Forum on Community Arts 2014
For the Sake of the People
Today, when culture is seen as an industry and art becomes a means of generating wealth, it is no surprise that the news on art is all about how artworks are sold with record-breaking prices, and even real estate advertisements have begun to associate luxury apartments with this exquisite image of art for promotion. Art in our society have become more and more superficial and one-dimensional. Originally, it served a vital function to both the community and the individual – not only did it offer a medium for individual expressions and finding the joy of creation, but it was also a tool for establishing community identities, connecting the people with each other, forming collective languages and conveying common beliefs and values. From the hunting and gathering societies in ancient time to the nowadays nation-states, art has always been indispensable, being a necessity for the survival of communities and playing different essential roles. The policy direction of giving strong support to cultural industry as pursued by the Government in the twenty-first century has, however, gradually undermined the multi-faceted social function of culture (including art). Cultural industry has industrialized culture, and art has become an ornament enjoyed by those in possession of those who have “knowledge” and consuming power.
Fortunately, some still persevere in retaining and promoting the social function art can and should serve. This effort is most clearly reflected in the community arts that have been constantly emerging in recent years in Hong Kong. Paying special regard to the disadvantaged, these community arts have been able to revitalize community, expose social injustice, empower social groups and speak for the disadvantaged with their art. In the form of art and social movement, they have even managed to open conversations for such issues as environmental protection and heritage conservation. It is truly inspiring to see how they have flourished everywhere in recent years.
In response to the current surge in community arts, we consider this the right time to organize forums and workshops, gathering together the local and overseas community arts participants and scholars to share experience with each other and build up a strong network, as well as conducting in-depth studies of some complex issues relating to community arts. Meanwhile, we also look forward to acquainting more people, including those having no previous knowledge of community arts, with the fact that art can in truth be a daily necessity that is so captivating and bears such a profound social significance.
Under the auspicious of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation, it is my great pleasure to see that MA and BA Programme in Cultural Management and Centre for Cultural Studies of the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong
can, at long last, fulfill the wish of organizing such forums and workshops. I hereby express my gratitude to the speakers and our hard-working staff. I can still recall that, when I first invited the participants to deliver talks, share their experience or engage in organizing the event, nearly everyone agreed to offer help without a second thought, which clearly reflects the altruism and generosity inherent in community arts. Finally, I would like to thank the participants for joining this event, including the students coming all the way from Taiwan. I hope that this event can plant a seed for the future, truly allowing art to play its full role.
Prof. Ho Hing Kay Oscar
Programme Director, MA and BA Programme in Cultural Management, CUHK
論壇日程 Programme Schedule
Keynote Speech 主題演講
Making Arts Meaningful: Recent development of Community arts in HK
HO Hing Kay Oscar何慶基
（The Chinese University of Hong Kong香港中文大學）
As Hong Kong increasingly becomes the exhibition and wholesale centre of Asian art, together with the strong support from the Government in the development of cultural tourism and creative industry, art is reduced more and more into a mere commodity, its social function and meaning being significantly diminished. Art was originally a necessity for the survival of every society and race, but it now is turned into something no more than an ornament that allows creators to express themselves and the collectors to get personal pleasure and brag about their wealth and taste. On the other hand, in response to social injustice, the surge of voices standing up for various rights and even opposition movements, ranging from the conservation of environment and historic buildings to the critique of social injustice, has led to the emergence of a wave of community artworks, indicative of a new conception of the social function of art. Many communities and organizations have developed organically in reaction to the needs expressed by society. This trend will pose a lasting influence on the cultural map of Hong Kong.
Community-based Art in Taiwan
WU Mali 吳瑪悧
（National Kaohsiung Normal University國立高雄師範大學）
The community arts engagements have surged in Taiwan society in recent years, and the forms involved are also richly diverse. Art has been employed as a resistant or experiential tool, in which people are transformed by learning of art. It also has the power to facilitate regional development and social reform. The role and function of art in contemporary society have gradually been taken more seriously, and art also becomes the symbol of democratic society.
The phenomenon of community arts engagement and participation in Taiwan is closely related to the lifting of martial law in 1987 as well as the emergence of community building, public art installation and advocacy of cultural citizenship right since 1990s. As a result of these policies, artists-in-residence in both community and school campus has become more and more common. Community theatre, theatre-in-education, community video recording, illustration and soundscape have all become an endeavor to empower people through art. They all play a crucial role in the understanding of local culture, learning of art, enrichment of life, fostering of publicness, etc. In a way, this top-down and bottom-up cultural model interpenetrates and forms a civil community through art.
Bishan Project: Art Production and Social Engineering
OU Ning 歐寧
（Curator, Rural Reconstruction Practitioner策展人、鄉村建設工作者）
Art production in the Bishan Project is rooted in rural culture, and has arisen from a reflection on local art institutions and practices. Art in China today is an extremely lively and flourishing field of endeavor, yet it has been increasingly stifled by the public authorities and commercialism. Institutional mechanisms such as biennales, galleries, auctions and art expositions, which are outgrowths of European and North American museum systems, while vast in their global reach, have already been reduced to urban and national brands for the purpose of marketing, or even carnivalesque forums for commercial trading and financial investment. Art production has been relegated to the assembly line to obey the law of supply and demand, while the power of creativity and social critique are further diluted. Art production and circulation are concentrated in urban areas associated with economic development and high population densities, leading to the highly uneven distribution of production values, which by no means favors border regions or rural areas, and ultimately to the injustice caused by regional imbalance. Cities possess a surfeit of cultural resources and opportunities while cultural famine ravages border regions and rural areas, which is a pattern duplicated on a macro scale by the globalized political economy.
Public Art: Engaging Communities, Claiming Space
（Forecast Public Art）
Public art is about people—creative individuals and communities—in an experimental dialogue. It’s an aesthetic and social inquiry into what makes everyday life more interesting, more meaningful, more livable. During the past two decades, as more artists from all different disciplines begin exploring the public sphere and collaborating with other sectors, the field has expanded exponentially. Today, artists around the world are moving beyond simply placing works of art in public places; they are leading and facilitating inventive engagements with communities, often working toward common goals and common good.
I will present a new, expansive definition of public art and share my thoughts about artists as change agents, as creative, collaborative citizens. Artists animate spaces, strengthen communities and invigorate our daily lives. They can bring people together, stimulate dialogues and contribute to public health. In essence, they are cultural community developers.
A cultural revolution is taking place around the world as more and more communities recognize that cultural resources and assets are essential to livability. Over the past decade the public art field has moved from the margins to the center of this important cultural shift.
Public art today is a broad spectrum of activities, a vibrant realm of possibility for communities large and small, urban and rural. Public art is about connecting creative practices with the needs, concerns and aspirations of communities, helping build a more caring, capable and sustainable world—not because art intrinsically contributes to that end, but because art has been successfully used to advance specific social, economical and cultural definitions of community health.
藝術就是指人們 富有創意的個人及社群 共同參與一場充滿實驗性質的對話。它以美學及社會的角度，探問究竟什麼可以令日常生活變得更有趣、更有意義、更值得享受。過去二十年，多了來自不同界別的藝術家開展對公共領域的探討，並與其他行業攜手合作，致使公共藝術界得以迅速擴展。現今，世界不同地方的藝術家，不再只限於將藝術作品置放在公眾地方；他們更主動以創新的形式投入社群及促進互動，並往往朝著共同目標和理想進發。
Building an Effective Arts Organization
Shiree TENG 鄧式怡
An effective arts organization involves being clear on mission, vision, purpose, body of practice and knowing the impact we’re creating in the community. Knowing these core identity elements of the organization, we need to build an effective communications strategy to reach constituents and funders. Once a communications strategy is developed, the organization is positioned to compete for funding, staff, volunteers and visibility.