Cultural Diversity in Hong Kong Arts Education: From Policy to Practice and Research
Hong Kong’s cultural policy envisions its citizens living lives celebrated by cultural pursuit, their Chinese-grounded identity enriched by other cultures. Meanwhile, its education policy is a commitment aimed at ensuring that all students are fully prepared to meet the work and life challenges of the future. The two meet via arts education, defined as arts and cultural education and formally recognised as fostering the necessary skills of appreciation, creativity and expression, thereby enabling the cultural literacy of individuals and society to flourish. Supported through policy documents by the relevant bodies, notions of cultural diversity within Hong Kong arts education are addressed and encouraged primarily via the creation and nurturing of partnerships, among the stated emphases being the reinforcement of the existing arts curricula and the establishment of cultural and artistic links between schools and the wider community. Prominent examples include the School Culture Day Scheme, the Arts Experience Scheme for Senior Secondary Students and the Arts Ambassadors-in-School Scheme. However, policy is as much about what is enacted as what is intended. Given the similarity of their rationales, of increasing interest to researchers is the potential for cultural and arts education policies to synergise in ways that can result in the accrual of mutual benefits among the different stakeholders, in turn enabling issues such as cultural participation and consumption, as well as accessibility to cultural education, to be more effectively addressed. This chapter examines the case of Hong Kong in order to reveal the extent to which an arts education policy that suggests possibilities for implementation—as opposed to stating a mandatory approach—is both conceptualised and communicated by its policymakers, together with investigating ways that the arts curriculum is being operationalised by those tasked with its delivery. To this end, the focus is on a series of collaborative projects between The Education University of Hong Kong’s Department of Cultural and Creative Arts and local primary and secondary schools, all of which have investigated the issue of cultural diversity and culturally diverse practices through the lens of initiatives aimed at introducing students to Cantonese opera. These examples are framed within the work being carried out in the broader areas of policymaking and practice in Hong Kong, in the process highlighting those directions that are likely to repay further investigation as the (arts) education and cultural sectors become ever more closely aligned.
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