It was another day filled with celebrations, music, champagne, and smiles on campus as graduation continues. While we would like to say congratulations to all our graduates, we dedicate this special post to two students –
On Friday 1st July, Isabella (苏蔓伊) and Caleb (白威凯), two students from Queen’s Management School on International Business with Mandarin Chinese degree pathways, rejoiced with their families and their teacher Dr Liang WANG to cheer for their successful graduation from Queen’s.
They are the first cohort of graduates following this pathway at Queen’s and they deserve the great efforts after spending 3 years of study plus one year work placement. Congratulations!
We would like to send our very best wishes for their future and hope that they learn from what they have experienced for the preparation for what they aim to achieve.
For any students who are interested in our International Business with Mandarin Chinese programme, please visit the course page.
As the summer solstice (夏至 xiàzhì, lit. the arrival of the summer) approaches soon on 21st June, regardless of the real temperature, we would like to introduce to you a sport that suits the season – underwater hockey through the eyes of XIA Xiaoxuan (夏霄璇), a Queen’s PhD candidate and Belfast Underwater Hockey (UWH) member.
What is underwater hockey Underwater hockey (水下曲棍球 shuǐxià qūgùnqiú) is a fun, fast-paced, three-dimensional game played at the bottom of a 2.5-metre-deep pool. Two teams of six players in the water and four subs (替补队员 tìbǔ duìyuán) face off against each other. Players wear 1) a snorkel (呼吸管 hūxīguǎn), 2) a headgear (泳帽 yǒngmào), 3) a mask (面罩 miànzhào), 4) fins (脚蹼 jiǎopǔ), and 7) a protective glove (防护手套 fánghù shǒutào). They score goals with 5) a stick (球棍 qiúgùn) to hit 6) a puck (冰球 bīngqiú) by using skill, freediving (自由潜水 zìyóu qiánshuǐ), manoeuvrability and holding their breath.
The sport first appeared in England in 1954, when Alan Blake invented a game he called Octopush. Blake used the game to keep Southsea Sub-Aqua Club members active during winter when open-water diving lost its appeal. Since then, it has expanded globally.
An accidental engagement
An accidental opportunity, I started playing underwater hockey in the summer time in 2019. When I finished my swimming, I noticed some people in the diving pool practicing freediving, which I had always wanted to learn. So I had a quick chat with them about their next training time and my willingness to join in. When I came to the ‘freediving’ training, I noticed it was so much more than just freediving – they were holding short sticks at the bottom of the pool and fighting each other to get a puck into the goal.
‘Well, I just came here to learn freediving. Once I touch the bottom, I’ll definitely quit.’ I told my coach, a player in the QUB UWH team.
At my third training session, I finally touched the bottom of the pool and could control my breath well. My teammates warmly congratulated me and encouraged me to join in the game just for fun and promised that they would be kind to me.
‘This will be my last training anyway, and this game might be my last UWH game.’ I thought and joined in. However, I changed my mind when I touched the puck set in the centre at the bottom of the pool. I wanted to play this game! When I pushed the puck into the goal, I confirmed my decision about playing the UWH in the future!
I have been trained in the team over the past few years and played with different teams in different pools. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to join in the Women’s Nationals 2022, an underwater hockey competition held in Leeds, as a member of the Irish Women’s Team.
The fun factors of playing UWH
There are good reasons why I’m now so fond of (非常喜欢 fēicháng xǐhuan; 乐此不疲 lè cǐ bù pí) playing underwater hockey. I like the quiet but tacit cooperation between team members (团队成员 tuánduì chéngyuán). It helps me to keep up my training to hone my skills as well as reach my own individual fitness goals (健身目标 jiànshēn mùbiāo) better. When I play the UWH, the only two things I care about are my breath and the puck, which help me to copy with stress.
My skills improved during this time, and more importantly, I met lots of lovely people of all ages, from all over the world who are passionate about UWH too. Some have played UWH since their youth for over twenty years and kept up excellent levels of fitness and skills. Some of them met each other through UWH training and eventually got married and had a baby. Some of them encouraged their family members to join in the sport – now, a father might not possess the puck all the time due to the solid defence and strong attack from his daughters!
Thanks to my accidental encounter with it, I have really been in love with underwater hockey as an excellent and attractive sport to enrich my life experience while doing my PhD study. I definitely recommend it to you all and beginners are always welcome!
Belfast Underwater Hockey Club at Queen’s
“Belfast UWH was first established in 2014 and since then we have grown into a diverse club with members from all over the world, various ages and skill levels. We represent Queens University Belfast at numerous tournaments throughout the year including Student Nationals, Irish League games and International tournaments where everyone is welcome on the team regardless of skill level.“
The Dragon Boat Festival, or Duanwu Festival (端午节 Duānwǔ jié), is a traditional Chinese festival with a history of over 2000 years. It occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month in Chinese lunar calendar, which falls on Friday 3rd June this year.
Duanwu Festival is widely known as Dragon Boat Festival (龙舟节 Lóngzhōu jié) to the rest of the world, as one of its celebrative events – dragon boat racing – has become so popular (受欢迎 shòu huānyíng) in the world.
Today, we would like to invite Dr YAO Xudan (姚旭丹) to introduce dragon boat racing and share with us her interesting experiences of joining in races when she was in Belfast and more recently in Manchester.
YAO Xudan (姚旭丹) studied her PhD in Queen’s University Belfast from 2014 to 2018. Afterwards, she joined the National Graphene Institute, University of Manchester, as a postdoctoral research associate. Currently, she is continuing her research in Queen Mary College, University of London.
Dragon Boat Racing in Belfast
When I was doing my PhD at Queen’s, I joined dragon boat racing as a paddler twice in 2015 and 2016, as a member of Team QUB, which were organised by Chinese Welfare Association NI. People from different professional backgrounds, including universities, associations, boat clubs, etc., signed up for the events with full enthusiasm. Chinese food was prepared and supplied to all participants. Although we did not win in the end, everyone enjoyed the teamwork spirit (团队精神 tuánduì jīngshén) during racing, despite the bad weather. My colleagues from Spain and India were so excited that they wanted very much to follow up celebrations as such in the future. I believe that our traditional culture (传统文化 chuántǒng wénhuà) could be shared and accepted widely in this engaging way.
Dragon Boat Racing in Manchester
On 29th May 2022, the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival was held in Manchester, with 36 teams from universities, companies and institutions participating in the competition. With my previous experience of Belfast races I joined one of the University of Manchester teams, which was formed by all girls. The morning was a bit wet but fortunately it became sunny during the race. Again, although we could not enter into the final competition (决赛 juésài), we were satisfied with our great team performance and enjoyed ourselves. Apart from the racing, the festival also included Chinese kung fu performance (功夫表演 gōngfu biǎoyǎn), singing (唱歌 chànggē), dancing (跳舞 tiàowǔ) and tasting (品尝 pǐncháng) traditional Chinese food such as zongzi (粽子 zòngzi), baozi (包子 bāozi), marinated eggs (卤蛋 lǔdàn), making it an exciting and fun experience.
Overall, dragon boat racing is really one of the wonderful occasions for people to get together and celebrate our traditional festival, as well as to enhance intercultural communication and understanding between people of different communities.
About dragon boatracing
Dragon boats are human-powered watercrafts originally made of wood, and in modern times upgraded into carbon or glass fibre composites, as well as other lightweight materials. They are universally decorated with a Chinese dragon head and tail. For racing, a standard dragon boat typically consists of 20 paddlers, one drummer facing toward the paddlers, and one steerer. However, there are also small boats with a capacity of 10 paddlers.
Author: YAO Xudan Editors: Martin Duffy and WANG Liang
Have you joined any boat racing events before? You are very welcome to share your experience by using the comment box below.
More to read
Here are posts about our past celebrations of Dragon Boat Festival, if you are interested in getting to know more about our celebrations at Queen’s.
After a 3 year absence the 16th annual Queen’s University Belfast Boat Race will take place next month, with Queen’s men and women rowers taking on Trinity College Dublin on Saturday 11 June 2022. As well as the main event there will also be junior races involving local schools racing over the 2km course.
Whilst it is a regret that the Great Wall of China Marathon (22/05/2022) has to be cancelled at the last minute due to Covid19 pandemic and regional lockdowns in China, we would like to bring your memory back to our local Belfast City Marathon (马拉松 Mǎlāsōng) taking place on the 1st May, through the eyes of XIE Pingping (谢萍萍), a PhD candidate in Education from School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work.
After XIE Pingping obtained her master degree in TESOL from School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, she has successfully become a PhD candidate. She has also been an International Student Ambassador since her enrolment.
My unforgettable Belfast City Marathon experience
On 1st May 2022, I completed my first ever marathon in Belfast. Although I reached the finishing line at 14:55, only five minutes before the closing time, I was still so proud of myself with such a wonderful experience!
I registered for the event six months ago, just after a taster session (体验课 tǐyànkè) for the Marathon in 2021, which consisted of an eight-mile walk programme on the marathon day. It was a great experience, so I decided to take on a bit more of challenge. Unfortunately, there was no half (半程 bànchéng) marathon in May, so I had to run the full (全程 quánchéng) marathon.
I found a training plan (训练计划 xùnliàn jìhuà) online and tried my best to stick to it, although it was not easy to follow the plan. During the training period, I ran along the River Lagan towpath (蓝亘河纤道 Lángènhé qiāndào) and really enjoyed myself at a very slow and comfortable pace. I also joined the 10-week Couch to 5k Programme at Queen’s Sport, where I met some other runners from Queen’s and I treated it as the speed run (快速跑 kuàisù pǎo) part of my training because apparently everybody else ran faster than I did!
On the day
After about six months’ exercise, I finally arrived at the start line, ready for the marathon, amongst thousands of other fellow runners. It was cloudy with drizzle, but I would say that it was a perfect day for running. I knew that it was my big day, but to be honest, I was not too sure whether I could finish the whole race. In fact, I did some homework in advance and decided on my quitting point at a First Aid (救护站 jiùhù zhàn) point about 30k away from the starting point, as some trainers suggested.
After we kicked start, I felt that I ran super slowly and when I reached the quitting point, I was rather disappointed to find out that there was no food or water supplement at that point. I said to myself that it would be too stupid to wait there, plus I felt quite able to move on, so I gathered my strength to keep running.
The whole journey was full of craic! For example, I met a runner carrying a guitar – probably carrying it the whole way as I guessed! Full of compassion, he often sang lines of lyrics in response to the people on both sides cheering for him! I also saw a lady running without training shoes. I did not know why, but I believed that she was running for charity, really a brave woman! Some churches even had their own music band and played live music on the street to cheer on the runners.
An unforgettable day
It has been such a pleasant race that I will never forget! All the people I met on my way were so nice and friendly. I am glad that I did not give up half way, as it is such a great memory when I recall those lovely children cheering with their parents and grandparents, holding bowls and plates, kindly giving fruit and sweets to runners, and their cheering up for us, ‘Keep going (继续加油 jìxù jiāyóu), you are almost there!’ I have never felt as full of gratitude as I did that day.
Thank you, Belfast Marathon, for such an unforgettable day!
Happy International Museum Day! 国际博物馆日快乐 (Guójì Bówùguǎn Rì kuàilè)!
Falling on 18th May since 1977, the International Museum Day has been a unique occasion for the global communities of museum goers and professionals to celebrate. This year’s theme of celebration is ‘The Power of Museums’.
The objective of International Museum Day (IMD) is to raise awareness about the fact that, “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.”
What does it mean by ‘The Power of Museums’ to you? How would it be possible that we, as visitors, can be empowered by museums? Today, we are delighted to invite WANG Xi (王曦), who specialises in museum with technologies for enhancing accessibility and just passed her PhD viva successfully, to explain her understanding of empowering visitors of special need through enhancing technological design in her project for the Titanic Museum (泰坦尼克博物馆 Tàitǎnníkè Bówùguǎn).
WANG Xi has been working at Queen’s University Belfast as a Marie-Curie Early Stage Researcher since 2018 and completed her PhD in Translation Studies at the School of Arts, English and Languages in May 2022. Her research interests are in museum accessibility. She currently works with world leading tourist attraction Titanic Belfast and RNIB to investigate novel access options that employ new technologies to improve accessibility and visitor experience for blind and partially sighted visitors.
Research project: Investigating Technologies to Enrich Museum Audio Description for Enhancing Accessibility
Museums are typically dominated by visual experiences. This means that people who are blind or partially sighted (BPS) tend to be excluded from several aspects of the visitor experience, including emotional engagement. The purpose of this practice-led research project was to explore ways in which smart software-enabled technologies could be used to enrich audio description (AD) and to enhance accessibility and visitor experience for BPS visitors. Working with Titanic Belfast and RNIB NI, I pioneered three approaches that combine a commitment to low-cost accessibility solutions and emotionally engaged visitor experience.
This project first presented a study of BPS visitor experience in Titanic Belfast, and applied for the first time existing models of visitor experience in the context of accessibility.
Next, based on the feedback from this study, I developed and evaluated a new approach to accessibility which used a multisensory smart map to present a journey-based story of Titanic’s maiden voyage. The smart map used readily available materials and affordable technologies, such as Raspberry-Pi. It also used software-controlled multi-function buttons to enable BPS users to autonomously select the desired AD and level of detail.
Finally, I proposed a major extension to the standard passive audio descriptive device by developing an interactive voice-driven museum audio descriptive guide for Titanic Belfast (TBot), with built-in navigation instructions and a free format Question and Answer facility. This TBot uses text-to-speech technology to generate AD from a textual knowledge base, speech recognition for input, to voice-activate the device; and a design platform that easily enables museum staff to produce, update and customise the chatbot.
Thanks to the funding from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral Training Programme, I was able to run the 4-year-long project to investigate, develop and test innovative access options for BPS visitors, using new technologies within diverse museum environments. It has contributed several methods to enrich AD for enhancing museum accessibility and visitor experience for BPS visitors both theoretically and practically.
Various parts of the world choose different dates for World Baking Day, e.g., the two most common dates are the 15th or 17th of May. For baking lovers what matters the date is less relevant than the opportunity for baking lovers to please themselves and their family, friends and neighbours.
Today, we invite Xiuying DENG (also see Eggcellent Easter) to share with us her experience of baking a Basque cheesecake, which is a type of cheesecake with a strong burnished flavour. The Basque cheesecake is baked until the outside of the cake is charred. It is named after the region’s name, the Basque in Spain.
As a foodie with sweet tooth, I tried to learn to bake Basque cake quite a while ago. The first attempt was so successful and the entire process didn’t take much time. I really found it enjoyable and full of confidence for the next one.
– Xiuying deng
Well, here is the way of how to make a Basque cheesecake with only a few required ingredients. At a grocery store or supermarket, one can easily find and buy the following items:
granulated sugar (白砂糖 bái shā táng)
Greek style yogurt (希腊酸奶 Xīlà suānnǎi)
fresh whipping cream (新鲜淡奶油 xīnxiān dàn nǎiyóu)
cornflour (玉米淀粉 yùmǐ diànfěn)
cream cheese (奶油奶酪 nǎiyóu nǎilào)
eggs (蛋 dàn)
Required ingredients: cream cheese 250g, fresh whipping cream 150g, yogurt 200g, two eggs, sugar 55g and cornflour 10g.
When all these items are ready, just get started. The following is the process of making a Basque cheesecake. Let’s go –
Step 1: Add cream cheese, yogurt and two eggs in a bowl and stir them well.
Step 2: After stirring evenly, add some sugar and cornflour in the same bowl.
Step 3: Pour the mixed paste into the mold, and put it into the preheated oven (turn the oven to 180 degrees and bake for 20 minutes; then turn it up to 200 degrees, bake for another 10 minutes.)
Step 4: Cool the baked cake and put it in the fridge for 4 hours.
Step 5: Use your creative mind to decorate it.
The above is the process of making Basque cake. Finally, remember to take nice photos of the presentation so that you can have your cake and eat it. I hope you all can manage to create delicious cakes!
Author: Xiuying DENG, MA candidate in Marketing, Queen’s Management School Editor: Martin Duffy, MA candidate in Irish Studies with a focus on Public History at the Institute of Irish Studies, Queen’s University Belfast.
Whilst May-June is a busy and bustling season with exams and essay deadlines, it is also fleshed out with more exciting events such as the Development Weeks programme and the Chinese Cinema Season.
Today, we are delighted to introduce you to a student-led event from the Queen’s Sport Active Campus programme – Introduction to Chinese Kung Fu – to help relax your body and refresh your mind while combating the heavy workload.
Kungfu (功夫 gōngfū), or Wushu (武术 wǔshù), is an ancient form of Chinese martial arts, as well as a full-contact sport. It started off just as a warmup for military exercises and became a military subject in earlier days. In contemporary times it is seen as a way of self-defence and physical fitness, and it has been officially recognised as an international sport.
From 15th May to 5th June, these four Sunday sessions are provided free for QUB staff, students and wider public members to get a taste of the charm of Chinese martial arts and to appreciate its artistic performance with diversified functions that are handy for all to learn to practise. The taster sessions also aim to help people to demystify Chinese martial arts culture through exercising their mental and physical reaction abilities.
Registration is now open and you are required to secure a place due to capacity.
SHUAI Qi (帅琪), MSc candidate in Management from Queen’s University Management School
Born and brought up in a family of Chinese Wushu tradition
Champions of Wushu competitions at different levels
Registered national athlete
Rich experience in coaching at various levels both in China and elsewhere
I took the Chinese Kungfu Champion of Jiangxi province in 2016. Born and brought up in a family of Wushu tradition, I have started practising martial arts under my father’s supervision when I was five years old. I began to teach martial arts in a local kindergarten when I attended a middle school. Then I founded my first martial arts club in my high school. When I went to my university I taught some international students Chinese martial arts.
I enjoy making friends through sharing the culture of martial arts, and I also hope that I can promote Chinese martial arts among my international friends at Queen’s.
If you would like to receive updates about this event, you may follow Qi’s Instagram account:
Hooray! The biggest film festival for Chinese cinema of the year in Europe has landed in the UK, with a rich programme of films and events starting from 10th May until 10th June!
According to the UK-China Film Collab (英中电影合作研发中心), the presenter of Odyssey: a Chinese cinema season –
From 10th May to 10th June 2022, with more than 60 films in 8 curated sections, 10 panel discussions and many inspiring Q&A sessions, we will bring you a whole month of outstanding and innovative Chinese cinema that promises to illuminate your mind. The festival will not only introduce the latest young Chinese film talents to the UK audience, but also provide forums for professionals to exchange creativity and business ideas.
While many of the events will take place in London and Edinburgh, there are a good many online events and films that one can choose to attend, some of which are free. Below are the highlights for local Chinese community and fans of Chinese films in Northern Ireland.
Neo Horizon: The Audience Award
As audience, you are invited to view the six selected films for free and vote for the Audience Award, starting from 10th May. Don’t miss out!
Shanghai Animation Film Studio Retro
This is a great opportunity to enjoy some classic Chinese animated films of different eras and art styles while learning about the history of Chinese animation.
During the month-long China Cinema Season, there will also be ten online discussion panels, exploring aspects of UK-China film collaboration and other topics such as regional cinemas and the role of female film programmers in China.
Welcome to join us in a unique traditional music tour between Chinese and Irish music
Following the success of the joint Celtic-Chinese performance for the Chinese New Year celebration organised by the Language Centre and BAME & International Staff Network, we are delighted to run a showcase of Chinese and Irish performance for all Queen’s staff, students and the general public, as part of the Development Week Programme at Queen’s.
This showcase and recital will introduce two popular Chinese traditional instruments, Dizi (笛子 dízi) and Guzheng (古筝 gǔzhēng) focusing on the playing techniques, in comparison with the local Irish harp (竖琴 shùqín) and flute (长笛 chángdí) playing practice. We will talk about the historical, social and regional styles and invite the audience to join the discussion, hand-on practice and the playing session.
Traditional music plays a very important role in people’s life in Ireland. Local people in Northern Ireland not only appreciate their own music, but also the diverse music from a wide range of different cultures, including the Chinese community. Chinese traditional music has been under revival since the early 20th century with a second boom from the 1970s onward.