepened through the signing of an MOU in 2011. The citizens of both countries continue to show a growing interest in each other's unique cultures and have a strong sense of pride in their own. There are many examples of cultural activity between China and Scotland, over the period of the MOU, which supports one or more of the four key areas laid down in the original MOU of Cultural Collaboration; Best Practice Exchange and Talent Development; Educational Outreach; and, Networking opportunities. Examples of these are:
- in 2012, The Scottish Ten project 3D laser scanned Jing Tomb and Xiao Tomb of the expansive Eastern Qing Tombs, part of the Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties World Heritage Site, providing the Chinese Government with lasting documentation of the tombs for future preservation and conservation.
- the National Theatre of Scotland collaborated with Chinese playwrights to produce a series of 3 plays which toured in China and Scotland during 2013
- Nanjing Museum and RCAHMS developed a cultural partnership 'Tale of Two Cities' based on the story of how Edinburgh New Town and Nanjing have developed over the centuries. This exhibition was held in Nanjing, attracting one million visitors, and winning the International Arts and Business Scotland Award in 2014
- three exhibitions from China were showcased in Scotland during 2014 including the outstanding 'Ming the Golden Empire' at the National Museum of Scotland, 'Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors' and 'Poster Art of Modern China' hosted by University of Edinburgh
- 2015 will see a major exhibition of Scotland's contemporary artists at the Himalayas Gallery in Shanghai.
- Chinese and Scottish productions toured extensively over the last four years. Performing in Scotland were Beijing People's Art Theatre's 'Tragedy of Coriolanus', Beijing Red Poppy Ladies Percussion Group, Beijing Students Golden Sail Art Troupe, etc. Performing in China were National Theatre of Scotland's 'Dunsinane', Scottish Ballet's 'Romeo and Juliet, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble and Janis Claxton Dance.
Areas for continued co-operation
4. The four key areas originally identified for opportunity to further develop cultural engagement between China and Scotland still remains relevant. They focus activity in the areas of Cultural Collaboration, Best Practice Exchange and Talent Development, Educational Outreach and Networking Opportunities. These offer their respective cultural communities the opportunity to encourage and enable future engagement, establish and deepen sustainable relationships and foster partnerships which will continue to benefit both China and Scotland.
4.1 Cultural collaboration
The participants believe that future cultural collaboration between Scotland and China is one of the best indicators for the respect, admiration and quality of our reciprocal cultural exchange. This Memorandum of Understanding encourages:
- Chinese and Scottish creative practitioners and associated companies actively to explore opportunities to work together on new productions and new interpretations of existing productions in theatre, dance, the visual arts, music, film, literature and animation technology
- exchanges of exhibitions, collections and art that have an artistic, informative, historic and creative nature, and promote greater understanding and interest in our respective national identities
- greater collaboration and synergy between respective festivals and national showcase events
- promote exchange and collaboration in the fields of literature and publishing, and to encourage the translation and dissemination of the outstanding literary works of each other's countries
- promote cooperation in cultural heritage safeguarding, archaeological research and museum interactions, etc.
4.2 Best practice exchange and talent development
The participants are recognised internationally for the value they place on education and exporting and sharing knowledge in key areas. Participants will endeavour to work collaboratively to identify opportunities to strengthen their cultural infrastructure, foster knowledge transfer through exchange of information, professionals, training and exhibitions. This Memorandum of Understanding encourages:
- development of wider cultural policy, for example addressing socio-economic issues and promoting the nations' diversity and reputation
- the sharing of specific curatorial, digitisation, publishing, animation and leisure software development and conservation knowledge and skills
- the sharing of specialist elements of a range of production techniques, such as lighting, sound, graphics, animation, cinematography and special effects
- improvement of teaching skills and techniques in the field of creative educational, development of a range of educational activities in music (both instrumental and vocal), dance, theatre, art, graphics and costume design areas
- the promotion of specialised creative sector courses specific to both China and Scotland which can contribute to the development of exceptional individual talent.
4.3 Educational outreach
The participants place significant value on the importance of developing their young people and investing in nurturing future talent. Children and young people benefit from exposure to their own and other countries' culture as part of their education. This enhances their confidence; develops of key life skills and literacy; develops social awareness and understanding of each others issues. There are extensive examples of the positive outcomes from such activity. This Memorandum of Understanding will:
- place great importance on the value of visiting companies and cultural organisations who consider innovative ways to engage with schools, colleges and other educational institutions, exposing young people and others to culture and promote the socio-economic benefits that it brings
- encourage Chinese and Scottish cultural organisations to be active in supporting education outreach and consider ways of achieving greater engagement.
4.4 Networking opportunities
The participants recognise the value of creating opportunities for cultural professionals to engage with their international counterparts. Such relationships lead to much greater engagement and facilitation of the other three themes. The participants will seek to encourage and actively assist such opportunities through:
- supporting independent collaborations through a variety of conduits
- maximising potential networking opportunities around Ministerial visits and Government delegations
- reciprocal visits of representatives of cultural institutions and companies to participate in congresses, conferences, symposium and other similar events.
Entry into effect and termination
(i) This Memorandum of Understanding will enter into effect, and remain effective from the date of its signature unless a new Memorandum of Understanding is signed.
(ii) Either of the participants may terminate this Memorandum of Understanding at any time by giving six-month written notice to the other participant.
(iii) The participants may modify this Memorandum of Understanding at any time by mutual agreement.
(iv) It is agreed that following the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding, contact will be maintained between the two participants. It is further agreed that named contacts in the Ministry of Culture and Scottish Government would be identified to monitor progress.
Signed in Beijing on 28 July 2015 in duplicate in the Chinese and English languages, both texts having equal validity.
For the Ministry of Culture of The People's Republic of China
Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon
For the Scottish Government
Phone: + 44 (0) 131 244 1412