forthcoming events


2011 Events

Flamboyant Mr Chinnery (1774-1852)
An English Artist in India and ChinaThursday

Asia House - Thursday, 24 November

Exclusive guided tour by Dr Patrick Conner, curator of exhibition of paintings of China and lecture: China before Chinnery by Dr Frances Wood


Venue: Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London WC1 7LP
Time: Convene at Asia House at 5.45 pm, Thursday 24th Nov. Guided tour of exhibition commences at 6 pm. Lecture begins at 6.45 pm
Nearest tube: Oxford Circus

George Chinnery is one of the most neglected British artists in his native country. Whilst there have been substantial exhibitions of his work in Lisbon (1995), Tokyo (1996), Hong Kong (2005) and recently in Macau (2010), there has been no public exhibition in Britain since the Arts Council show in 1957, and prior to that a retrospective at the Tate in 1932. This is the first loan exhibition of Chinnery's work in Britain for over 50 years

Chinnery spent the last fifty years of his life in India and on the China coast, where he died and lies buried, and almost all his best work was done in the East. In Calcutta, Canton and Macau he became something of an exotic creature himself – exuberant, droll, unpredictable, a man who relished his status as the oldest of old hands on the China coast.

At his best Chinnery was a splendid artist. For a living he painted portraits of swaggering lieutenants, hoary governors and their beribboned wives, American sea-captains, and Chinese and Parsi merchants.He immersed himself in these Asian cultures and his drawings and watercolours of local people and their daily activities are regarded by many as his most compelling work: crowded market scenes, fishermen landing on the beach, blacksmiths working at their bellows, gamblers playing in the street, boat-people making makeshift shelters, junks at anchor on a calm evening.

The exhibition comprises some 100 works showing Chinnery's range, from oils and watercolours to landscapes and portraits – with a special emphasis on his vivid and deceptively simple watercolours, and his fluent drawings of the people going about their everyday lives.

China before Chinnery - Lecture by Dr Frances Wood

Chinnery was the first serious British artist to live and work in China. Dr Wood will explore earlier depictions of China including illustrations produced in Europe from books written by 17th century Jesuits, sketches by William Alexander, a brilliant young artist attached to the British Embassy to China(1792-4), and 19th century 'export paintings'produced in Canton for East India Company men.

Dr Frances Wood is Head of the Chinese Section at the British Library and author of numerous successful books on China including The Forbidden City, The First Emperor of China, China's First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors and The Diamond Sutra: The Story of the World's Earliest Dated Printed Book.

Wednesday, 7th December 2011 at New Loon Fung Restaurant


This is always a popular event since it provides food for thought as well as food for the stomach. It should prove to be a convivial evening so we hope you will find time to join us! In previous years, this restaurant has always provided us with a sumptuous Cantonese meal.

This year's debate is based on the views of Prof Amy Chua in her recent book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother", which advocates pushing children to achieve excellence.


A film about you and made by you - BBC nationwide project

Date: 10.30am-2.30pm, Sunday 6th November, 2011
Venue: Room B104, Brunei Gallery, SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
(Light refreshments will be served.)


On Saturday 12th November 2011, the BBC is inviting people around Britain to take part in an historic film project called BRITAIN IN A DAY and help build a self-portrait of the nation. The idea is inspired by Life in a Day, Ridley Scott's highly acclaimed documentary featuring stories from all corners of the world.

For BRITAIN IN A DAY, participants are being asked to film stories about themselves using simple cameras or mobile phones and to upload them on YouTube. A selection of the best stories will be edited by Scott Free Productions into a feature-length documentary to be screened in cinemas and on BBC Two in Spring 2012 as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

Free workshops are being run by Rosa Productions around the country to encourage people to take part. Led by a professional TV trainer, they will:
   -  Provide information on the project;
   -  Discuss story ideas and story-telling methods;
   -  Give tips on basic camera technique

To reflect the diversity of British society today, the BBC want members of the Chinese community to be involved, to make personal films about life, identity, community, work, leisure, etc. A special workshop has been organised in London by The Meridian Society for anyone of Chinese origin.

Individuals and groups of all ages and all walks of life are welcome to take part and no prior knowledge of filming is required. This is a fantastic opportunity to be part of a momentous event and let viewers share your thoughts and experiences.

If you wish to attend this workshop, please email us at themeridiansociety@gmail.com Numbers are limited and places are strictly on a first come, first served basis. So please make sure you book immediately.

For further information on the project, please go to:

Talk and demonstration on Chinese martial arts by Master Desheng Li

Monday, 17 October, 7-9 pm

Room B104, Brunel Gallery, SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

Entry: TMS and SOAS CSSA Members free, non-members £5 donation

Register now:themeridiansociety@gmail.com

Master Desheng Li has been practising Chinese martial arts since he was eight years old, being brought up in a family with a strong tradition of practising martial arts. Apart from developing his own family style to a more sophisticated style called Nan Hai Style (South Sea Style),he has also learned various styles of martial arts, including Wing Chun, Choi Li Fat, Hong Style, Mantis, etc. In 1971, he established his own martial arts school in Hong Kong 1971 when he was 26 years of age. He then established his second martial arts school in Belgium in 1980 where he has many students. He has studied widely Chinese classical philosophy which has enabled him to practise and teach martial arts beyond the physical level. During the talk, Master Li will discuss the philosophy of martial arts, share his insight and answer questions from the audience. He will also give a demonstration on martial arts and self-defence. li

Day trip to Herons Bonsai in Newchapel, Surrey
Sunday 4th September 2011

This is a seven and half acre nursery owned by Peter Chan who is a multiple gold medallist at the Chelsea Flower Show. He has kindly agreed to open the New Pavilion exclusively to The Meridian Society on this day to assist our fundraising efforts, and has also agreed to give a talk and demonstration. We have arranged a programme of events that should appeal to all, not only to gardeners or lovers of bonsai. This should prove to be an enjoyable excursion and day out for all the family. We hope you will come and join us.




Dr Kerry Brown will be giving a talk on grassroots democracy, local elections and popular accountability in China today.

Date: Friday 1st July 2011
Speaker: Dr Kerry BrownTime: 6:30pm-8pm
Venue: Room V122, Vernon Square, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Vernon Square Campus, Penton Rise, London, WC1X 9EW
Click here for Google Map Direction
(Please note: venue is at branch campus, not the main campus at Russell Square)
Transport: The nearest tube station is King's Cross
Ticket: Meridian Society & SACU Members: free, non-members £5 donation, pay at door


Dr Kerry Brown is Head of the Asia Programme at Chatham House.

Previous publications include: Friends and Enemies: The Past, Present and Future in China (2009).
Struggling Giant: China in the 21st Century (2007).

He leads the Europe China Research and Advise Network (ECRAN), a 3-year project started in January, 2011.

Kerry is Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS.

He was previously in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, working in the China section in London, and as First Secretary at the British Embassy in Beijing, 2000 to 2003.

Kerry studied at Leeds University, Cambridge University, SOAS and in Inner Mongolia.

This Lecture is a joint events hosted by SOAS Chinese Scolar and Student Society (CSSA) and The Meridian


Time: Wednesday 29th June 2011 at 6.00 p.m. Members are requested to assemble at 5.50 p.m.
Assembling point: Entrance foyer of The Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, London W.C.1.


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