SACU President - Michael Wood
Michael, who is Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester, is a historian and television documentary maker whose books and programmes on British history, on India and on China have been hugely popular with large audiences over many years. We are thrilled to have so prominent a new President to work actively with us in promoting a better understanding of China.
Indeed, Michael will be hitting the ground running as we are pleased to announce his first two public talks for SACU as its President. In the Spring there will be one on his co-production for CCTV and BBC Du Fu: China’s Greatest Poet which he describes as ‘a road movie in the footsteps of Du Fu’ - the film has readings of the poetry by Sir Ian McKellen. In the Autumn he will be talking about his soon to be published book The Story of China.
Michael has had a full and varied career gathering an enormous amount of expertise and experience over forty years. As a historian broadcaster and film maker he has brought history alive for viewers and readers in Britain, the US and worldwide. He is the author of several highly praised and best-selling books on English history including number one best sellers In Search of the Dark Ages and Domesday, and also The Story of England. He has made 120 documentary films, among them In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great (to date seen in over 150 countries and territories) and The Story of India, which the Wall Street Journal described as ‘still the gold standard’ of documentary history making’. Michael’s Story of England series (BBC) was called by The Independent ‘the most innovative history series ever on TV’. Of His recent Story of China (BBC 2), the state news agency in China, Xinhua, said it had "transcended the barriers of ethnicity and belief and brought something inexplicably powerful and touching to the TV audience”.
Michael’s interest in China began at school with AC Graham’s Poetry of the Late T’ang, was extended at Oxford where he shared a house with a Sinologist and continued with visits to China from the early eighties, first filming there in the late eighties. Since 2013 he has made a dozen visits making films, above all for the six-part Story of China which set out to give the general viewer an introduction to the grand sweep and creative riches of Chinese history. It has since been seen on PBS in America and in many other countries across the world. His feature articles on China and Chinese culture have appeared in The Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Mail and Radio Times. More recently in 2018 he made a series of films on Deng Xiaoping’s Opening Up and Reform 40 years ago, whose promo this year on the TenCent website had 100 million hits in 24 hours. He will continue his links with China with the forthcoming ‘China’s Greatest Poet', a coproduction for CCTV and BBC. His next book project, his first major book in nine years, is The Story of China, due for publication in September 2020.
Currently Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester, Michael has honorary degrees from many UK universities and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Society of Arts and the Society of Antiquaries; He is a recipient of the Historical Association’s Medlicott Medal for ’outstanding services and current contributions to History’ and recently received the British Academy President’s Medal for services to History and outreach. Michael continues to make films with his company Maya Vision with his partner the award-winning producer director Rebecca Dobbs.
The Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding (SACU) was founded in 1965 to promote understanding and friendship between the British and Chinese people.
It is open to all who subscribe to these aims.
SACU’s mission is to promote understanding and advance the education of the UK public in all aspects of China and the Chinese people by:
- providing facts and analysis about China – not uncritically but always from a firm base of friendship
- helping the British people to understand the meaning of China – past and present
- promoting friendship and mutual respect between the peoples of China and the UK
SACU aims to promote understanding:
- to help the UK flourish in a world increasingly influenced by China
- to help overcome misplaced suspicion and increase understanding of China within the UK
- to help members progress their China-related interests and so to help SACU thrive
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