The Chinese Whispers™ Project is the Confucius Institute’s award-winning project (HEA– Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence 2016).



The Chinese Whispers™ Project embraces culture and creativity. Its intercultural agenda focusses on developing awareness, competence and citizenship in local members of the community (children and adults) and facilitating respectful interaction between people from different cultural backgrounds. Its creative agenda promotes the learning of language and culture through creative practice, such as through choir singing. The Chinese Whispers™ Project celebrates its activities in annual public concerts that are hosted by the Confucius Institute at the University of Hull. The concert involves students and staff from the School of the Arts in the University as well as children and adults who have participated in the Chinese Whispers™ Project.


The Chinese Whispers™ Project began in 2016 through an interdisciplinary collaboration led by
Professor Marina Mozzon-McPherson (Modern Languages) and Dr Simon Desbruslais
(Music). It involved entering a choir of students from the University of Hull –who learned, in
the short timeframe of three months, a programme of new choir music, in Mandarin
Chinese–into the Manchester Chinese Song Competition (April 2016). The project was
supported by the Confucius Institute, who funded a choir director in Beijing to visit students
during rehearsals to teach them to sing in Chinese. Moreover, students were introduced to
aspects of Chinese culture and provided with traditional Chinese outfits for their
performance. The choir was awarded second prize in the competition and broadcast on
Chinese national television and BBC Radio Humberside. The project received recognition
with a Collaborative Award in Teaching Excellence. To continue the momentum of the
Chinese Whispers™ Project, the University of Hull awarded three PhD studentships to
enable research enquiry and development about the project.



-Trademark obtained for Chinese Whispers™ brand (Intellectual Property Agency, 2018)

Tour to TNU

Chinese Whispers™ Choir Tour to Tianjin Normal University (TNU, 2017)

Concert series

Chinese Whispers™ Concert Series (hosted by the Confucius Institute, from 2017)

Award in teaching

Collaborative Award in Teaching Excellence (Advance HE, 2016)

PhD Cluster Award

Three fully funded PhD scholarships awarded (Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence 2016)


Singing curriculum

A singing curriculum has been produced Yanyi Lu, an education researcher who has worked with schools for more than eight years and is a native Mandarin speaker. The singing curriculum is written for beginner Mandarin learners, with the music scores, phonetic translation, and learning notes for each of the songs. This is suitable for both children and adults.

Mandarin teaching videos

Teaching videos have been created alongside the singing curriculum. It aids students who wish to acquire some aspects of Chinese culture and Chinese language, with or without the help of the teachers.

Upcoming events

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