Workshops at the Central Academy of Fine Arts and Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology

Photographer: Weng Shijie

The Prince’s School is in Beijing this November and December, with our expert team teaching at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) and Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT) for the second year in a row. Participants in these workshops engage with traditional design principles through the rich heritage of China’s visual arts.

Our CAFA workshop, “The Language of Traditional Arts”, is an elective class which has attracted 21 students from several different departments including: Jewellery Design, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, and Public Arts. Inspired by the Order of Nature, students study pattern symmetries and proportions reflected in the cultural heritage of Chinese art and design in architectural and decorative crafts contexts. The resulting portfolios of work and design projects are reviewed and marked according to the criteria of the institutions.

Students also study at the Palace Museum, where they make detailed analytical drawings based on the principles they have been learning in the PSTA course. This field trip brings together a study of content, form, symbolism of architectural space, and decorative principles – both in situ and in the Palace Museum’s extensive collection.

At BIFT, PSTA is conducting two 5-day workshops for Fashion Design students in their Traditional Costume Department. BIFT’s magnificent collection at their Ethnic Museum serves as the focal point for an inspirational investigation of the principles of traditional arts. Participants included many returning students from last year’s workshops, with a total 28 BA, 14 MA, and 4 teachers joining the two workshops.

PSTA graduate, Ran Li (also a CAFA graduate), assisted PSTA senior tutor Ramiz Sabbagh in these workshops, teaching sessions exploring Chinese influence on Turkish biomorphic design via the Silk Road.

The leadership of both universities are very supportive of this project. The PSTA team is pleased at students’ enthusiastic response to the workshops. The Prince’s School looks forward to developing and maturing our collaborations with both institutions, with additional activities planned throughout this academic year. Through these partnerships, we seek to jointly nurture and regenerate the interest of a younger generation of Chinese artists and designers in the traditional arts of China.