Belfast Marathon and I

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!

Screenshot of XIE Pingping’s record on the Belfast City Marathon


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!

More of her photos can be seen from the Belfast City Marathon webpage.

Author: XIE Pingping
Editors: Lauren McShane and WANG Liang

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International Museum 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.”

International Council Of Museums

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.

Titanic Museum, Belfast | Image@XiWang

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.

Visitors touching the carpets | Image@XiWang

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.

Touching A Smart Map | Image@XiWang

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.

Author: WANG Xi
Editor: Martin Duffy

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World Baking Day

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.

Chinese Kung Fu at Queen’s

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.

May be an image of 1 person and text that says "QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY BELFAST QUEEN'S SPORT INTRODUCTIONT CHINESE KUNG FU Open to all levels! 4 WEEK COURSE Sunday 15TH May June TIME: 2-3pm LOCATION: Minor Hall Sign up through the Queen's Sport App or MS Forms."
Queen’s Sport FB

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.

About the coach

  • 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.

Shuai, qi

If you would like to receive updates about this event, you may follow Qi’s Instagram account:

Chinese Cinema Season

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!

UK-China Film Collab

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.

Click for details.

Discussion Panels

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.

Click Discussion Panels for details.

Hope you all will enjoy a fantastic season of Odyssey journey with Chinese films!

Chinese and Irish Traditional Music – The Language of The Sound

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.

Zexuan QIAO and Wei DENG performing for the CNY celebration recording at the Great Hall. Images@LiangWANG

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.

Date: Saturday 28 May 2022
Time: 2 – 4 pm
Venue: Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC), Cloreen Park, Belfast BT9 5HN
Full details and registration