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SFTW research outputs

Song of The Female Textile Workers, UK-China digital connectivity is a one-year practice-led research project awarded by UKRI AHRC in November 2020 under the call of UK-China Creative Partnerships: Responding to the longer-term impacts of COVID-19. The project sees development of a filmed version of mixed reality performance Song of the Female Textile Workers, which tells the story of three generation of women in China and their intertwined fate with Shanghai textile industry and Shanghai yueju from early 20th century to date.


The one-actress performance Song of the Female Textile Workers stars WANG Rousang, China national class A performer (国家一级演员) of xiaosheng role (male cross dressing) at Shanghai Yue Opera House, in collaboration with Shanghai Textile Museum, Leeds Industrial Museum, stage@leeds, and Yorkshire based digital SME (small and medium enterprise) HUMAN. It aims to revive shared UK-China community memory of post-industrial transformation and test UK-China digital compatibility. The creation process was held entirely online, and rehearsals and final performance live streamed across Shanghai and the UK.

The project builds on three previous AHRC awards: AHRC Newton Fund Creative Economy Development in China, Popular Performance for New Urban Audiences (2018-21), AHRC Partnership Development Fund Bridging the Gaps: mixed reality performance in rural-urban Shanghai (2019 and 2020- 2024). The creative process aims to test UK-China shared cultural memories and audience taste whilst assessing how a 'creative chain' maybe established in joint creative collaboration across the UK and China.

The Missing Intangible Cultural Heritage in Shanghai Cultural and Creative Industries - Academic Paper

In an interview, Dr Haili Ma comments that 'COVID-19 made us realise how digital technology has become an integral part of our life. There are unprecedented challenges in developing a mixed reality performance and building audience connection across the UK and China entirely online, but we are very excited to have identified textile in/tangible heritage and its digital presentation as the bridging point of UK-China creative partners and communities.' Further news articles and public events regarding the project can be read below. (Leeds.Gov News) (West Leeds Dispatch) (Creative Tourist) (Leeds Inspire) (Shanghai Yue Opera House)