Forthcoming BICC events- Public event.

Saturday, 12 September, the Needham Research Institute will be taking part in the Open Cambridge weekend for the very first time.

The Needham Research Institute in Cambridge, holds a unique collection of material relating to the life and activities of Dr Joseph Needham (1900-1995). He was a noted biochemist whose varied career went on to included holding prominent posts at the University of Cambridge, acting as the driving force behind putting the ‘S’ in UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), and dedicating the latter half of his life to the history of science in China, particularly through his Science and Civilisation in China project.

Between 1943 and 1946, Dr Needham crisscrossed war-torn China as director of the British Council-sponsored Sino-British Science Cooperation Office (SBSCO). Through his travels, he developed relationships with hundreds of Chinese scientists as he visited the universities, laboratories, and factories in which they were attempting to continue work and research under extraordinary conditions. Dr. Needham and the SBSCO sought to support their work and strengthen Sino-British scientific links. They arranged to have scientific equipment, foreign scientific journals, and other materials brought into China via the treacherous Burma Road and flown in by the RAF, as well as sending Chinese scientific journals overseas and helping get Chinese research published in Western journals.

A part of the BICC’s Cultural Engagement Partnership, Gordon Barrett is working with the NRI’s Librarian, John Moffett, on a series of activities that focus on Joseph Needham’s wartime activities in China. The first is a major digitisation project that will make a collection of material freely available in high resolution via the Cambridge Digital Library. During his travels, Dr Needham took and collected over 1,200 photos, as well as keeping a series of incredibly detailed travel dairies and sketchbooks.

Together, these give us a fascinating and unique portrait of his own journeys and life throughout ‘free China’, from the country’s wartime capital, Chongqing (Chungking), to remote villages in the Gobi desert and research stations in Sichuan Province. Along the ways, he got to know numerous important Chinese politicians and scientists, such as Zhu Kezhen (Coching Chu). His journeys not only intersected with those of British diplomat and explorer, Eric Teichman as well as radical New Zealander, Rewi Alley an important figure in the ‘Gung Ho’ Chinese Industrial Cooperatives during the war who went on to become one of the People’s Republic of China’s most famous ‘foreign friends’. This collection will also be of interest to anyone interested in the history of organisations like the China Inland Mission or Friends’ Ambulance Unit.

Our project will be bringing the whole collection together in one place – and make it all available in high resolution – for the first time. We’re also creating a bunch of new material that will help make this collection even more engaging and easy to use, including indexes of people, places, and institutions, as well as updating and editing transcripts of the dairies. This should all be available in the early New Year. In the meantime, you can see a selection of Dr Needham’s dairies and photos online thanks to the International Dunhuang Project while lower resolution versions of Dr. Needham’s wartime photos are currently available via Visualising China.

We’ve also been hard at work preparing some free public events. On Saturday, 12 September, the Needham Research Institute will be taking part in the Open Cambridge weekend for the very first time. We’ll be a holding trio of talks about Dr Needham’s time in China during the Second World War, along with tours of the beautiful NRI building and its East Asian Science Library. More details can be found here.

Those joining us on 12 September will be the first people to be able to see our new ‘pop-up exhibition’, Chinese Wartime Science Through the Lens of Joseph Needham, featuring highlights from the Needham wartime collection. This exhibition has been designed to travel, so it’ll likely be popping up in other places, including Bristol, later in the autumn and New Year. We’ll keep you posted!


BICC Manchester

When China Rules the World- A talk by Martin Jaques. University of Manchester 23rd February 2015

First published in 2009 to widespread critical acclaim – and controversy – When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Rise of a New Global Order has sold a quarter of a million copies, been translated into eleven languages, nominated for two major literary awards, and is the subject of an immensely popular TED talk. He has been invited thanks to BICC funding and will host a talk at Manchester University on the 23rd March 2015, where he will meet current students studying Chinese Studies and History at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Since the first publication of When China Rules the World, the landscape of world power has shifted dramatically. In the three years since the first edition was published, When China Rules the World has proved itself to be a remarkably prescient book, and transformed the nature of the debate on China.




Now, in this greatly expanded and fully updated new edition, with nearly three-hundred pages of new material, backed up by the latest statistical data, Martin Jacques renews his assault on conventional thinking about China’s ascendancy



About the author

Martin Jacques is the author of the global best-seller When China Rules the World: the End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order. It was first published in 2009 and has since been translated into fourteen languages and sold over 350,000 copies. The book has been shortlisted for two major literary awards. A second edition of the book, greatly expanded and fully updated, was published in 2012. His TED talk on how to understand China has had over 1.8 million views. He is a Senior Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies, Cambridge University, and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. He is also a non-resident Fellow at the Transatlantic Academy, Washington DC.

He has previously been a Visiting Professor at Renmin University, the International Centre for Chinese Studies, Aichi University, Nagoya, and Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto. He was a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. He was until recently a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at IDEAS, a centre for diplomacy and grand strategy, and a fellow at the Asia Research Centre, both at the London School of Economics. He was formerly the editor of the renowned London-based monthly Marxism Today until its closure in 1991 and was co-founder of the think-tank Demos. He has been a columnist for many newspapers, made many television programmes and is a former deputy editor of The Independent newspaper. He took his doctorate while at King’s College, Cambridge.

He has been invited to give lectures at many of the world’s top universities including Harvard, Cornell, UCLA, USC, Cambridge, Oxford, Peking, Tsinghua, Renmin, NUS, Tokyo, University of Hong Kong, amongst many others. He has given talks to many corporate clients including Bank of America, BlackRock, Pictet, Shell, Allianz, BNP Paribas, Financial Times, British Telecom, BBC, HR50, Amerada Hess, Investec, DSM and Khazanah.

He is chair of the Harinder Veriah Trust, which supports girls from deprived backgrounds with their education at Assunta Primary School and Assunta Secondary School, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, where his wife, the late Harinder Veriah, was educated. It has also sponsored young Malaysian lawyers from under-privileged backgrounds to work for two-year stints at Hogan Lovells in London.



We are currently updating this section and hope to bring you news shortly.