After tough security at Shanghai Pudong, I was greeted at 7.30am by Dr Jason Yu with a slice of cake as we awaited the other Nottingham delegates arrival. Soon we were all united and on a coach to Ningbo, with travellers in our party like Service Manager for Nottingham’s Museums & Galleries Ron Inglis, Robert Dixon Head of Business Growth and International Strategy for the City Council, and Iain Simons of the National Video Games Arcade.


The coach ride was one of our first ‘culture shocks’: driving at full speed and beeping sharply at loud volumes is the signal for changing lanes. We rode over the world’s longest sea bridge for what felt like hours with BEEEP BEEEEEEP at regular intervals. The landscape changed from industrial, to farmland, to mountainous, and then skyscraper block after block. If this didn’t underscore China’s new position as an economic powerhouse, I don’t know what else could.


In my luggage: ‘business outfits’, ‘glamorous performance outfits’, and Adidas; a tonne of AV equipment; Chinese translated business cards; 100 glossy booklets with 12 pages of Acoustickle photos, ideas and proposals for future potential business between Nottingham and China; printed photos from Acoustickle and VOCAB events; posters from past events; loads of fliers from past events for people to take with them (these were a huge hit); and little brown packets of dried orange peel, lavender and rose for tea.


The glossy presentation booklets doubled as a slideshow which played on rotation on the TV screen at my exhibition stand. Later myself and Iain Gray of Vision Driven were hosted in a meeting that involved Ningbo’s film and television industry, but more on that later…