Records of the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) and predecessors





Local Identifier(s)

OC (local reference number)


1986-onwards ()

Access status



Scope and Content

Records of the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art and its predecessors.

Record Resource Extent

24 boxes


During the 30th anniversary of the Centre, most of the Centre's physical records were arranged by date into 3 series: timeline, marketing archive, and press cuttings. During the Heritage Lottery Funded project, 2016-2018, the physical records of the date dating up to 2011 were arranged an order reflecting the functions of the organisation. The Marketing archive & press cuttings were retained in their original order. Records dating up to 1997 when arranged into a separate subfonds as the Records of the Chinese View Art Association. 

From 2020, to ease discovery of records, the structure of the collection was rearranged and records can be found in multiple places in the heirarchy. The primary location of the records (reflected in their identifiers) reflects the either the physical order of analogue records or the original order of born-digital records. Records were further placed in record sets relating to their function to make it easier to browse the collection.


In November 1986, Manchester based artist Amy Lai organised  the Chinese View '86 festival. The aims of the festival, the first of its kind in the UK, was to reconnect the local Chinese community with traditional arts and crafts as well as raise awareness of Chinese culture in the wider population. A second festival was also held in 1988. 

Due to the success of the festivals, the Chinese View Arts Association (CVAA) was formed in 1987 as a charitable company. The mission of the organisation was to "advance the education of the public in all forms of Chinese Culture" through cultural events and acting as a contact point between the Chinese community and other cultural organisations. 

Due to demand for their services, the CVAA secured funding to open a new art and community centre in 1989. The Chinese Arts Centre, based on the first floor of 36 Charlotte Street in Manchester's China Town, would help the CVAA achieve its mission by providing a venue which would reconnect the younger generation of Chinese people in Manchester with traditional Chinese arts and crafts and well as advance the education of the general public, though exhibitions, workshops and other events. The Centre also aimed to act as an agency for Chinese culture and act as a venue for visiting Chinese groups. 

Throughout the early 1990s, the Centre was affected by financial and staffing issues, and the Board of the CVAA continually reviewed the operations of the Centre. The focus of the Centre began to shift towards Chinese contemporary art and the promotion of British-based artists of Chinese heritage. By 1994, the Centre's venue was used more as a base of operations, rather than its sole venue. 

In 1997 the Centre moved to new premises Edge Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. From this point, the operations of the Centre transformed as it worked towards becoming a national agency for Chinese arts and crafts  and began to show work by artist from  East Asia as well as British based artists. From the summer of 1998, the Edge Street venue was closed for refurbishment after a fire, and the Centre developed its first major touring exhibition, Representing the People, featuring artists from China who had never shown work in the UK previously. After the venue reopened in early 1999, and the Centre began its 'New Commission' scheme, which commissioned new work from young British based artists of Chinese heritage.  In 2000, the operating companies name was changed from CVAA to the Chinese Arts Centre. 

In 2001, the Centre secured £2.2 million from Arts Council, England, Lottery Fund to outfit a new building and support operational and marketing development of the organisation. On 27th November 2003, the Centre opened its new purposely equipped premises on Thomas Street. The RIBA award winning building featured a large gallery space, a resident artist studio, an education suite and a shop with a tea shop. The new space gave the Centre the room to expand their activities acting as an agency for Chinese arts in Britain and inviting collaborations with other organisations. The Centre’s commitment to helping the career development of British-based artist of East Asian descent was also shown in schemes such as ‘PAD’ (Professional Artist Development) and ‘EAST’ ( East Asian Strategic Training).

From 2007 the Centre celebrated its 21st anniversary and  began to position itself as an international agency for Chinese Contemporary Art. Between 2009-2011, the Centre went through a period of reorganisation to improve the resilience of the organisation. 

In November 2013, the Centre was rebranded the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA). In 2014 CFCCA became a major partner in the third Asia Triennial Manchester, curating Harmonious Society, which brought 30 artists to 6 venues in Manchester.

In 2016, the Centre commemorated its 30th anniversary with a programme of events and exhibitions featuring artists, curators and academics who had previously worked with the organisation.

Management and Use

Conditions of Access

The collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Centre. Records containing personal data of living individuals are not available to the public following the Data Protection Act (2018) without the express permission of the Data Subjects. Digital surrogates of a selection of the records in this collection are available online. Please see individual descriptions for full information on access. Records dating from 2003 are still being processed and will become accessible in time. The Archive & Library will answer all enquiries about this material, however access may be restricted until they can be fully processed. Records dating up to 2003 have been largely processes and are accessible for research under the terms above. Records dating from after 2003 are still being processed.

Conditions of Use

Selected records which the Centre has permission to make available are available under a licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Please see individual descriptions for full copyright information.

Related Content

Related People and Organisations

Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (1989-) (accumulated)

Related Places

Manchester (has creator)

Related Terms

Fonds (describes)
Open (has access status)
still images (has or had some members with content of type)
two-dimensional moving images (has or had some members with content of type)
audio (has or had some members with content of type)
text (has or had some members with content of type)
objects (has or had some members with content of type)
English (has or had some members with language)
Chinese (has or had some members with language)


Rules or conventions

Our archival collections have been catalogued following the International Standard of Archival Description (ISAD(G)) and principles of Records in Context (RiC). The library collection has been documented following the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) standard and the International Standard for Bibliographic Description (ISBD).

Subject terms for the collections have been taken from the Resource Description Access (RDA) values which are made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License; the National Archives’ PRONOM online registry of technical information; IANA media types. MIME types; Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)® and Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)® which are made available under the ODC Attribution License.