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Chinese Ambassador: London is the greatest cultural city on earth
London hailed as world’s leading centre of culture and creativity

Leading figures from London’s creative sector last night came together to stress the importance of culture to the city’s international reputation and influence.

At the event to launch London’s autumn season of blockbuster exhibitions the Chinese Ambassador to the UK hailed London as the greatest cultural city on earth and said that a forthcoming major exhibition on the Ming Dynasty at the British Museum would help promote better understanding between China and the UK.

The event at Tate Britain saw leading figures from across the city’s cultural institutions, including Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Director of the Barbican, Kerstin Mogull, Managing Director of Tate, and Sir Quentin Blake of the new House of Illustration at King’s Cross, highlight London’s amazing diversity of top class exhibitions, theatre, music and cultural events.

Liu Xiaoming, Chinese Ambassador to the UK, said: “My diplomatic career has enabled me to visit many of the world’s great cities. Based on that experience I think that London can fairly claim the title of being the world’s leading centre of culture and creative industry.... We should never cease to admire culture. Then we can apply what we know about a culture to increasing mutual understanding, broaden common ground and expand cooperation.”

Over two million tourists are expected to visit a collection of blockbuster exhibitions and events taking place throughout the city this autumn*. The exhibitions are being jointly promoted by London’s most well-known cultural institutions in a new initiative called the Autumn Season.

In an effort to maintain London’s position as the most visited capital city on earth** and highlight the spectacular season ahead, London & Partners – the Mayor’s official promotional company for the capital – and the GREAT Britain campaign have produced a short film previewing the Autumn Season in London as preparations start for the key period in the cultural calendar.

Narrated by the respected British actor David Harewood MBE, the film highlights some of the key artistic, literary and theatrical events available across the capital and the great historical treasures that domestic and international visitors can enjoy. (Access details for broadcast quality version below)

David Harewood MBE, said: “As someone with strong connections to London’s cultural scene, I am delighted to support this campaign. Our vibrant city is building on centuries of history to create new exhibitions, shows and events that are truly inspiring and will draw people from across the UK and all over the world to the capital. It is vital that we continue to showcase London’s fantastic offer so that as many people as possible are moved to come and be stimulated by our city’s culture.”

The launch event at Tate Britain saw industry leaders from London’s museums, art galleries, theatres and centres of performing arts gather to promote the upcoming season. The reception also featured special previews of blockbuster exhibitions across the Barbican Centre, the British Museum, the Imperial War Museum (IWM London), the Museum of London, the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum, the Royal Academy, Tate Britain, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director, Barbican, said:“London is thriving as a world-class city of culture as never before. There is a great thirst for what we offer from a huge diversity of audiences who throng our many great venues in search of life-enhancing, powerfully inspiring experiences.”


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