German luxury carmaker BMW said it upgraded its just-concluded BMW China Culture Journey this year - an annually-held national event swinging through the country, exploring traditional Chinese culture and promoting the safeguarding and development of intangible cultural heritage.
The innovation program's finale event, the BMW China Culture Journey Festival, successfully opened to the public free of charge in Beijing from Nov 10 to 12.
BMW said the three-day finale was transformed into a series of interactive experience events instead of a static exhibition, with the aim to better nurture, rejuvenate and promote the nation's cultural intangible heritage.
"Based on our vision of 'In China, for China', BMW has demonstrated a continuous commitment to safeguarding and promoting Chinese traditional culture," said Johann Wieland, president and CEO of BMW Brilliance Automotive Co Ltd, at the gala night of the festival. A grand graduation ceremony for 10 inheritors was also held at the gala night. They were recommended by the Hunan Provincial Center of Intangible Cultural Heritage Safeguarding and Tsinghua BMW Innovation Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage Safeguarding during 2017 BMW China Culture Journey's 10-day visit to Hunan province from the end of July to early August. The 10 intangible cultural heritage inheritors completed their studies at the center.
Subsequently, along with the other inheritors from the innovation center, they displayed and sold their unique and creative works at the finale festival.
This year, BMW China Culture Journey invited Summer Jike, Sara Yun, Heymy and Gao Yiqiang - professionals with a reputation in pop music, fashion, gourmet food and handicrafts - as Intangible Cultural Heritage Crossover Creative Ambassadors.
Together with inheritors with innovation potential and needs, they presented their crossover creative works at the gala night of the festival.
"The achievements of the BMW China Culture Journey in recent years have fully embodied our strategic corporate social responsibility philosophy that 'teaching a man how to fish is better than giving him a fish'," said Wieland.
BMW China Culture Journey is now entering its 11th consecutive year and has upgraded "sustainable public platforms" geared to concentrate social resources and integrate intangible cultural heritage into modern life.
Wieland said: "At BMW, we always seek to discover insights from social issues. These help us to develop targets, from which we can explore innovative implementation methods."
Since 2015, in accordance with the concept of "integrating intangible cultural heritage into modern life", as advocated by the Ministry of Culture, BMW China Culture Journey has continued to explore innovative models of intangible cultural heritage protection. The company said that its target is achieved with two approaches: innovative communications to promote intangible cultural heritage and innovative methods to promote the use and consumption of intangible cultural heritage works. BMW China Culture Journey, in collaboration with the well-known travel website Mafengwo, continues to explore the crossover of intangible cultural heritage and tourism, and therefore launched the second series of intangible cultural heritage-themed travel tips. The BMW China Culture Journey Hunan Intangible Cultural Heritage Tour Guide, now available on the website and Mafengwo's mobile app, encourages young people to visit Hunan and experience the great charm of intangible cultural heritage up close.
In August, BMW China Culture Journey initiated the Intangible Cultural Heritage Crossover Incubation Program. After more than three months' incubation, the program has achieved several spectacular results.
The ambassadors and inheritors were invited to present their crossover works, including pop songs, gourmet food, handicrafts and fashion shows, at the gala night of the festival.
One of them is a piece of crossover music fused with Hunan intangible cultural heritage elements. Chinese ethnic singer Summer Jike, or Jike Junyi, together with inheritors of music from the Miao ethnic group, called Miao Geteng, developed the first-ever crossover pop song, which blends elements of Hunan's intangible cultural heritage.
Another result is a series of crossover handicraft works featuring core intangible cultural heritage techniques. BMW car owner representative Gao Yiqiang and inheritors used traditional craftsmanship such as Tantou handmade papermaking to design utensils for daily life, including tableware, hollowed light holders and vases.
Elsewhere, crossover women's fashion featured Hunan's intangible cultural heritage traditions: ambassador Sara Yun drew her inspiration from Hunan embroidery, Dabujiang embroidered patchworks, Taoyuan embroidery and Miao silver accessories, to design what she calls SaraYun-Treasure. These desirable creations, featuring strong cultural traditions in an avant-garde style, aim to illustrate the aesthetic charm of traditional Chinese culture to young people.
A set of crossover gourmet specialties integrate features of Hunan's intangible cultural heritage. Ambassador Heymy adopted elements of local Hunan cuisine to present "a bite of intangible cultural heritage". Subsequently, this series of crossover gourmet dishes featured on the menus of Cherchez 10 Restaurant in Beijing and the Joy Cafe at BMW Experience Shanghai in the city's Pudong New Area, providing more opportunities for people to taste innovative crossover cuisine.
Such designs showcased the concept of "integrating intangible cultural heritage into modern life" at the Creative Lifestyle Showrooms during the festival.
The luxury carmaker said that 2017 BMW China Culture Journey Festival invited intangible cultural heritage inheritors from around China to showcase and promote creative products. These featured the beauty of intangible cultural heritage, through a handicraft bazaar, interactive experiences and a range of other exciting formats for public engagement.
"In the future, BMW will continue to work in an innovative, efficient and sustainable way to safeguard and promote Chinese traditional culture and create more shared values for Chinese society," Wieland said.