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16 days, 9 flights, 4 hotels and over 14,000 miles!

Visit to China and India, August 2004

Back in Scotland
Find out more

dance ihayami and Oriental Culture Education & Arts Network (Scotland) (OCEANS) took a professional and organisational development trip to China and India in August.  Priya Shrikumar, dancer, Wai Hong Szeto, musician, and Julia Weedon, danceihayami's Chair, made the trip.  

Here are some extracts from their diary. 


'We left Edinburgh on a typical Scottish late summer day, wet and cold!  A short flight to London to catch our 10-hour flight to Beijing, the first destination of our trip, and our adventure had started.

Four days in Beijing and then three in Shanghai.  Our stay in China was typical of the culture - a full timetable of meetings, meetings and even more meetings!  Meeting artists, visiting arts venues and experiencing Chinese arts and culture.  It was a busy, well-timetabled schedule with barely enough time to sleep! The people we met were charming, generous and very punctual. 

Beijing International Summer Music Academy; Photo: Julia Weedon

Beijing is a city of contrasts, getting ready for the 2008 Olympics.  We attended performances, visited International Summer Music festivals and the Central Music Conservatory.


We also met arts workers and investigated traditional, temple and modern music development, education and training in China.

Then onto Shanghai, the largest port in China: 13 million people and one of the fastest changing cities in the world.  A modern, bustling, vibrant, hi-tech, business city filled with red and yellow banners, posters and neon signs.  There are uniformed personnel everywhere.  Traditions of early morning tai chi and carrying tea in a jar to drink throughout the day still exist alongside the modern aspects of living in a 21st century city - huge networks of expressways and high-rise buildings.

National Youth Orchestra with Priya Shrikumar, Shanghai; Photo: Julia Weedon We visited the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Museum of Oriental Musical Instruments and National Musical Instrument factory.

We observed rehearsals with the National Youth Orchestra and spent time in the largest book store in China.

At this point our party divided, going to different destinations. Wai Hong Szeto travelled to Hong Kong where he followed up with contacts made in Shanghai.  He had meetings with artists and with the music company who had arranged meetings and contacts in Beijing and Shanghai.  Priya Shrikumar and Julia Weedon flew to India - Delhi was our first destination.


On arrival in India, the difference in cultures is immediately apparent.  India has a more relaxed culture but just as vibrant, exciting and colourful. 

We met with prominent musicians to discuss potential residencies in Scotland, future collaborations and exchanges. We met with officials from the Department of Culture to discuss potential venues for visiting artists and networking opportunities.  To sample Indian culture, we visited places of interest and ancient monuments.  We also visited the magnificent and inspiring Taj Mahal in Agra - a memorable experience. 

And then to Mumbai: another very different city.  Mumbai has a more westernised atmosphere and culture.  Meetings were organised with a prominent Bollywood music director to discuss potential opportunities for collaborative work and activities and investigations into identifying suitable venues and best approach when touring in India.

In Trivandrum, Priya Shrikumar continued with the investigation of opportunities for danceihayami.  She developed communication channels with personnel from the Soorya International Festival discussing the possibility of the company performing in 2005.  Identification of suitable artists to work on mobility and exchange projects was also progressed.

Back in Scotland

Now back in Scotland, we are busy disseminating the information and discussing how our experiences can influence and impact on the future of OCEANS and danceihaymi.  

It was a very successful trip in terms of networking and raising the profile and visibility of both companies

danceihayami performing at Scottish Parliament opening; Photo: Julia Weedon

We also researched the viability of high level residencies in Scotland and identified opportunities to collaborate with arts and cultural organisations and artists in China & India.  Follow-up activities are being considered and the companies are looking forward to building on the contacts made.'

Find out more

Read more about danceihayami.  To find out more about danceihayami and Oriental Culture Education & Arts Network (Scotland), please contact
e: OCEANinscotland@aol.com
e: info@danceihayami.org
t: 0131 225 9399

danceihayami and OCEANs have both been supported by the National Lottery through the Scottish Arts Council.

See also
* Diversity homepage
* Diversity features index
* Arts in Scotland
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