Events by Other Organisations

FINAL A3 Poster General Information of the Making of Chinatown

The Yan Kit So Memorial Award for Asian Food Writers

Yan Kit So (1933 – 2001) was a prominent Hong Kong writer who pioneered the introduction of authentic Chinese food to the British public. Born in Zhongshan in Guangdong, Yan Kit was educated in Hong Kong and obtained a first-class degree in history at Hong Kong University.  She came to London where she pursued her historical studies obtaining a doctorate from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University.  After the early death of her husband she settled in London to bring up her son.  She found a new direction and used her combined intellectual, artistic and social talents to Chinese cookery.  Her first collection of recipes YanKit’s Chinese Cookbook was published in 1984 to great acclaim and won the Glenfiddich and Andre Simon Awards.   More books were to follow and they contributed much to transform Western attitudes to Chinese food.

After her death a number of Yan Kit So Memorial Lectures and Dinners were organised.  Funds raised from these events allowed for the creation of the Yan Kit So Memorial Award for Asian Food Writers.  This bursary supports first time cookery writers the opportunity to travel to Asia for first hand research.

Hosted by The Oxford Cultural Collective each award winner is an emerging writer who has the ability to enhance our understanding and appreciation of Asian food culture.

The aim of the Award is to support travel and research costs associated with producing an original work intended for publication in print or electronic form, for the English speaking world. This could be a cookery book, or maybe a substantial article for a magazine or journal.

The Award is offered every two years, the next in 2019.The members of the judging panel for the Yan-Kit So Memorial Award for Food Wriers on Asia are:

  • David Thompson, cookery writer and Chef Patron of Nahm restaurant in Bangkok;
  • Fuchsia Dunlop, cook, food writer and broadcaster;
  • Carol Michaelson, part-time curator of Chinese Art at the British Museum and freelance curator and writer on Chinese art;
  • Paul Bloomfield, chef, corporate and private caterer, and Patron of The Oxford Cultural Collective;
  • Donald Sloan, Chair of The Oxford Cultural Collective.

The Award is jointly administered by Betty Yao MBE and Freya Aitken-Turff.   The Award was launched in 2008 stemming from an original idea by Betty Yao to commemorate the life and work of her friend Yan-Kit So through her twin passions for food and travel.

Applications are now invited for the Yan-Kit So Memorial Award for Food Writers on Asia 2019. The closing date for applications is 30th April 2019. Follow this link to down-load the application form.

Click here to download the flyer

China: Through the lens of John Thomson (1868 – 1872)

Friday 2 November 2018 – Sunday 2 June 2019

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, East Cliff Promenade, Bournemouth, BH1 3AA

Manchu Bride 2

From 1868 – 1872, legendary photographer, John Thomson (1835 -1921) travelled extensively through China and produced an extraordinary record of the country, its landscapes and its people.

The beauty and sensitivity of his work established him as a pioneer of photo-journalism and one of the most influential photographers of his generation.

His achievement is all the more remarkable given the early stage of photography required travelling through difficult terrains with large cameras, glass plates and heavy equipment.

As a foreigner, Thomson’s ability to gain access to photograph women was particularly remarkable.  Whether photographing the rich and famous or people in the streets going about their everyday business, Thomson’s desire was to present a faithful account of the people he encountered.

See iconic photographs of China reproduced on a large, sometimes life-size, scale accompanied by objects collected by Merton and Annie Russell-Cotes on their visit to China only a decade later.

Visit for more details

UK secondary school students offered chance to win a place at university summer school in Hong Kong!

The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, London has a launched a competition offering UK secondary students the opportunity to win a place at a Hong Kong university summer school.  This year – the eighth time the competition has been run – the theme of the competition is “Hong Kong – Asia’s creative hub”.  The objective of the Competition is to enable British students to learn more about and experience Hong Kong’s vibrant creative industries.

The Competition offered UK sixth form secondary school students the chance to win a free trip to Hong Kong to attend a summer school programme at a Hong Kong university and have a genuine taste of the university campus life.  Sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airways and supported by the British Council, the Competition has the participation of three key universities in Hong Kong.

To join the Competition, students are invited to to compare the situation and developments between Hong Kong and a UK city in their respective policies and measures to support any one of the creative industries’ sectors, i.e. film, television, music, design, architecture or digital entertainment.  Suggestions on how to further deepen relationship between Hong Kong and the UK in the selected sector, or suggestions on how Hong Kong could enhance its current work in supporting that particular sector will have added bonus.  Students are free to present their submissions through any possible means, such as designing a dedicated website, preparing an essay, recording a video clip or uploading a post in a blog, etc.  Five winners will be selected and entries will be judged based on content, creativity and presentation.

To be eligible for the competition, the contestants must be –

b. sixth form (Grade 12 or Grade 13) and studying full time at a secondary school in the UK;
c. able to speak fluent English;
d. given the consent to participate in the Competition by his/her parent or legal guardian; and
e. able to support him/herself financially whilst in Hong Kong.

The deadline for applications is 3 May 2019.

Further information about the competition can be found at or by emailing .

Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London


Saturday 18th May

The Friends AGM will be held on 18th May, followed by an not-to-be-missed lecture given by Barbara Anslow, age 100, based on her diaries that she kept during her internment in Stanley Prisoner of War Camp in Hong Kong with her mother in WWII.  I have heard her speak and she is the most delightful lady.  She gave the talk herself, with her daughter by her side, with just a few notes – she talked eloquently about their life in the camp and her memory is so clear and focused strongly on how they ‘made do’ with the little that they had.  Definitely not to be missed.  The publicity around the discovery of her diaries led to a book called ‘Tin Hats & Rice’, published in 2018.

Both lectures will be at the RAS HQ, as usual.  To book either or both these lectures, please email to Paul Bolding at

Chinese at SOAS Language Centre

SOAS Language Centre provides short course tuition in Chinese (Mandarin) and in Cantonese on weekdays, during the evening, and on Saturday mornings. It also offers a range of intensive and semi-intensive courses during the Easter and summer periods, some of these for specific language-learning requirements (e.g. Chinese for Business; Chinese for the Martial Arts).

Studying Chinese at the SOAS Language Centre

In addition to its short courses, SOAS Language Centre also offers two full-time accredited programmes: the Certificate/Diploma in Communicative Chinese and the Certificate/Diploma in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language.

Chinese is a vibrant section within SOAS Language Centre and the study of Chinese is a popular choice with language learners from all walks of life. Currently, there are around a dozen teachers of Chinese, all of whom have considerable expertise in the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language.

Chinese Language Courses

Certificates and Diplomas

Certificate/Diploma in Communicative Chinese (full-time)

Teacher Training in Chinese

Certificate/Diploma in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language

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