BMW China Culture Journey charts innovative course

Source:China Daily
Updated:2017-08-10 10:26:44

  Where is Xiangxi? If you look at a map, you will see it is located in the west of Hunan province in central China. However, if you go there, you get a different answer from local residents, who will tell you of Xiangxi's important position in contemporary Chinese culture.

  As local professor Tian Maojun told a group of visiting experts, designers, BMW car owners and journalists last week, Xiangxi is embodied "in books of Shen Congwen, paintings of Huang Yongyu, and songs of Song Zuying". Shen is a famous author, Huang is a master painter and Song is a folk diva. All of the three were born in the region.

BMW China Culture Journey charts innovative course

That Xiangxi nurtured such talents is not surprising given its rich traditional cultures. The participants in the BMW China Culture Journey were fascinated by the traditional drum beating, dances, songs, painting, embroideries and silver jewelry craftsmanship of the local Miao and Tujia people. The Maogusi Dance, for example, performed by a dozen Tujia men in straw clothes, passionately recreated a hunt by their ancestors thousands of years ago.

  Xiangxi was their final leg of the 10-day cultural journey to Hunan province, organized by German premium carmaker BMW. During the other legs of the journey, which began on July 26, they also visited the Mausoleum of the Yan Emperor and the Memorial Temple to Qu Yuan (a well-known poet and statesman more than 2,300 years ago), and experienced lots of other folk customs and art forms.

  BMW's annual cultural journey aims to enable more people to know about China's intangible cultural heritage and the efforts being made to protect and promote them.

  This year's journey was the 11th of its kind, and thanks to the joint efforts of the German carmaker's joint venture in China - BMW Brilliance Automotive - and the Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Center of Hunan, it visited more than 40 intangible cultural heritage sites, giving participants an opportunity to witness the province's rich local culture first-hand.

  Upgraded journey

  Last year, the BMW China Culture Journey upgraded its strategy from the charitable model of "giving a man a fish" to the enabling model of "teaching him how to fish", as instead of simply visiting intangible cultural heritage sites it is now building a sustainable public platform for intangible cultural heritage, geared toward involving it in people's everyday life and empowering the inheritors.

  As an iconic initiative within BMW's strategic corporate social responsibility program, the upgrading of the BMW China Culture Journey demonstrates the new direction of BMW's CSR strategy, according to the company.

  Johann Wieland, president and CEO of BMW Brilliance Automotive, said: "From 2017 onwards, we will further integrate intangible cultural heritage into modern life with innovative thinking and practices."

  The German premium auto brand teamed up with Academy of Arts &Design, Tsinghua University in 2016 to establish the Tsinghua BMW Innovation Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage Safeguarding.

  Following the establishment of the innovation center, BMW China Culture Journey has developed innovative methods of communication to promote the safeguarding and the use and consumption of traditional cultural heritage.

  And in March this year, the BMW China Culture Journey invited inheritors to hold workshops and do-it-yourself sessions at its BMW Experience Shanghai center, to demonstrate the charm and appeal of intangible cultural heritage to the public.

  The company also invited inheritors to participate in the BMW Lifestyle Intangible Cultural Heritage Creative Design Competition, in which they were asked to design a series of handcrafted works and conceptual products, drawing inspiration from both intangible cultural heritage and BMW design elements. The creative works were displayed to the public in Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning province and Shanghai. "With innovative approaches to the preservation of China's traditional culture, BMW China Culture Journey is a perfect demonstration of BMW's strategic CSR and commitment to shared development," Wieland said. "We are in China, for China, and we are dedicated to engaging more people to jointly preserve and promote China's traditional culture."

  Inspiring innovations

  This year, the BMW China Culture Journey initiated its first Intangible Cultural Heritage Crossover Incubation Program, featuring intangible cultural heritage inheritors and intangible cultural heritage crossover creative ambassadors to heighten interest in China's intangible cultural heritage among the younger generation.

  The crossover creative ambassadors come from different fields and will cooperate with intangible cultural heritage inheritors to demonstrate the potential to produce innovative crossover artworks together in the following months. "The Intangible Cultural Heritage Crossover Incubation Program follows our belief that the future lies in innovation and sustainable development, which enables intangible cultural heritage inheritors to unleash new potential regarding their capabilities of innovation and creativity," said Olaf Kastner, president and CEO of BMW Group Region China. The works will be displayed at the BMW China Culture Journey Intangible Cultural Heritage Carnival to be held later this year.

BMW China Culture Journey charts innovative course