Students from two leading universities in Taiwan are visiting the West Midlands this week to participate in a University of Birmingham summer school.

Addressing themes around cultural heritage, tourism and cultural policy, the summer school will provide the students with an insight into the West Midlands’ extensive cultural offering and legacy.

Run by the University of Birmingham’s Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH), the summer school programme includes lectures and workshops from University staff, talks from local and regional cultural partners, and visits to various sites around the city and region. The itinerary includes visits to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and Cultural Quarter, Stratford-upon-Avon, Worcester Porcelain Museum, historic Ironbridge and the University’s leafy Edgbaston campus.

Professor Mike Robinson, Director of IIICH at the University of Birmingham, said: “Taiwan gives its cultural heritage considerable attention and is seeking to mobilise its culture to develop its economy through tourism. We have long standing expertise in such matters and are looking forward to exchanging ideas, sharing knowledge and showcasing the cultural sector of the region.  Rather than gaining their first experience of the UK in London, our Taiwanese colleagues will experience Birmingham and the West Midlands.  As well as learning from us, we can also learn from them, as they bring fresh and sometimes challenging perspectives.”

This visit is the first of many as the University and IIICH develop collaborations with Taiwan.  In April 2013, the IIICH will hold a major international conference on Tourism and Heritage with National Taiwan University, the Ministry of Culture, Taipei City Government and other partners in Taipei.

Professor Robinson, who holds a Visiting Professorship in Taiwan, added: “With Taiwan now open to millions of Chinese tourists it is an important gateway to the wider East Asian region.  However, Taiwan itself is a magnificent place and we will continue to develop strong, high quality links with its institutions.  I hope that the cultural and heritage institutions of the City of Birmingham and the region can benefit from this summer school and the ongoing opportunities it can bring.”

For media enquiries, please contact Catherine Byerley, International Press and PR Officer, University of Birmingham, tel +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or email