By Min Yea-Ji and Hahm Hee-eun
Video = Korean Cultural Centre in London
The Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS), part of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, announced on June 4 that, “The special year for cultural exchange between Korea and the U.K. will formally end with the joint closing ceremony at the South Bank Centre in London on June 14.
The closing ceremony will be staged by world-renowned musical artists, including the London Philharmonia Orchestra, conductor Chang Han-na and pianist Kim Sunwook. Second Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Roh Tae-kang and Matt Hancock, the U.K. secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, will also attend the event.
The 2017-2018 Korea-U.K. Cultural Exchange Year, which started on the basis of mutual consultations between the two governments in 2016, has resulted in a total of 83 projects and 275 cultural events in the two countries over the past two years.
The cultural exchanges were mainly made in the fields of performance, art and food.
Starting with the London Symphony Orchestra in February 2017 at the Seoul Arts Center in Seoul, the London Korean Festival was held at the London Olympia Hall in July 2017. Three months later, the Ahn Eun-me Dance Company, a Korean dance troupe, performed at the U.K.’s international contemporary dance festival, Dance Umbrella.
The Korean Culture and Arts Committee and the English Arts Committee together supported the Korean-American joint fund, attracting attention from the U.K. art world by introducing various Korean artists at leading exhibition organizations, such as the Tate Modern and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The Ven. Woo Gwan, a master of religious Buddhist temple cuisine, was invited by the U.K. cooking school Westminster Kingsway College and the Korean Cultural Centre in the U.K. to introduce Korean food in Britain. At the event, the religious temple food attracted the attention of vegetarians and localvores alike.
An officer from the KOCIS said, “The 2017-2018 Korea-U.K. Cultural Exchange Year project was not just a one-time event. We focused on establishing a basis for continual exchanges and cooperation through collaboration with major cultural and artistic organizations in the U.K. We hope to continue to increase the number of mutual cooperation programs.”