China’s External Communication and Relationship Building
in the 21st Century
University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC)
23 - 25 April 2020
Conference Organising Committee at UNNC
- Dr Gary Rawnsley, Professor of Public Diplomacy, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of International Studies
- Dr Xiaoling Zhang, Chair Prof. in Creative Industries, School of International Communications
- Dr Tracey Fallon, School of International Studies
- Dr Corey Schultz, Associate Professor. School of International Communications,
- Dr Yiben Ma, Lecturer in International Communications
Conference overview and call for papers
Communication and relationship building with foreign publics is core to a nation’s building of a favourable image and trust that lead to soft power. China sees soft power as crucial to its peaceful rise and to building its vision for a new world order, creating and building a ‘community of shared future’. Against the backdrop of global power shifts China ‘has discovered the importance of international image and soft power’ (Shambaugh 2013: 207) in its rise as a global power.
This international conference aims to enrich our understanding of China’s engagement with the world within the context of growing competition between nations on the one hand and China’s growing influence economically, politically and culturally on the other. China has devoted significant resources to communicating its values and culture amid its ‘going global’ project. Its increasing outreach with foreign publics holds major implications for the soft power landscape globally.
This conference invites scholars of different disciplines and practitioners to submit papers on China’s engagement with the world for image and trust building in the 21st century. We welcome case studies on China’s actors, instruments and strategies that highlight not only the state endeavours but more importantly the understudied practices outside the wholly state-directed model. We also welcome papers that look at the way China’s story telling is received. Comparative studies are also welcome. The conference seeks to contribute to a better understanding of China’s engagement and relationship building with foreign publics in the 21st century, but more importantly to stimulate debate on the implications of changes in the field.
Papers (written and delivered in English) are encouraged to approach the theme from diverse perspectives and approaches, including but not limited to the following:
- Media studies
- International relations
- Creative industries
- Language and translation
Abstract submission guidelines
- Max 250 English words for individual papers abstracts
- Max 300 words for panel abstracts, in addition to 250 word abstracts for contributing papers
- Please submit your abstract/panel proposal by sending an email to
- Please include the following information in your submitted abstract/panel proposal: name, title/position, email add., and institutional affiliation.
- Submission deadline: December 31, 2019
We strongly encourage self-organized panels that are expected to stimulate the active exchange of ideas. For panel proposals, please include an abstract for the panel as a whole (max 300 words) in addition to individual abstracts for papers to be included in the panel. We also welcome proposals for innovative session formats such as roundtables, debates etc.
PhD candidate scholarship application
To encourage research in this area among young scholars, the organizing committee is pleased to announce three PhD candidate scholarships. The award will cover the conference fee, 3 nights’ accommodation, and any local cultural activities organized by the conference committee.
For those who hope their papers to be assessed for PhD scholarships, you should indicate your intention when you submit your abstract in the first instance, and submit a full paper not less than 5,000 words in English (including abstract and bibliography) on any subjects addressing the conference theme before 31st of January, 2020.
Confirmed keynote speakers:
1. Shi, Anbin
Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, Associate Dean of International Development with the School of Journalism and Communication. Professor Shi is a leading expert on China’s global media related public diplomacy. His extensive list of published works includesCrisis Communication and Media Relations in the Era of Omni-Media (2014) and contributions to volumes, including China’s Media Go Global (2018) and Media on the Move: Global Flow and Contraflow (2006). Currently, Prof Shi is leading a three-year project funded by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Ministry of Education titled ‘Study on the Strategies of Chinese Culture Going out in the New Era’.
2. Keane, Michael
Professor of Chinese Media and Cultural Studies at Curtin University in Perth. Prof Keane serves as program leader of the Digital China Lab at the Centre for Culture and Technology. He has published extensively on China’s cultural and creative industries. One of his latest publications, China’s Soft Power Conundrum, Film Coproduction, and Visions of Shared Prosperity (2019, authored with Peng Weiying), looks at the soft power potential offered by China’s film industry.
3. More invited speakers (both academics and practitioners) will be announced once confirmed
Full program and collection of abstracts
A full program and abstracts will be available near the time of the conference.
- A special issue with an international peer-reviewed leading academic journal
- Anedited volume with an international key social science publisher
Conference venue，travel and accommodations information
Ningbo is one of China's oldest cities in the northeast Zhejiang province, the People's Republic of China. It is a thriving port and business city, and well located for travel to Shanghai, with high-speed rail links connecting the two cities in around two hours. Conference participants might want to find out some Ningbo travel trips and the attraction points in Ningbo, and plan for what to do in Ningbo.
The University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) is in Ningbo city, Zhejiang province, on the affluent east coast of China. In 2004 UNNC was granted permission by the Chinese Ministry of Education to become the first Sino-foreign university in China, in partnership with Zhejiang Wanli Education Group. Now more than 8,000 students study BA, MA/MSc, PhD and EdD degrees in UNNC’s three faculties: Business, Science & Engineering, and Humanities and Social Sciences.
Early bird registration (15st February, 2020)
800 RMB (which covers tea breaks, lunches and the reception dinner)
Onsite registration fee:
An online payment link will be set up nearer the time.
Ningbo is two hours by train south of Shanghai. Full details on travel by air, road and rail can be accessed via the university visitor information page: https://www.nottingham.edu.cn/en/about/visitor-information/visitor-information.aspx
The university also has designated taxi companies from Shanghai to Ningbo (around 1,200 RMB single).
We recommend the following:
1. The Liberal Arts Hotel on-campus offers rooms for 328RMB per night (breakfast not included). For reservations, please email Lydia Zhang (Lydia.ZHANG@nottingham.edu.cn) should you wish to stay on campus.
2. Tianwei Art Hotel (宁波天唯艺术酒店) is a short 1.5 kilometres from the university. It is a pleasant hotel at a very reasonable price. The address: No.462 Wenyuan Road (Wenyuan Lu). Telephone No: Tel: +86-574-81009999. Further information and booking can be found here: https://www.trip.com/hotels/ningbo-hotel-detail-6311736/zhejiang-ningbo-tianwei-art-hotel/.
3. Sofitel Wanda Ningbo Hotel (宁波万达索菲特大酒店) is a convenient 12 minutes away by taxi (bus routes: 161, 363, 111 and 118). The address is 899 Middle Siming Road (四明中路). To make reservations, telephone +86-574-28899888 or via this link: https://www.trip.com/hotels/ningbo-hotel-detail-369761/sofitel-wanda-ningbo-hotel/.
The University has a deal with both Tianwei Art Hotel and Sofitel Wanda. Please tell them that you are coming as a University Guest when you make a booking with them to enjoy the discount.
Below are details of other nearby hotels:
4. Nanyuan New Town Hotel 南苑新城大酒店
Address: 667 Middle Taikang Road (Taikang Zhong Lu)
Transportation: 2.5 kilometers from the conference venue; 5 mins by taxi; Bus: No. 161, 139, 132, 166, 118
Details of the hotel: click here
5. New Century Grand Hotel Ningbo 宁波开元名都大酒店
Address: 666 Middle Shounan Road (Shounan Zhong Lu)
Transportation: 2.7 kilometers from the conference venue; 5 mins by taxi; Buses: No. 177, 161, 132, 166, 118
Details of the hotel: click here
6. Nanyuan Universe Deluxe Hotel 南苑环球大酒店
Address: 1288 Yinxian Avenue (Yinxian Dadao)
Transportation: 3.7 kilometres from the conference venue; 10 mins by taxi; Buses: No. 161, 177, 115, 118, 368
Details of the hotel: click here
For more details regarding submission of abstracts, themes of the conference, etc., please contact Ms Angela Lewis at Angela.LEWIS@nottingham.edu.cn.
For other logistic matters including fee-paying, accommodation and travel, please contact Ms Stephanie Zhao at Stephanie.Zhao@nottingham.edu.cn.