Living Research uncovers the local ecosystem of creative practitioners, academics, industrial design houses, makerspaces and technology hubs in Xi’an and Chengdu, and explores how the UK maker culture could meaningfully engage with them. Participants collaborate with local makers and academics to gain a deeper understanding of the maker sector in each city.
Living Research 2015
In 2015 the British Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council developed the Living Research programme, sending five UK makers and four UK academics to Shenzhen and Shanghai. By visiting, interviewing, and co-creating with organisations prominent in the Chinese maker movement, the group was able to gain a deeper understanding of the differences between making in the UK and China. This project was marked by a blog series, dissemination events and fed into the development of the maker residency programme Hello Shenzhen in collaboration with Liz Corbin of the Institute of Making (UCL).
Living Research 2018
The previous programmes uncovered the need for further collaborative, immersive and hands-on research in this area of the Chinese creative economy. For this new cycle the programme aims to expand the scope of the research and explore maker practices in cities with different development models and craft heritage.
The eight Living Research delegates start their research in Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province located in the southwest of China. Chengdu with a population of over 14 million, is China's fourth largest city and host to a vibrant creative industry of artists, designers, technologists and makers. The delegates then spend the second week investigating the maker communities in Xi’an. Xi’an is the largest city in northwest China and was once the country’s capital. It has a rich cultural heritage, a growing maker scene and is host to a large scale maker fair event.
Through cross-disciplinary research in Xi’an and Chengdu, the Living Research delegates produce a series of outputs that will include blogs, photos, videos as well as a map. This map, shared as open data, highlights the relationships between the key actors and organisations engaged in the maker sector.
Meet the eight delegates selected for the Living Research programme
Discover in our slideshow a summary of their week in Chengdu
Explore the local maker ecosystem in Chengdu
The Living Research: Making in China programme is a partnership between the British Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
In China, the British Council has partnered with MakerNet to co-develop the project in Chengdu and Xi'an.