University of Nottingham Ningbo China wins 2021 China Social Impact Awards

17 September 2021

16 September: University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) received the Community and Culture Award presented by British Chamber of Commerce in China at the 2021 China Social Impact Awards ceremony held in Beijing.

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Dr K. Cohen Tan, Interim Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning, accepting the award at the ceremony

Community and culture are the two pillars that enable us to live a rich human experience. As the winner of this award, UNNC is the organisation that has gone to the greatest length to foster a sense of community and promote cultural activities. It has done this by engaging in cross-cultural exchange, civil society partnerships and building local community support networks. UNNC was nominated as a finalist alongside Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. and Swire Properties.

In the area of preservation of cultural heritage, UNNC is not only able to leverage its world-leading technical and academic expertise, but also the creativity and enthusiasm of its students and staff. At UNNC there are global leaders in the use of technology in the preservation of cultural heritage, and the impact of their work in the area has both global and local impacts.

The NVIDIA Joint-Lab on Mixed Reality has been committed to introducing digitalisation into the field of cultural heritage. Professor Eugene Ch’ng, the director of the NVIDIA Joint Lab and the Digital Heritage Centre, has been at the forefront of the field of the digitalisation of cultural heritage for over 15 years, developing Virtual Reality projects in the areas of architecture, archaeology and cultural heritage. Prof Ch’ng has been a pioneer of developing this technology in Europe and UK and is actively transferring his expertise to China through a series of collaborative and community-based programmes.

There is also the Centre of Ningbo Studies that is led by Dr Thomas Hirzel, Dr Jing Xie and Professor Dave Towey whose work centres on the use of Photogrammetry and Digital Capture to preserve and database cultural artefacts and architecture, but also to build bridges between communities of enthusiasts and scholars, and promote Ningbo’s rich cultural heritage both within China and abroad. They have organised numerous cultural and community events to showcase their work and raise awareness of the Ningbo’s past as a maritime trading hub. The Centre is currently providing technical workshops and consultancy for staff in the Ningbo Museum on Photogrammetry and Digital Capture so as to archive Ningbo’s priceless collection of Celadon.

Since 2019, UNNC has also established cooperation with Ningbo Bang Museum in developing humanistic quality education, community services and social practices with the support and coordination of Dr K. Cohen Tan, Interim Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning. Dr Filippo Gilardi, Head of School of International Communications, has been actively promoting the development of the internship practice module “Digital Narrative, Digital Literacy” at the Ningbo Bang museum. He also took students to the Ningbo Bang Museum to carry out social practices multiple times. Under his guidance, the playful creativity of these students has brought the museum content alive for younger generations of Ningbonese, and greatly increased engagement with the story of the Ningbo Bang.

The Community and Cultural Award is recognition for the fantastic effort put in by UNNC in terms of preservation and promotion of cultural heritage through a variety of initiatives. In the future, UNNC remains committed to developing the best practice in the use of technology in the preservation of cultural heritage, focusing on scholarship on Chinese and Ningbonese cultural heritage and to act as a bridge for local and international communities of scholars. The University hopes to raise awareness of and engagement with Ningbo’s historical legacy amongst younger generations of Ningbonese, throughout China, and with international communities.