This Thursday, 4 November, sees the launch of Shared Futures, a new interview series co-produced by Manchester China Forum and Signal8 Digital, which aims to explore the common ground and shared interests that link China and the UK in this region and to ensure that informed views from those active in shaping the bilateral relationship are effectively heard.


Through interviews with key stakeholders in business, education, sports and the arts, Shared Futures shows how diverse collaboration with China makes a profound contribution to the UK, and the North West’s economic and cultural life while also boosting the UK’s soft power reach.


Shared Futures is divided into three groups of interviews. The first group spotlights several areas including the education sector. Interviewees include Matt Burney, China Director of the British Council, Fang Zhang, BBC Young Musician of the Year 2020 and Lord Jim O’Neill, Chair of Chatham House and Vice Chair of Northern Powerhouse Partnership. Subsequent topics will explore themes including sustainability, the trading relationship and tourism. The project kicks off with an interview with Rhys Whalley, Executive Director of Manchester China Forum, who discusses Shared Futures’ key themes and objectives. The interviews are conducted by John Millichap and Jim Lam, co-founders of Signal8 Digital, a digital marketing agency based in China and the UK.


Rhys Whalley, Executive Director of Manchester China Forum said:

“ In today's geopolitical climate it's critically important that we're investing in enhancing our understanding of complex markets like China. Indeed, getting informed about China is more urgent than ever and it is critically important that we provide current and future leaders with both informed views as well as the right tools to make educated decisions. Part and parcel of that is getting stories out from experts with genuine insights and understanding of the China market. At present, too much of the narrative in the public domain is being shaped by people with limited exposure and understanding of China. Projects like Shared Futures, even if in a modest way, aim to support on these ambitions.”


John Millichap, Director of Signal8 Digital and co-producer of Shared Futures said:

“ It feels like it there has never been a more difficult time to build a case for closer ties with China, yet the reality today is that collaboration between the two countries has never been so wide and varied. In education, R&D, business, culture, the arts and entertainment, it is a relationship that operates at all levels and for all kinds of people, creating jobs, boosting prosperity and building understanding. The UK necessarily has an obligation to protect its cores values, but in an increasingly multipolar world it must find a way to work with those who have different values and structures, and that includes the world’s largest growth economy.”

Interview with Rhys Whalley, Executive Director of Manchester China Forum

Interview with Matt Burney, British Council's China Director

Interview with Fang Zhang, BBC's Young Musician of the Year

Interview with Jim O'Neill, Vice-chair at Northern Powerhouse