A Moral Question, A Moral Duty: SACU ChinaChat with Iris Yau, Friday 25 June 2021

SACU ChinaChat meeting for members:  “A Moral Question, A Moral Duty” – Behind the scenes with SACU member Iris Yau, Curator of the recent exhibition “Opium, Silk and the Missionaries in China” held May – June at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS.

The Exhibition: “Opium, Silk and the Missionaries in China” retold one of the largely forgotten histories of the relationship between Britain and China in the 19th Century. It drew on several collections, using artefacts to explore the history of the Opium Wars. Botanical arts and tools, historical artefacts about silk, missionary work and intercultural shared experiences in China recorded by British Missionaries throughout this period were all used in this fascinating exhibition:

SACU member Iris Yau, Fellow Royal Society of Arts (RSA), Higher Education Academy UK (Advance HE), and Curator, gave an informal online talk on this exhibition to SACU members. We heard about the behind the scenes work involved in assembling the exhibition with artefacts contributed by several partners. The discussion that followed Iris’s talk focused on the Opium Wars and their legacy in both China and the UK. Members commented on how little is known or taught about these wars in schools here. Iris’s question being, Do we have a moral duty to re-examine this inglorious episode in British history?

SACU members visit the exhibition with Iris Yau, 14 June 2021

See a video tour by exhibition curator Iris Yau of ‘Opium, Silk and the Missionaries in China’, at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS here