Research & Impact
A new systematic approach to Intangible Cultural Heritage preservation and education
Jointly presented by Lingnan University and the Hong Kong Arts Centre (HKAC), and with the financial support of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the knowledge transfer project “Jockey Club ICH+ Innovative Heritage Education Programme” aims to promote the transmission of the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of Hong Kong by raising awareness through education. The project is aimed at a wide range of beneficiaries: secondary students as well as the general public. Beginning in August 2018 and running for a period of 4.5 years, the project will introduce ICH programmes – for secondary students and the general public respectively – and hold related events.
The project is designed to redefine ICH, “practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage,” by focusing on its transmission. To this end the project integrates “Education”, “Revitalization and Research” as well as “Curation and Audience-building”. It will promote a deeper understanding of local ICH among Hong Kong youths through experiential learning, through the preservation and collation of ICH records that define Hong Kong’s cultural origin, and through the revitalisation of Hong Kong’s ICH by combining traditional craft with contemporary art.
There are two core programmes: “Pass It On@Secondary” and “Pass It On@Tertiary”. The project’s overall operation will be overseen by Prof Lau Chi-Pang — Professor of History and Programme Coordinator of the Hong Kong & South China Historical Research Programme at Lingnan. Prof Lau, who also holds positions at a range of organisations such as Director at the Hong Kong Local Records Office, Editor-in-Chief of the Comprehensive Records of Hong Kong and Chairman of Advisory Committee on Built Heritage Conservation will bring a wealth of experience into the project with his team.
The backbone of this project will be the traditional artisans, masters of ICH arts, contemporary art practitioners, their apprentices and trainers, as well as Lingnan staff who will collaborate to educate students and the public, sharing knowledge, theories and skill sets relating to ICH.
Inherited from ancestors and passed down the generations, ICH is a treasure trove that benefit different generations of the Hong Kong population. The project’s target groups and expected beneficiaries cover local junior secondary school students and members of the general public across different locations and districts. In “Pass It On@Secondary” junior secondary school students will learn from staff members of Lingnan, master artisans and art educators. This education programme revolves particularly around nine ICH items, including cheongsam tailoring, paper-cutting, paper crafting, among others that embody local traditional culture and carry significant historical, literary, artistic, scientific, technological or art and craft values.
In partnership with schools all around Hong Kong, Prof Lau plans on delivering 840 classes over 4.5 years taking the STEAM education approach to benefit 168,000 students. Around 40 schools will be involved by August 2020, and the number will double by 2022. Parallel to “Pass It On@Secondary, the “Pass It On@Tertiary” programme will be held by the HKAC to train- the-trainer to be ICH tutors with academic support from Lingnan. These two programmes, coupled with other events such as the ICH Summit, ICH Event-based showcases and ICH Tours, will benefit an estimated total of 310,000 people.
It is planned that the project will reach some of its key milestones in its initial phase. The first year classes under the “Pass It On@Secondary” programme have already begun in early November. By the end of May 2019, 40 ICH courses will be conducted at secondary schools, while teaching kits will be designed and developed. Along the way, meetings in the form of focus group will be held with teachers, and oral history interviews with ICH masters will be conducted for documentation purposes. In the future, this project will hopefully lead to heightened community awareness to pass on the ICH that Hong Kong people are proud of.