Confucius Institute

Providing Chinese language teaching and cultural classes and events to the North East Scotland community


The Confucius Institute of the University of Aberdeen is dedicated to promoting the learning of Chinese language and culture.

We offer a range of Chinese cultural activities including Chinese calligraphy, music, dance, and Tai Chi and Qigong classes.

Chinese Music


The guzheng, also known as a Chinese zither, is a traditional Chinese plucked instrument with a long history. It has a beautiful and distinctive sound which is evocative of China. The Confucius Institute is delighted to be able to offer guzheng classes, both in small groups and one-to-one.

The group guzheng classes (for up to 5 adults) will run in the Confucius Institute on Thursdays, 5pm-6pm, for 5 weeks starting the week beginning 20th February. The course costs £70/£35 concession (UoA staff and alumni, students from UoA, RGU or NESCOL).

  • register your place here.

One-to-one guzheng tuition is suitable for both adults and children and would take place in the Confucius Institute. Tuition costs £10 per hour with a minimum purchase reqiurement of 10 hours. To arrange one-to-one tuition, contact us at

Tai Chi and Qigong

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a form of gentle Chinese exercise, focusing on posture, alignment and breathing. ‘Meditation in Motion’ practised regularly helps to reduce stress and improve physical well-being. 

The Confucius Institute is pleased to offer an introductory course of Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) taught by Matthew Knight.

Adult Classes (suitable for 14yrs+)

  • Wednesday 12 noon  1pm
  • Term 1: 18th January – 22nd February (no class 1st February) (5 weeks)
  • Term 2: 1st March – 29th March (5 weeks)
  • Dunbar Street Hall, Dunbar St, Old Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UJ
  • Cost per course: £20 full price/£15 discounted price*

*University of Aberdeen staff, students and alumni; and RGU & NESCOL students 

Registration is via the University of Aberdeen online store.

For queries and to register your interest and be kept up to date with details of future courses please email us at


We are pleased to now be able to offer a Qigong class. Qigong is closely related to Tai Chi. One key difference between them, however, is that while Tai Chi is rooted in martial art, Qigong is focused on cultivating energy (or 'Qi'), calming the mind and gently relaxing the body. Indeed 'Qigong' can be translated as 'energy work' and it can be defined as breathing exercises.

Qigong is thought to be specific at improving certain areas of the body such as the internal organs. Tutor Matthew Knight will focus on Five Animals (Wu Xing) Qigong. 

The Wudang Five Animals are an ancient Taoist practice designed to improve health and longevity and bring harmony to mind and body. Each animal corresponds to a particular internal organ, for instance in this ten-week course we will focus on the Tiger form. Learning the Tiger form improves and balances the lungs and respiratory functions of the body in accordance with Classical Chinese Medicine.

Other benefits to regular practice of this form are to open the joints, lengthen the tendons, strengthen muscles and improve balance.

Adult Classes (suitable for 14yrs+)

  • Wednesday 7pm - 8pm
  • Term 1: 18th January – 22nd February (no class 1st February) (5 weeks)
  • Term 2: 1st March – 29th March (5 weeks)
  • Dunbar Street Hall, Dunbar St, Old Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UJ
  • Cost per course: £20 full price/£15 discounted price*

*University of Aberdeen staff, students and alumni; and RGU & NESCOL students

 Registration is via the University of Aberdeen online store.

For queries and to register your interest and be kept up to date with details of future courses please email us at

Matthew Knight has studied Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) and Qigong (Chi Kung) since 1998 with his teacher Tina Faulkner Elders and the Ruyi School of Taijiquan and Qigong. His personal training continues with the Ruyi School and includes working with Master Chen Li Sheng on Wudang Mountain in China.

Chinese Dance

Chinese dance is an important part of Chinese culture and is enjoyed by people of all ages.  It can help improve coordination, balance and flexibility and is also a fun way to meet new friends. 

Traditional Chinese dance takes many forms such as Chinese Folk Dance, which includes Ribbon Dance and Handkerchief Dance, Chinese Fan Dance, Chinese Flag Dance and Kung Fu Dance. 

Niu Xiaolin of RedPhoenix Dance aims to promote traditional Chinese dance culture throughout the local area. 


Term Dates

3rd September – 15th October 

5th November – 17th December

Chinese New Year performance

Saturday 21st January 2023

25th February – 1st April

24th April – 1st July


Class Group Day & Time
Chinese Folk Dance P3–P7 girls Saturday 10.30am – 11.30am
Chinese Kung Fu Dance P3–P7 boys Saturday 11.30am – 12.30pm

Chopstick Dance 

Wide spread in Inner Mongolia, this dance is often seen at festivals. Dancers stand in one spot and, holding chopsticks in one or both hands, clap their hands, shoulders, waist and legs, with them.

Chinese Folk Dance 

Based on traditional ribbon and handkerchief dances

Chinese Lion Dance & Flag Dance 

Based on Chinese martial arts movements

Kungfu Fan Dance

Based on Chinese martial arts, this dance adds beauty to traditional Tai Chi or Kung Fu exercises.

Suitable for all abilities. All children's courses are free with a £25 per annum administration fee.

For queries please email us at

Conversation Corner

Free Mandarin conversation practice

  • Confucius Institute
  • Thursdays (29th September-1st December)
  • Time: 6pm-8pm  

Learning Mandarin or interested in finding out more?

Practise your Mandarin skills in our free, informal conversation group.

All levels are welcome from beginner through to advanced.

We will have weekly topics for discussion, supplied in advance, to get the conversation flowing.

Our native-speaking volunteers are happy to help with Mandarin speaking practice and answer questions about China. 

If you are interested, please email us at to request the online meeting link.

Native Mandarin speakers

Do you enjoy meeting new people? Are you happy chatting about Chinese language and culture? Why not come along to our Chinese Corner and make some new friends. New Mandarin speakers are always welcome.


Calligraphy Workshops


Chinese Calligraphy

Chinese calligraphy is the ancient art of Chinese writing. Classes in Chinese Calligraphy at the Confucius Institute are suitable for both the beginner and improver.

Beginners start with the practice of basic strokes and simple characters. With small classes there is plenty of personal attention and printed handouts are provided for home practice.

All materials are provided.

 Adult Classes (suitable for 14 yrs+)

The Beginners class is suitable for those with no prior experience.

Saturday, 19th November, 1pm-3pm

Cost: £15

For queries and to express an interest for future classes please email us at


Calligraphy with Chi ZhangChi Zhang (photo credit: Fraser Bond)

We are also delighted to be able to offer a workshop led by visiting Chinese calligraphy and brush painting artist Chi Zhang.

Saturday, 26th November, 10am-12 noon

Cost: £15

All materials are provided. 

Edinburgh-based Chi Zhang's Chinese calligraphy has been projected onto Edinburgh Castle during the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and his Chinese landscape paintings have been exhibited in the Scottish National Gallery Academy Building.

Registration is via the University of Aberdeen online store. Places are limited and are allocated on a first come basis, so advance booking is essential. 

Chinese Brush Painting Workshop

Saturday 26th November, 1pm – 3pm

Cost: £15

Adult Class (suitable for 14 yrs+)

Artist Chi Zhang will give this workshop in Chinese brush painting. In Chi's current paintings, which focus on the Scottish landscape, he encapsulates the essence of his surroundings rather than a naturalistic rendering. This he does with the use of traditional Chinese materials and techniques, exploiting the rich effects created by the interaction of brush, ink, water and paper, and contrasting delicate line with patches of ink and colour. Students can anticipate completing at least one piece of Chinese painting artwork per class. Demonstration and plenty of personal attention will be provided during the class. This course is suitable for both beginners and advanced students.

Registration is via the University of Aberdeen online store. Places are limited and advance booking is essential. 

For queries and to express an interest for future classes, please email us at


Chinese Arts and Crafts

Come along to our free Calligraphy and Craft session where you can try your hand at the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy and also enjoy a selection of other traditional Chinese crafts.

Wednesday 15th February, 10am–2pm

Register your place on Eventbrite.

Mandarin Bookbug


Join us for a fun, friendly session of Mandarin stories and songs for pre-school children and their families and carers. You don't have to be a Chinese speaker to enjoy the session, it's a great opportunity to send some time with your little one and maybe learn something new together.

Usually the first Satrurday of the month, 10.30am-11.00am.

Free, drop-in

  • 14th January (Chinese New Year session)
  • 4th February
  • 4th March


Chinese Kite competition

Chinese Kite Competition

We recently hosted a Chinese kite design competition for local schools. Two winning designs from each age category (P1-P2; P3-P4 and P5-P7) were chosen to be made into a kite as a prize. Nearly 500 entries were received. Here are the fantastic winning designs.

P1-P2 winners: Jorgie and Letycja

P3-P4 winners: Emily and Millie

P5-P7 winners: Robyn and Max










Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Gala Show

Join us at our spectacular Gala Show performance to usher in the year of the rabbit.

Saturday 21st January 2023

7pm - 9pm

Tivoli Theatre

Tickets are available now from Aberdeen Performing Arts.


Chinese New Year Family Festival

There will be fun for all the family at our festival day rounding off the Chinese Spring Festival celebrations. Come along for Chinese crafts, games and more.

Sunday 5th February 2023

10am - 3pm

Elphinstone Hall

Free / Drop in / Online booking available