Sometimes there are days when we all need a little bit of inspiration, and there are only so many motivational quotes you can read, before you start to get a tiny bit bored. So what else can you do? You could stalk the people you admire online (we strongly discourage you from doing that in real life) or by up half of the ‘self help’ section of the nearest bookshop. Or, you can get yourself to China Exchange. As part of their Prudential series of speakers they invite people with “extraordinary lives and achievements” to take to the stage, talk about their experiences, and to answer questions. We’re talking people like Gwyneth Paltrow, Tessa Jowell, and Jude Law in their most recent season. With other activities like Orchestral Concerts and their upcoming wire rabbit making workshop they’re also offering you the chance to step out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons. Or, to put it another way, China Exchange are great, and we love what they’re setting out to do. As such, we couldn’t resist catching up with Becca, their co-ordinator, to find out more.
What’s the story behind China Exchange?
China Exchange had a royal opening in February 2015. Set up by Sir David Tang in the old BT Telephone Exchange building, China Exchange is a Chinese cultural exchange charity in the heart of Chinatown. Our aim is to host activities and events that stimulate a greater understanding of, and curiosity about China’s impact on the world. Hopefully I don’t need to explain why China is important (it’s the second largest economy, stupid!) and we think that having access to a better understanding of the country and culture is a positive thing. We don’t shove China down anyone’s throat – instead, we hold dance, concerts, exhibitions, pop-ups, talks and lectures, some focused completely on China and some not. We keep what we do accessible – most of our tickets are £10 and under. It’s a wonderful environment to be in!
Who is the best guest you’ve had for your Prudential Talks?
That’s a tough question! I’ve had 3 favourites so far: Alain De Botton, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cherie Blair. Each very different, and each incredibly inspirational, empowering, funny and warm. We get such a wide variety of speakers for the Prudential Series that there really is something for everyone.
Why would you recommend your activity?
I would recommend our activities because they offer an affordable way to experience new things and hear from extraordinary people.
Can you tell us something surprising about yourself?
I can whistle and hum at the same time!
What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not at work?
I like to try different beers (I’m definitely a ‘craft beer’ head), watch live music and try new things. As it’s summer now, I’m making the most of beer gardens!
What’s your favourite part of London? Any places you’d recommend there?
I love my local area, Peckham Rye. There’s a brilliant brewery called Brick Brewery and you can get the best burgers in London there (honest!) from Slow Richies.
If you could try any experience in the world, what would it be, and why?
To go to india and stay in a national park and see a wild tiger! And then eat all the food.
What does the future have in store for China Exchange?
We’ve got an exciting summer and autumn of events coming up! The Prudential Series will take a break for August, but will be in back in September with the likes of Joanna Lumley and Sarah Ferguson. We’ll host The Battle of the Noodles – team Italy (AA Gill and Giorgio Locatelli) Vs team China (Ken Hom and Sir David Tang). In September it’s the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival, which we’ll be celebrating with music and classes. Don’t miss our wire rabbit making workshop on Saturday 17 September, too!