Inauguration of the Centre for Culture and Development at CUHK
With a vision to promote the synergy between culture and development through excellence and leadership in research, the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies (CRS) at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has recently established the Centre for Culture and Development. The Centre was inaugurated on 18 April by the Guest of Honour, Mrs Carrie Lam, JP, Secretary for Development of the HKSAR Government. Other officiating guests included Professor Kenneth Young, CUHK Pro-Vice-Chancellor; Dr Richard Engelhardt, Senior Advisor to the UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture; Mr John Howkins, celebrated author; Professor Lai Chi-tim, Chairman of CRS Department; and Professor Desmond Hui, Professor of CRS Department and Director of the new Centre.
About 80 academics, government officials, legislators and personalities from the cultural and development sectors attended the ceremony, which was followed by a public inaugural lecture entitled Creative Ecology in Culture and Development by Mr Howkins. Mr Howkins, author of Creative Economy (2001) and Creative Ecologies: where thinking is a proper job (2009), offered a new model of creativity and innovation based on ecological principles, showing why some ideas prosper and others just fall by the wayside, and suggesting ways to apply the model in practice.
In the past decades, culture has evolved as a core issue of international and regional politics and policies in the development of heritage conservation, cultural and creative industries and culture-led city regeneration. Manifestation of this global trend is evident in Hong Kong with rising concern for cultural issues in socio-economical, cultural and political contexts.
During the inauguration ceremony, Mrs Carrie Lam, Secretary for Development of the HKSAR Government, congratulated the University on setting up the Centre, ‘The centre’s scope of interest tallies very much with the Development Bureau’s commitments on heritage conservation and preserving local characteristics and culture in urban renewal programmes. I am sure that through the concerted effort of the government, academia and the private sector, we will be able to provide a quality city life for the people of Hong Kong.’
Dr Richard Engelhardt, representative speaker from the International Advisory Board of the Centre, also emphasized the timeliness of the establishment of the Centre and its critical role not only for Hong Kong but also for the regional and international community. ‘Hong Kong has produced a model study of creative industries and creativity index in 2003 and 2005 which have significant impacts for other parts of the world. It is important to continue Hong Kong’s leading position in research with this new Centre.’ Other members of the International Advisory Board include renowned figures in culture and development from different parts of the world, such as Mr John Howkins, Mr Charles Landry, Mr Lluís Blonet and Mr Rajeev Sethi.
Professor Kenneth Young affirmed the University’s support for the Centre in using its research expertise to shed light on the synergies as well as tensions between culture and development. The Centre has been commissioned by the Central Policy Unit of the HKSAR Government to conduct a research project titled ‘Study on the Manpower Situation and Needs of the Arts and Cultural Sector in Hong Kong’, which will be completed later this year. It is also actively involved in other international cultural and development projects with UNESCO.