It’s been another very busy year at the Historical Photographs of China (HPC) project. Here’s news of some of our achievements.
The Chinese Year of the Horse kicked off with a new exhibition at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery in February. We devised Canton Camera, to highlight nineteen photographs of Bristol’s sister city Guangzhou, chosen from eleven different collections, and displayed on ten pop-up banners.
We copied over 5,100 photographs in fifteen new collections this year. While augmenting the HPC website is the project’s main aim, public events also reach many hundreds of people for the first time, including Chinese communities in Bristol (both long-time residents and students). We welcome to the team Miss Yuqun Gao, who publicises the project online to Chinese social media users through our Weibo site.
The heart of the HPC project continues to be the collections of photographs kindly lent by people with historic family connections to China. Each collection captures particular experiences of people, place, and period. When brought together, and shared by the HPC team, they significantly expand and multiply opportunities for knowledge and insight. We see and learn new things from even the smallest handful of photographs that are shared with us. This year we received contributions that ranged from the oldest known surviving photographs taken in Shanghai (c.1857), to photographs by a British Army Signal Engineer taken in China during World War Two.
HPC is a highly regarded, and much used, resource for scholars, other researchers and students around the world. During 2014 the project was visited by the Taiwanese Ambassador, by the Vice Directors of the State Archives Administration of China and representatives from the Wuhan Customs Museum, and others.
Partnership is essential to the continued success of the HPC. This year we copied marvellous archive collections held at the University of Birmingham and the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute.
We also worked with an independent filmmaker on a film about the life of Sir Robert Hart, the long-serving Inspector General of China’s Imperial Maritime Customs Service. More information about For China and The World is at http://www.roberthartfilm.org/.
Looking ahead to 2015 – we launch a revamped HPC website, hosted in Bristol. Once that is up and running, we will be working hard to make the collections lent to the project since 2012 available for all to see. We also plan to hold a new photographic exhibition about Guangzhou.
All welcome to Bristol’s famous Chinese New Year event, at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, 21st and 22nd February.
Compliments of the season to all friends of ‘Visualising China’.