Hong Kong is known as an international centre for financial and business sectors, however, it is also witnessing a current boom in its creative industries. Having been active for some years in Hong Kong, Central Saint Martins is forging closer relationships with the creative industries, city government and alumni.
In 2014, the second Central Saint Martins Cross-Cultural Lecture took place. Co-presented by the British Council and the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, the event promoted the exchange of creativity and innovation between the East and West. Renowned Hong Kong cultural historian and designer, Kai-Yin Lo, spoke about the cultural and symbolic significance of the bridge in China and Hong Kong. Lo, who is Principal Visiting Lecturer for cross culture at Central Saint Martins, said:
Heatherwick has emerged as one of Britain’s most gifted and multi-faceted designers since the late 1990s. His innovative approach to design will no doubt serve as a bridge of aspirations in ideal and scope between Hong Kong’s creative force and our counterparts in the West.
In 2015, a cluster of activities further embedded relationships. The Future of Museum and Gallery Design Conference, co-convened by MA Narrative Environments Course Leader Tricia Austin, brought together a host of international speakers to discuss the role and responsibilities of the designer in museums. Co-organised by K11 Art Foundation, UKTI and the University of Leicester and held at the University of Hong Kong, the conference was highly successful and served to inform developments both in Hong Kong and London.
Head of College, Jeremy Till, joined artist and alumni Antony Gormley as a part of a series of talks discussing the artist’s “Event Horizon” installed in the city in 2015. Till chaired a panel, including Hong Kong-based artist Leung Mei Ping and executive director of the Asia Art Archive Claire Hsu at ‘Sculpture and the Animation of Collective Space’, discussing the potential of public art in transforming cities.
In January 2016, the College launched its first jointly validated course, MA Arts and Cultural Enterprise, with Hong Kong University SPACE. The course acknowledges the need for multi-skilled individuals who can both generate the ideas for original arts and cultural events, while providing leadership for the teams that realise them. MA Arts and Cultural Enterprise addresses a contemporary shift within the cultural economy towards experiences and events, and away from the artefact. It is a response to multiple new forms of artistic and creative practice, which demand new, hybrid forms of cultural management and organisation.
Students in London study alongside a parallel cohort in Hong Kong, through a low-residency model combining online learning with intensive face-to-face sessions. In bringing together the experiences of students and faculty from both locations, the course provides a unique intercultural platform to investigate current conditions, establish professional and intellectual networks and explore local contexts.
MA Arts and Cultural Enterprise is a timely offering, as the creative sector is increasingly understood as essential to the vitality of society, culture and the economy, as well as to the political health of a nation. This international partnership, the first of its kind for Central Saint Martins, reflects the kind of ambitious collaboration that the course hopes to equip students to facilitate, as future leaders in the realm of cultural production.
Professor Jeremy Till