Awards ceremony for University photography competition takes place in China

The University hosted its second International Photography Competition between March and May 2020, with the awards ceremony taking place in Sichuan’s provincial capital, Chengdu.

Manchester China Institute and Creative Manchester staged an exhibition and ceremony for this year’s International Photography Competition, which promotes mutual understanding between the UK and China. Hundreds of family-themed submissions were received from both countries, and the top 30 photographs were displayed in an exhibition at the IPF Gallery, Chengdu.

The exhibition culminated in an awards ceremony on Sunday, 28 June 2020. Professor Alessandro Schiesaro, Head of the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, gave a remote speech congratulating the winners, as did the Director of the Manchester China Institute, Peter Gries.

Head judge Michael Wood (Historian, Broadcaster, Professor of Public History at the University) also gave a remote speech, in which he praised the general quality of the submissions and stressed the “tough job” that the judges faced in arriving at a final decision. He went onto highlight the value of this competition in understanding the common humanity of those living in the UK and in China.

“The photos in this competition show us all, East and West, UK and China, about the important things in our lives. They make us think about family and friendship, and neighbourhood. They speak of our connectedness in these difficult times. Indeed you could say that these photographs tell us, more than anything else, that in the end, we are all family.”

The well-attended awards ceremony warranted coverage from Chinese news stations, with local dignitaries and representation from the Chongqing and Wuhan UK consulates adding prestige to the occasion.

The award for the Best UK Submission went to Sarah Zheng, whose photograph ‘Together under the New Normality’ presented an amusing snapshot of her family’s lockdown life. The award for the Best China Submission went to Xing Luo, whose photograph ‘The Days We Cannot Go Out’ moved the judges with its emotive conveyance of a young boy’s 40th day indoors during the pandemic. Both of these winners received £1,000/8,888 RMB.

A third £500 award went to Yourong Li, whose image ‘Hand in Hand’ encapsulated the love shared by the photographer’s grandparents. This won the hearts of the public, who deemed it worthy of winning the People’s Choice Award.

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