Everything about Quality

Interview with Nixi Cura
Programme Director, Arts of China, Christie’s Education, London.


Christie’s Education is the first British institution to offer a Master’s programme devoted exclusively to Chinese art. While acquiring experience in object analysis, students will explore archaeological and historical contexts and the multiple narratives in the story of Chinese art. The course also explores cultural developments from the 19th to the 21st century, when intensified contact with foreigners generated new practices, functions and meanings in Chinese art.



ART.ZIP: What are your students like? Are they mostly Chinese?

NC: Some have noted the number of quite a lot of Chinese students in the programme. I would respond, what do you mean by Chinese? In my opinion, China is a space not a place. This course is conducted entirely in English, with many of the lecturers—specialists in their field—also speaking English as a second language. This means that even if the students come from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore or wherever, they have to have fantastic English. So generally, they’ve already done their first degree, either in the UK, US or Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, etc. The Mainland Chinese students whose English is good enough for this course have usually studied or worked abroad for a little while. The majority of students have Chinese heritage, but grew up somewhere else. So we get a lot of Canadians, Chinese-Americans, Australian Chinese, and we get ethnic Chinese from Singapore, Malaysia. We get one or two students each from Taiwan and Hong Kong every year. We do have the occasional Brit, but they are rarer these days, partially because it’s very daunting to take on this course without some Chinese language, but also because it’s cheaper for them to attend an English school at £3000 a year. They really have to make a commitment to the course.


ART.ZIP: 能談談你的學生嗎?會不會大部份都是中國學生?

NC: 有人會說很多中國學生上這個課程,我會反問他們,你指的中國人是什麼?在我的理解裡,中國是一個空間而不是一個地域。這個課程全程由英語教學,就算是客座專家講師,他們的第二語言都是英語,所以無論從中國大陸、香港、新加坡還是別的地方來的學生,他們必須擁有很高的英語水平。普遍來說,他們通常已經完成了本科學習,無論是在英國、美國、加拿大、澳洲、香港等等。中國大陸來的學生普遍都在國外學習或工作過一段時間,英語水平才能達到我們的要求。我會說大部份學生是華裔,加籍華人、美籍華人、澳籍華人,還有從新加坡和馬來西亞來的華人等等,他們都在中國以外的地方長大。每年大概還有一到兩名來自台灣和香港的學生。有時候也有英國本土學生,但不多,這個課程涉及大量中文參考資料,這可能是讓他們望而卻步的原因。而且英國本土學校的學費每年才3000鎊,比我們便宜很多。他們確實需要很大的決心和毅力來完成這個課程。

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