University of Manchester’s fifth annual UK-China photography competition looks to ‘family treasures’

7th March 2023, 6:42 pm


  • Manchester China Institute (MCI) and Creative Manchester’s have launched their fifth UK-China International Photography Competition, helping forge friendship and mutual understanding between the UK and China
  • Anyone in the UK and China with a smartphone is invited to submit photos on the theme of ‘family treasures’

The University of Manchester’s Manchester China Institute (MCI) and Creative Manchester have launched their fifth UK-China International Photography Competition.

The competition is now open, with smartphone owners in the UK or China invited to submit photos on the theme of ‘family treasures’ by the evening of Wednesday 12 April.

An expert panel of judges will name the winners for the best UK, China, and Under-16 entries, with a special prize for the ‘People’s Choice’ winner. Winners and runners-up will receive prizes of up to £1,000 each.

The winning entries will be unveiled at an awards ceremony this summer and showcased alongside shortlisted entries at a dedicated exhibition on the University’s Oxford Road main campus. A selection of the winning images will also be displayed at Manchester Museum, after it was recently reopened following a £15m redevelopment.

For half a decade, the Competition has been a vital building block in increasing engagement, friendship, and mutual understanding between the UK and China. More than 2,000 entries have been submitted over the years, and in 2022 the ‘People’s Choice’ category received more than 30,000 votes from across the UK and China.

Professor Peter Gries, Lee Kai Hung Chair and Founding Director of the Manchester China Institute said: “The visual medium of the photograph can overcome linguistic divides, revealing our common humanity, and promoting mutual understanding in UK-China relations.

“The Competition theme this year is ‘family treasures’, which seeks to capture personal experiences of what it feels like to cherish something associated with family.

“Whether it’s an object with special significance, a talent that’s been passed down for generations, or a newly discovered treasure, we’re looking for visual stories that convey the special connections people form within their families.

“No matter how small, or what it is, it’s all about what’s treasured in the eye of the beholder – whether they are in Beijing or Birmingham.”

Professor Thomas Schmidt, Head of the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University, added: “The UK-China photography competition is a true showcase of creativity and an important milestone in the annual creative calendar in the north-west of England.

“The launch comes at an exciting time for east and south-east Asian art and culture in Manchester. It follows the opening of the Chinese Culture Gallery in the recently refurbished Manchester Museum and the launch of the esea contemporary, an art gallery dedicated to east and south-east Asian art. We’re proud to have Xiaowen Zhu, Director of esea contemporary, as one of this year’s judges.

“Entries from the last four editions have been truly exceptional, and we look forward to receiving many beautiful photos with their stories this year.”

Joining Xiaowen Zhu on the judging panel are Michael Wood, Professor of Public History at The University of Manchester; Dr Zhang Hai, Director of the Research Center for Visual Anthropology, School of Ethnology and Sociology at Yunnan University; and Bingchun Meng, Professor in Media and Communications at LSE.

To find out more and to submit entries, visit the UK-China International Photography Competition page at


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