Exhibition 16–24/1 at the Jao Tsung-I Academy.

Virtual exhibition:

Culture Passing Down (Block F): https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=xrtx1u3KzEB
Merging into the Tradition (Block G): https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=Rp37QPfiMTR

This is exhibition is not an attempt to ‘create’ culture or ‘preserve’ heritage. The works are a part of people’s lives, given time to take root and mature.

I grew up spending much time with uncles and aunts, grandpas and grandmas on both my parents’ sides. They spoke Teochew Weh (潮州話) more than half of the time, and sometimes directly to us kids as if we understand. Without any conscious effort, we picked up enough for daily…

As I write this piece, it feels I am developing further the ideas from To Community Artist: You Know More Than You Realize from a few weeks ago.

It is always easier to depend on the spoke language when researching and assessing the community arts. However, it is common knowledge that important things also happen non-verbally.

Because in the community arts, we are trying not to be ‘teaching’, ‘explaining’ or ‘directing’ with words, artists may use every other means to achieve similar goals. One can find such examples in cross-cultural settings.

Trips to Bangalore, India

First time there, I was…

Causes of Stress for Community Artists

The last entry in Hiking, Music and Dinner Conversation, I wrote about an overnight campsite retreat with fellow community artists. The relaxing atmosphere where we chatted about life, played badminton, and made music, sometimes veering off into work related discussion, make me regret not having started this years ago.

Of course, when the idea came up a decade ago, I was thinking about ‘productive’ retreats where we would talk about work and the future of the organization. Perhaps it never materialized because no one was feeling up to back-to-back meetings disguised as ‘retreat’.


Addressing emotional and physical toll of community artists

Last week an art therapist friend told me about importance of self-care. I must admit, I think about it from time to time, but I rarely act on it.

In January of 2019, I organized a retreat for around 7 community artists to Cheung Chau (長洲). The two-day-one-night schedule took a lot of juggling: recreation, relaxed hike, quiet time, hotpot, dessert and whatever conversations that might arise. Yes, I decided that resting was the focus of the retreat.

How do we capture the process of photography?

Readers will probably realize that I do not know enough about photography to assess participation in photography. This is exactly my point, whereas assessment for many other artforms has greater similarity, photography is different. I welcome any literature that suggests assessment methods.

Recently I had a chat with a photographer who do participatory work in community projects. It was a conversation about how to assess projects that use photography.

Photo courtesy of Art for All

Assessing participatory projects

When assessing a project where people are facilitated to draw, there are a number of things happening in the process…

On ‘The Community Musician’s Doing-Knowing’ by Dr. Jo Gibson

This is the second piece inspired from zoom conference I participated in on community music. See the first one here: A Simpler Wording Than ‘Positionality’ for Community Arts Facilitators.

Last week I mentioned that my research interest is not specific to any single artform. Instead, I like to see if a certain theory for a specific form can be applied to others. (This piece’s original title was ‘A Concept for Multiple Artforms in the Community Arts’.)

Attending zoom conferences designed for a European-North American timezone in Hong Kong is quite exhausting…

Many community artists around me avoid academic terms, that’s what got translating them to everyday language.

Recently I participated in a very engaging conference organized by Catholic University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt in Germany, with presenters mostly from UK (including a Welsh whom I pronounced her name incorrectly), Ontario Canada, and Germany.

Note: Community Arts is a term often used to include various forms of community-based participatory forms including music, dance and theatre.

I like the format of the conference. Participants watch the presentations on YouTube (highly recommended), we then enter zoom, and are put into separate rooms for discussion before convening to…

Edited transcript of a presentation at the Asian Pacific Community Music Network Conference 2020 in HK (on zoom)

Why is it a good time to establish such a Catalogue? Looking back at the last two decades, the community arts has become better and more sophisticated in Hong Kong, receiving increased recognition and resource; to a point that it is becoming a gimmick. However, within this growth, there are mismatched languages and expectations among stakeholders; behind which signals a lack of discourse and development.

For example, the social welfare sector transitioned early from conventional art activities to participatory formats. Being government-run…

Originally published and translated in Artomity Winter 2019/2020


Older adults 60 to 90 year-old from 10 districts participate in the Jockey Club ‘Community Remixing’ Music Project to compose, record and perform original pieces, 2019. Photo courtesy of Centre for Community Cultural Development.

“Is [sic] the community arts becoming too close to the establishment?” my fellow contributor Queenie Liu asked me during the writers’ panel at the launch of Art Readers on Art — Hong Kong (I), a new bilingual volume by seven local artists and scholars. All seven were in attendance, including art historian Linda Lai Chiu Han and artist Ho Siu Kee. Liu’s chapter is on political art, while mine looks at the experiential side of participation in community art, defined here as a practice in which the art-making process aims to…

Originally published and translated in Artomity Autumn 2018


References at the end


… is no rational reason that a report from an organisation that claims to unite Hong Kong through art should ignore the comprehensive framework that it has built. It suggests the report believes that all six areas can be reduced to Health and Wellbeing, or that art has no impact in other areas.

The rationale behind this argument emerges in chapter 2 of the report, Arts Therapy, and its Efficacy on Persons with Dementia, in Rehabilitation, and with SEN, which represents a misplaced dependence on measurable…

Samson Wong

Community/socially-engaged arts critiques and reflections from HK

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