Creating a Global Cultural City via Public Participation in the Arts: Conversations with Hong Kong’s Leading Arts and Cultural Administrators


Patrick Lo, EdD (Author) – Associate Professor, Faculty of Library, Information & Media Science, University of Tsukuba, Japan
Wei-En Hsu (Author) – Associate Professor, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Hong Kong; Accomplished pianist, organist, conductor, répétiteur and composer
Stephanie H. S. Wu (Author) – Freelance Writer, Hong Kong
J. Travis, PhD ( Author) – Visiting Fellow, City University of Hong Kong, Media & Marketing Communications
Dickson Chiu, PhD (Author) – Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Series: Advances in the Arts
BISAC: ART019010

Book Review – see below for additional reviews

“As Lo conveys throughout the book, Hong Kong is a small but well-developed and diverse international city. With a history that spans from the Qing Dynasty to 100 years of British colonialism to 20th-century modernism, the past centuries have proven that Hong Kong is a city that has changed dramatically. Lo’s interviews provide in-depth insights into the arts, performing arts, and cultural landscape of Hong Kong.” – Tammy Lau, Washington, DC, Music Reference Services Quarterly


Major changes are affecting the cultural sector around the world, and there is a need for new skills and knowledge in arts and cultural administration. This book features insightful interviews with 22 leading arts and cultural directors/CEOs in Hong Kong – discussing the most up-to-date trends and professional practices in this field. The institutions represented in the work are quite diverse, covering art archives, performing arts institutions, and even literary festivals and orchestras, etc. This book is of definite interest to arts and cultural administration professionals who are already practicing in the field, mid-level managers who are aspiring to advance their careers and to become future leaders, as well as general readers who just want to know more about the current state of arts management and the roles that our artists and organizations play in Hong Kong and in the global context.

Table of Contents



Foreword A. Andrew Marsh
Foreword B. Oliver Chou
Foreword C. Tseng Sun Man
Foreword D. Celina Man-Wah Chin


Chapter 1. Winsome Chow, Chief Executive, The Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC); Miranda K.Y. Lee (Co-author)

Chapter 2. Paul Tam, Former Executive Director, Hong Kong Ballet and Chair, Hong Kong Arts Administrators Association

Chapter 3. Dr. Andrew Freris, Chairman, The Chopin Society of Hong Kong; Yalan Yang, Ruilun Liu, Tingzi Tang
and Yiwen Shao (Co-authors)

Chapter 4. Professor Adrian Walter, Former Director (CEO), The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts

Chapter 5. Wei-En Hsu, (Associate Professor (Répétiteur/Collaborative Piano), The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts)

Chapter 6. Michael MacLeod, Chief Executive (2011-2019), Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra

Chapter 7. Leanne Nicholls, Founder, Executive and Artistic Director, City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong

Chapter 8. Grace Lang, Programme Director, Hong Kong Arts Festival; Yihong Zhang, Ruiqing Cai, Guo Cheng,
Fan Gao and Shi Yin (Co-authors)

Chapter 9. Kelwin Kwan, Vice President and Founder, Choi Chang Sau Qin Making Society

Chapter 10. Dr. Florian Knothe, Director, Museum and Art Gallery, University of Hong Kong

Chapter 11. Dr. Isabelle Frank, Director, Indra and Harry Banga Gallery, City University of Hong Kong

Chapter 12. Malcolm Litchfield, Former Publisher and Director, Hong Kong University Press

Chapter 13. Veronica Castillo, Deputy Director, Collection and Exhibition Services, M+ Museum for Visual Culture, West Kowloon Cultural District

Chapter 14. Richard Wesley, Museum Director, Hong Kong Maritime Museum

Chapter 15. Jonathan Tong, Director of Po Leung Kuk and Sally Yeung, Curator, Po Leung Kuk Museum

Chapter 16. David Smith, Former Head of Collections and Digital Experience, Asia Art Archive

Chapter 17. Connie Lam, Executive Director, Hong Kong Arts Centre; Lan Gao, Yawei Xin, Yiwei Yu
and Yifei Zhang (Co-authors)

Chapter 18. Dr. Fiona Chung, Former Festival Director, Hong Kong International Literary Festival; Tak-Yee Cheung (Co-author)

Chapter 19. Dr. Charlotte Bonham-Carter, Programme Director, Culture and Enterprise Programme, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London

Chapter 20. Louis K.L. Yu, Former Executive Director, Performing Arts, West Kowloon Cultural District

Chapter 21. Bernard Charnwut Chan, Chairman, Hong Kong Palace Museum Limited

Chapter 22. Vivienne Chow, Cultural Journalist and Critic Representing Hong Kong; Miranda K.Y. Lee (Co-author)

Commentary – Bringing It All Together
(Dr. Patrick Lo – Faculty of Library, Information & Media Science, University of Tsukuba, Japan)

Conclusion – Participatory Culture in Hong Kong — The Need for Arts and Entertainment in a Pandemic
(Dr. J. Travis – Visiting Fellow, City University of Hong Kong, Media & Marketing Communications)


About the Authors


More Reviews

“The book Creating the Global Cultural City via Public Participation in the Arts: Conversation with Hong Kong’s Leading Arts and Cultural Administrators describes the success story of Hong Kong, not only as an example of its transformation into a global leader in the creative industry and arts, but also describes the public’s involvement in the cocreation of the vibrant cultural and arts organism of Hong Kong. It is extremely interesting and thought provoking for readers from our region to read a book that describes this success story in a completely different institutional, social and administrative context. It is an interesting perspective on Hong Kong’s transformation into one of the world’s most important centres of the creative industry and visual arts.” To read the full review published in Cultural Management: Science and Education (CMSE) Journal (Vol. 5, No. 2, 2021), click here. – Michal Plaček, Charles University, Prague (Czech Republic)

“The book features 22 brief personal and professional biographies of prominent leaders that help the reader to understand each career path to the current arts management position. Through open-ended questions and a conversational style, the interviews illuminate personal leadership styles, arts and culture sponsors and funding sources, staff sizes and  organizational structures, the biggest challenges and rewards facing the arts in Hong Kong today, and leaders’ hopes and plans for the future. Interwoven in the interviews are the current goals and strategies of many of the city’s professional, academic and community-based arts organizations. Through the interview subjects, the reader learns about many of the well-established arts organizations in the region, and the uniqueness and similarities of the arts administration profession in Hong Kong today compared to in the past, as well as with other regions in Asia, Europe and the United States. The book also makes a compelling argument for why Hong Kong is a global cultural city.” To read the full review published in the American Journal of Arts Management, click here. – Diane Claussen, DePaul University, Co-Editor of the American Journal of Arts Management 

“This book is certainly an intriguing, educational read from cover to cover, consisting of 22 semi-structured interviews featuring conversations with not only key decision makers in the arts and cultural industry including three executive administrators of governmental departments and committees and seven CEOs of major performing arts companies in Hong Kong, but also three academics of related disciplines, five organizers of museums and galleries, three managers from nonprofit local institutes and archives as well as one cultural critic. The educational background and working experiences of those interviewees exhibit a wide spectrum of training in related disciplines, managerial expertise and various skill-sets including solving problems while thinking on their feet, business-related abilities such as marketing and lobbying for sponsorships just to name a few, as well as working collaboratively with artists and stakeholders while leading a team of colleagues for arts and cultural projects…” Read more >>> – Ti-wei Chen, Independent Researcher, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

“The book is titled based on the focus on arts participation and could serve as a complementary text for introductory courses in arts administration and leadership…The dialogic structure of the chapters helps to immerse the reader in the world of senior arts administration.  I enjoyed reading most of the conversational narratives provided by senior arts administrators. Their firsthand knowledge of the institutions and their understanding of the subject matter are applicable elsewhere in the world.” To read the full review published in the International Journal of Arts Management, click here. – Jasper Hsieh, Director, Graduate Institute of Arts, Management and Entrepreneurship, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Taiwan

“After the anthology published in 2017 that introduced us to the world of Asian collections and archives, a new work has now been published. “Creating a Global Cultural City” contains interviews with some of Hong Kong’s most important cultural figures. And like the previous volume, this one is well worth reading, as the authors have once again managed to extract refreshing, stimulating and thought-provoking insights from the interviewees.” – Dr. Harald Peter Kraemer, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

“Rarely would a monograph offer such a panoramic view of Hong Kong’s art landscape as this one does. As readers open the chapters and read the “Creating a Global Cultural City”, they are rewarded with rich information about what representative cultural institutions in the city are doing, but the visions and characters of those cultural leaders, entrepreneurs, curators, directors, and administrators who are running the organisations. Writing in the style of a conversational narrative, Dr. Patrick Lo and his writing team have successfully made the city’s cultural map accessible reading.” – Dr. Patrick MOK Kin-Wai, Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Design, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

“Interviews with these leading arts and cultural administrators offer useful insights and valuable sharings that mark an important oral history of the Hong Kong arts scene in their times. “Creating a Global Cultural City via Public Participation in the Arts: Conversations with Hong Kong’s Leading Arts and Cultural Administrators” is a must- read primer for anyone who is already, who aspires to be, or who wants to know more about the manager in a theatre, museum, dance company, or orchestra….You will gain useful insights and learn from the best.” – Heidi Lee Executive Director, Hong Kong Ballet, Hong Kong

“Hong Kong is a city full of diverse cultures, and its arts and cultural development have always been like an undiscovered treasure. This new book “Creating a Global Cultural City via Public Participation in the Arts: Conversations with Hong Kong’s Leading Arts and Cultural Administrators” brought by Dr. Patrick Lo and his writing team is bound to provide an in-depth look at them, bringing a comprehensive and enlightening reading experience for all art lovers.”  – HO Ho-Tak Fashion Archivist, HKDI Knowledge Centres Hong Kong Design Institute, Hong Kong

“You know what university professors do when they have a question about their research? They ask librarians and archivists! This book is a compendium of what some super cool librarians have to say about the arts and cultural scene of Hong Kong.” – Professor Lian-Hee Wee, Department of English Language and Literature, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

“Putting the final nail in the coffin surrounding the debate as to whether Hong Kong is a “cultural desert” or not, this collection concludes that debate through an extensive and thoroughly engaging selection of interviews, essays and other enlightenments. These readings not only highlight the diversity and extent of art and culture in Hong Kong but also bring to light the unique characters who provide the vision and leadership that has brought Hong Kong art and culture to its zenith today.” – Peter E. Sidorko, University Librarian, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

“A rare look into the vital public engagement work of Hong Kong’s arts and cultural administrators, and an invaluable collection of texts for anyone considering a career in arts administration or leadership.” – Professor Ian Alden Russell Director, MA Programme in Cultural Management Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

“Cultural life in Hong Kong is enjoying a renaissance both in terms of the scope of its offerings as well as in the booming of community interest in the arts. This excellent volume of “Conversations with Hong Kong’s Leading Arts and Cultural Administrators” provides must-read insights into this remarkable transformation from eminent cultural professionals who are pro-actively contributing to its momentum and success.” – Jeffrey Shaw Chair Professor of Media Art School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

“Dr. Patrick Lo’s book is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in understanding the thriving arts and culture landscape of Hong Kong. Through insightful interviews with a wide range of leading figures, this book builds a unique picture through the shared experiences of the key players in the arts and culture sector.” – Professor Louis Nixon, Director, Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

“A deftly curated range of interviews brilliantly surveying the well-oiled mechanisms at work within the realms of creative arts and culture in Hong Kong, and simultaneously conveying the pioneering passions, creativity and community spirit of those administrators at its beating heart. A valuable reference for those aspiring to, or travelling towards a career within the sector, and refreshingly relevant for anyone anywhere, already immersed within it.” – Professor Laurence Wood MA (RCA) Associate Head of Department (Visual Arts) Department of Cultural and Creative Arts, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

“For anyone interested in the rich history and current realities of the arts and cultural infrastructure in Hong Kong, Dr. Patrick Lo provides a long-awaited resource. Drawing together interviews with key cultural practitioners, the book builds a detailed picture of the arts and cultural landscape in Hong Kong, its unique character, its challenges and its very particular opportunities. Giving overdue attention to Hong Kong’s vibrant arts ecosystem, this book is a ‘must-read’ for arts managers and students alike.” – Professor Suzanne MacLeod, University of Leicester, UK

“What an exciting snapshot of some of the key individuals and institutions comprising Hong Kong’s vibrant cultural sector! A valuable entry point for anyone seeking to understand the city’s cultural ecology.” – Alison M. Friedman, Former Artistic Director, Performing Arts, West Kowloon Cultural District

“How exciting to see the publication of Creating a Global Cultural City via Public Participation in the Arts: Conversations with Hong Kong’s Leading Arts and Cultural Administrators! The multi-faceted arts and culture in Hong Kong is a truly unique phenomenon, not seen elsewhere in the world. This book gives us a rare opportunity to peek inside the development of this great wonder.” – Bright Sheng, The Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor of Music, School of Music, Theater and Dance, University of Michigan, Helmut and Anna Pao Sohmen Professor-at-Large, Institute for the Advanced Studies, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

“This book provides the most up-to-date, first-hand accounts of the best practices carried out by generations of art and cultural administrators in Hong Kong. A must-read publication for those who are interested in pursuing a career in this field.” – Dr. Desmond Wong, Acting Executive Director, The Conservancy Association Centre for Heritage (CACHe)

“Hong Kong has long aspired to become a world leading creative and media city. Curiously, we have not heard the true voice of policymakers and major practitioners of the creative sectors on how the city has recently transformed itself into a thriving hub of arts and culture in East Asia. Creating a Global Cultural City via Public Participation in the Arts: Conversations with Hong Kong’s Leading Arts and Cultural Administrators has filled that void. A must read for anyone who wants to have a deeper knowledge of Hong Kong’s creative and cultural industries.” – Professor Emilie Yueh Yu Yeh, Lam Wong Yiu Wah Chair Professor of Visual Studies, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Director of Centre for Film and Creative Industries, Lingnan University, Hong Kong

“This is an important book for three reasons: Firstly, it is a collection of excellent conversations with senior people engaged in arts administration; secondly, the conversations are all about the same experiment to grow the arts communities in Hong Kong into world excellence and finally, the driving force behind this volume is Dr. Patrick Lo who is a leading proponent of this interview approach. So this is a unique and powerful book. It is so worthwhile to read or simply to dabble. It will reward you.” – Steve O’Connor, Adjunct Professor, Former University Librarian HKPolyU

“As with other key works by Patrick Lo, this book focuses on interviews with key people in the field, in this case 21 of Hong Kong’s most important cultural figures, with a 22nd contribution from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London (a partner with Hong Kong University in an MA in Arts and Cultural Enterprise). The result is a rich picture of what is going on there, and how the future is envisioned. The publication is described at various times as a ‘primer’, a ‘compendium’ and a ‘reference tool’; it is all these things and more, providing a series of case studies based on real-life experiences that will resonate internationally as well as nationally and be of particular value to leaders and managers in the field. I recommend Creating a Global Cultural City to all involved in the arts and, indeed, more broadly, for there is much in this title that is of central relevance to leaders and managers across all sectors…” To read the full review published in the Creative Industries Journal, click hereDavid Baker, David Baker Consulting, Halifax Organ Academy, Riga Rose, Scout Close, Mytholmroyd, Near Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, UK

“This book fills a gap in current research: first, illustrating a recent image of Hong Kong arts and cultural landscape; and second, giving a glance at how to run arts organizations from a particular Asian context for future managers. For the theme-related books, there are a few books concerned with artists or cultural policy aspects, but, unfortunately, they are written in traditional Chinese, so English-language writing in this field is a much-needed one to building further dialogue.” To read the full review published in The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society, click here. – Zexun Zhang, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

“The book examines strategic management and leadership and how these concepts are applied in the art and cultural sector through interviews with 22 high-ranking arts administrators from Hong Kong. The read is worth reading for anyone interested in art administration, and practical insights on art management and cultural leadership outside of the western world….  [the authors] fulfilled their promise to offer valuable new insights on arts management in Hong Kong.” To see the full review published in the Journal of Arts & Communities, Volume 13, CLICK HERE>>>  – Djamila Boulil, Part-time teacher

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