UK-China Song of the Female Textile Workers: past, present and the future



Partners and collaborators

Shanghai Yue Opera House, Shanghai Textile Museum, Leeds Industrial Museum, Megaverse, HUMAN

Postgraduate students

Dr Duncan Leggart, post-doctoral researcher


UK-China Song of the Female Textile Workers: past, present and the future is a one year practice-led research project that aims to collect wider data on UK-China audiences and consumer cultures in response to the AHRC’s call on Understanding the Future of UK-China research and innovation in the creative industries.

The proposed project takes forward a filmed version of the mixed reality performance, Song of the Female Textile Workers (2020-2021), which was produced entirely online in response to Covid-19 travel restrictions, and having it developed as a participant-led XR interactive performance.

The XR performance is designed for audiences across UK and China to interact, engage and share their stories, music and songs on the theme of textile industry heritage culture.

The collected data aims to gain a deeper understanding of a shared audience tastes and best practices to jointly produce cultural products across the UK and China for the shared consumer group.

The knowledge and outputs generated from this project will inform the future UK-China research and innovation in the creative industries and beyond.


As an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary project, this research and its outcomes will benefit academic constituencies across a range of areas and disciplines, including creative industries, audience studies, theatre and performance studies, digital media studies, in/tangible heritage studies, gender studies, Chinese studies and global development.

Within the ceative industries, the research will be of specific interest to those working in IP, creative entrepreneurship, creative city, eco-re-generation and cultural policy.

The creative industries as an academic discipline emerged in the early 2000s in the UK and was adopted by China soon afterwards.

Despite the discipline's rapid rise in Chinese higher education, its theories and practices has little convergence with the discipline developed in the UK.

This project makes a bold attempt in bringing Chinese Studies and Performance Studies to assist theoretical and methodological evolution in the Creative Industries in a global context.

The PI has recently successfully set up a new MA in Global Performance and Cultural Industries at University of Leeds which is the first attempt in the field of creative industries to focus on examining performing arts industry's production and consumption patterns in a global context.

This project will contribute to the wide academic disciplines, as well as the continued discourse evolution in the creative industries across the UK and China.

Another distinctive contribution this project makes is to establish a model and toolbox for UK digital SMEs to ensure a soft landing and sustainable development in Chinese creative industries sectors.

Digital SMEs are central to the UK's creative industries and the digital economy. Yet, their size (small and medium in general) and way of growth (via creativity) means that they are vulnerable to market competition, especially in China, where IP protection and content development rely on healthy collaboration with the local government and arts institutions.

Our last project Song of the Female Textile Workers has successfully embedded a UK digital SME within Shanghai Yue Opera House and has shown positive results as SYOH has initiated negotiation with the University of Leeds legal team on the commercial launch of the performance, focuses on IP and royalty, which will directly benefit the UK digital SMEs.

The proposed project will further test such research and innovation UK-China collaborative models, whilst understand how best to nurture a shared audience across the two nations.

The learned knowledge will be transferred to academic disciplines as well as best industry practices which will contribute to the understanding of the future UK-China Creative Industries research and innovation development.

Project website