From the Creative Industries to a Creative Economy: Implications for General Education in Tertiary Institutions

30 April 2009 (Thursday) 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Venue: DLB802, 8/F, David C. Lam Building, Shaw Campus, HKBU


Since 1997 and the release by the UK government of a series of benchmark studies on the “creative industries”, the 11 industries (design, film, performing arts, digital entertainment etc) which thrive on individual creativity and original content and which have the potential for wealth and job creation, became new economic drivers for many developed countries. In 2008, the creative industries account for 8% of the GDP in the UK, and London is now an international design hub.

In Hong Kong, our government has pondered over the development of the creative industries in the last six years but it was mostly empty talk with no concrete action plan and infrastructural development until recently. The Chief Executive and his Task Force on Economic Challenges agreed a few weeks ago that Hong Kong should develop six economic areas where we have clear advantages, and the creative industries is one of them.

But in other parts of the world, the narrow concept of creative industries has now been developed into a wider and more sophisticated discourse. It has been noted by many academics and policy makers that creativity does not stop at the boundaries of arts, culture or design but should be the lifeblood of every business and every society. In the UK and elsewhere, city mayors are developing “creative cities”, and policy makers are focusing on the development of a “creative economy”.

What does this all mean, and how should educational institutions respond to this paradigm shift? As our 3-3-4 system commences shortly, as Hong Kong will have new economic foci in our post-tsunami days, and as educators will, for the first time, place a heightened emphasis on liberal studies and general education, I will venture to suggest that a diverse culture and arts related general education programme may help our young generation to shed their old mindset and prepare well for the future.

Speakers Biography

Ms. Ada Y K WONG, JP
Chair, Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture
Supervisor, HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity

Ms Ada WONG JP is a practising solicitor and a creative education, sustainable development and cultural advocate. She was an elected politician for over 13 years, from the Urban Council (1995-1999) to Councillor and Chair of the Wan Chai District Council (WCDC) (2000 to 2007).

As a vocal cultural advocate, she was a core member of the People’s Panel for West Kowloon. She founded and chaired the Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture which is now operating the HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity, a driving force behind creative education reform and an incubator for creative talents.

As Chair of WCDC for the last four years, Ada encouraged every day democracy and civic participation. Under her leadership the District Council, she promoted civic engagement, created quality parks, advocated for sustainable development and supported publications to highlight the community’s arts, culture and history.

Ada is a member of the Committee for Performing Arts, Council of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Board of Hong Kong Shue Yan University and Board of the Hong Kong Design Centre. Aside from public service, she is a radio chat show co-host for Radio Television Hong Kong and writes a daily column for Oriental Daily News. She received her BA (Hons) from Pomona College, California, and M Ed from the University of Hong Kong.