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London Mayor attends education exhibit at Beijing art district

Boris Johnson is giving a speech. Photo: Courtesy of Aowen Jin

London Mayor Boris Johnson visited Beijing's Dashanzi Art District yesterday (October 13) where 16 London universities had gathered in the Yang Gallery to stage an four-day long exhibition to showcase their creative artworks and cutting-edge projects.

The sixteen universities under London Universities International Partnership (伦敦大学联盟) collaborated to present the exhibit titled LONDON: Celebrating Innovation for showcasing achievements of both the universities and their alumnus.

According to Philippa Collins, the event organizer, some London colleges that failed to be listed into the top comprehensive university rankings, in fact hold leading positions in some specialized areas.
The year 2012 witness a 35% annual rise in Chinese students enrolling into art and design subjects, because London is commonly regarded as one of the coolest cities in the fields of design, fashion, music and movies. And apparently, London universities work as a major role in the capital city’s booming innovative industry.

“Although London is known to have the world's leading universities, only 17% of all Chinese students choosing the UK would choose London, so we decided to work together to promote our advantages, especially in the subjects of creativity," Carol Mancke, the Overseas Development Director of Kingston University in London, confided with

“The exhibition intends to introduce to Chinese students about London’s education sector. We would not just stay behind the table and hand out brochures; instead, we will bring London’s education to life by showcasing some good examples, like creative artworks by our Chinese graduates and great examples of collaborative research that are taking place between London universities and Chinese universities,” Kevin McCarthy, the Education & Culture head of the London & Partners, the sponsor of the event that directly serves London Mayor told

He promises by attending London universities, Chinese students would be able to learn how to think out of the box and be more innovative.

Mayor Johnson directly rushed to the occasion right after he got offf the plane, and he was given a rousing welcome as he walked into the exhibition hall packed with hundreds of visitors. And instead of stepping onto the podium for a speech, the populist Mayor walked into the crowd to talk with the officials and university representatives contributing to the exhibition.

He checked out introductions about the universities and their major projects printed on six huge 3-D letters of “LONDON”. He also talked with the designers of exhibited creative artworks to learn more about their undertakings.

Chinese famous anchorman Meng Fei also attended the event. Photo: by Rebecca Lin

In his speech later on, Mr. Johnson stated that the goal of his visit was to further strengthen the cultural, educational and commercial connection between London and China. He said, although more and more Chinese students and tourists are flooding to London, the city is still striving to make sure it could beat any other cities in the world and become China’s first choice.

On the occasion, Johnson also initiated London's official Chinese website: which aims to serve Chinese students and tourists who may want to travel or study in London. 

Dr. John R Hutchinson, professor of Evolutionary Biomechanics, and Nina Davies, director of Royal Veterinary College. RVC exhibit a 3D dinosaur skeleton scanning which reconstructs, for the first time, the evolution of modern birds. RVC, University of London is a leading educator of biological scientists, veterinary surgeons and nurses. Photo: by Rebecca Lin

Ben Bengler is a PhD in Electronic Engineering and Computer Science from the Queen Mary University of London. His exhibit Polymetros is an interactive, collaborative music system that enables you to play, compose and perform music together with your friends or someone you just met a moment ago even if you know nothing about music. Professor Bengler would patiently domonstrate how to handle the equipment to anyone who would stop by and show interest in the friendly creation. Photo: by Rebecca Lin

Professor Julian K-C Ma from St George's University of London is briefing Mayor Johnson of his project. “The project exhibited intends to produce medicines for poor people in developing countries. We recognize vaccines are mostly too expensive to be used in places other than the first world. So, we have to change the complete technology and we do it by growing genetically-modified plants in greenhouses. The main targets of the project are HIV, rabies, tuberculosis and the Ebola virus. We like the idea is because plants are so cheap and easy to grow in large quantities and we could even make it in developing countries because the technology is so simple. Our idea is the project will make impact on health around the world," Professor Ma later told Photo: by Rebecca Lin

Aowen Jin, Chinese British artist based in London. The design team led by her exhibit the Sound Fountain, the keynote artwork of the exhibition which could connect the two cities, Beijing and London. The fountain's water responds to the live sound of iconic London locations such as Big Ben and the London Underground, and even Goldsmiths art and design studios. Jin is a graduate of Goldsmiths University of London and her sound fountain was sponsored by her Alma Mater. Photo: Courtesy of Aowen Jin

Geraint Fox, the Head of International Partnerships and Developments of Goldsmiths University. “we're very happy to sponsor her and work with her on the project, because it's quite innovative and would use different technologies. And it's very much a connection between the two cultures—London and Beijing. The exhibition means for us an opportunity to link with some of our Chinese partners and also to showcase excellent works by our alumnus. We’re quite proud of our relationship with our students, and it's good for us to see them to be successful,” Geraint Fox told Goldsmiths is in the world's top 100, and the UK's top 20, universities for the arts and humanities. Photo:

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