Yunnan Arts University Student Wins the People’s Choice Award at the 2023 UK-China International Photography Competition

Huang Bingyao has been crowned the People’s Choice winner at the fifth annual edition of the UK-China International Photography Competition, receiving a £500 cash prize for his entry ‘Grandpa’s Hookah’.

Run by the Manchester China Institute (MCI) and Creative Manchester at The University of Manchester, the competition uses amateur photography as a visual way of overcoming linguistic divides and highlighting the common humanity of China and the UK. Members of the public across China and the UK were invited to vote for their favourite entry to determine the People’s Choice winner. 

The category received a record 20,000 votes, registered in person at this year’s Photo Exhibition at Alliance Manchester Business School, at the University’s Community Festival, and online via Google and WeChat.

Huang Bingyao’s entry depicts his grandfather as the main character of his picture, sitting outside with a bowler hat on his head and the family treasure, the Yunnan hookah, in his hands. Commenting on his submission, the photographer said:

Hookah is part of China's intangible cultural inheritance. My 90-year-old grandfather is sitting at the door leisurely smoking with our family treasure – Yunnan hookah. He was helping the government build a road in the 1940s. At that time, he was only given a kilogram of tobacco as payment. Grandpa made this pipe with his own hands.

MCI Director, Professor Peter Gries, said:

This year has been our best to date. We not only received a record-breaking number of entrants, but also 20,000 votes in the People’s Choice category – the ‘Family treasures’ theme clearly inspired people. We hope that we can continue this success in the coming years and really cement the competition’s position as a vital building block in increasing mutual understanding between the UK and China.

Professor Thomas Schmidt, Head of the School of Arts, Languages, and Culture at the University of Manchester, added:

The competition has become a key feature in the creative and cultural community here at the University and the record-breaking number of votes we’ve had this year is testament to that. The competition was able to reach a much wider audience and its role in nurturing the ties between UK and China has highlighted our commitment to bringing communities together.