art, place-making and resilient cities

Last weekend, Hong Kong Baptist University hosted a two day conference titled Art, Place-Making and Resilient Cities. The main themes covered were:

Social Justice and Place-Making Through Art

Art as Urban Metaphor

Resilience: Art as Sustainable Change

Art and Its Publics—What makes a Successful
Public Place?


Thiago Mundano . Anson Mak . John Aiken . Parisa Tehranizadeh .Wang Da Wei . Mary Jane Jacob. Peter Robinson . Jay Pather

The keynoters and panel speakers covered a lot ground. Conversations need to continue in guiding people towards embracing and understanding the necessity and power of the arts in our communities in whatever form they hold.

Apart from the confirmation that public/art/space/place/practice can never be fully defined or agreed upon ; ), some highlights, realizations, inspiration…

  • From the Factories—a website documenting the stories of  artists and creatives utilizing space in the Kwun Tong factories and how things continue to be at odds with the revitalization policies of the government. This was especially interesting as I went on a walking tour last year organized by Hulu Culture to learn more about Kwun Tong’s history.
  • I should read a lot more John Dewey
  • Infecting the City, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Pimp my Carroça‘s movement and spread across the globe
  • Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh—see the sewer cover above? It’s a map of Chandigarh! Merging obsessions…how am I only coming across this now?



There’s been naturepile work happening on Lantau, Hong Kong created by Shekou International School sixth graders on their Week Without Walls trip.

It’s been exciting for me to follow along on their adventures and creations. Have a look here: @morganstudentart and also check out #naturepile. Tag yours as well if you fancy joining in on the fun :).

Lately in the arthouse…

fantastic forests


This exhibit opened last week at the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (JCCAC). I meant to go on opening day but typhoon Nida also made an appearance so I ended up checking it out on Friday after teaching in the neighbourhood. There are activities and demonstrations scheduled throughout the day which you can register for in advance at the front entrance table. It wasn’t very busy when I arrived at 1:40pm so I took a look around at the exhibits and had a go at the tree-ring printing at two. One of the displays talked about the connected network of trees and I just came upon this piece in the New Yorker which is a fascinating read: The Secrets of the Wood Wide Web.

If you have elementary aged kids, they’d enjoy the space and activities so go see it before school starts up again this month.


Also in the neighbourhood…

Down the road from JCCAC are two other places you should check out:

  • Shek Kip Mei Estate—there’s an outdoor covered exhibition area about changes in the housing estate over the years. It’s a fascinating look into Hong Kong History and the Housing Authority.
  • Heritage of Mei Ho House
    Mei Ho House resulted from the 1953 Shek Kip Mei fire. It is now part hostel part musuem. Walk through the building to experience the history of the community and learn how public housing in Hong Kong came about. Closed Mondays.

hello 2016


carmel . chiang mai . vancouver
kenting . ymerbukta . taipei
singapore . san francisco . oslo

Apart from Chiang Mai where I lived for the month of October in 2014, these are a few of the places I was lucky enough to spend time in this past year—being in nature, catching up with old friends, encountering new ones.

naturepiles - 139
2015 concluded in Hong Kong with #naturepile 127


It was strangely a year of equal high highs and low lows. Came across these words recently in The Grand Paradox. Continuing to work on the latter.

Last Import - 1—Wystma/Kierkegaard

This year holds more additions of north american gems to the naturepile collection. East coast (and unexpectedly west again) I’m coming for ya! Midwest, fingers crossed, but I do need to finish up my school photo series. Squeezing in some koala spotting time as well as other projects in the works.

It’ll be an interesting one.

Where will 2016 lead you?

Stop from time to time to reflect, make a naturepile or two, and send some love. Have a creative and adventureful year.


dogs i know

These are finally heading out in the post. I don’t know many dogs which made for a quick series. Much prefer other people’s furry companions.

Social Acupuncture


Social Acupuncture in the Tai Ping Shan Area is part of the West Kowloon Cultural District’s New Works Forum, “a platform for Hong Kong artists working across different fields who are interested in expanding their practice into new areas, to explore innovative ways of creating and performing, thinking and discussing topics around contemporary performances.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about what community art is and how the meeting of history, people and social issues are remembered, shared and celebrated. The event was a good place to start to see what is going on in Hong Kong. How is it that we engage people through the arts to speak up/out and tell their stories? Their “open notebook” session concluded their five day workshop facilitated by Darren O’Donnell. Groups shared their learning journey and project ideas they wanted  to put in place. It’d be interesting to see next steps and what direction the projects are actually taken in.

The Tai Ping Shan area is well worth exploring. The Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences has a walking medical heritage trail map you can pick up and use, follow one of the heritage trails from the Antiquities and Monuments Office, or just go down Ladder street and check out the intersecting streets. Some unique stores around Square Street area as well.



the museum of modern art × coursera

my blind contour of van gogh’s starry night

Giving online courses a go and signed up for Art & Activity: Interactive Strategies for Engaging with Art on Coursera. We’ve just finished week two and it’s been going well. What I’ve enjoyed most so far has been the readings assigned each week which has introduced me to a few more current authors and their research along with the opportunity to revisit some well known education writers. Have been trying out Evernote and Notability for the PDFs but reckon I still prefer holding the articles on paper and being able to write, draw and colour over them. As for the videos, they’re informative but missing that connection of a real person sharing their knowledge and passion with you and feels more like you’re being talked at. The forums are overloaded and you just have to pick and choose where to look and engage. It’s a different kind of dialogue. A great positive of the course is that it’s free, which I find pretty amazing. There was the option of joining Coursera’s Signature Track for a fee to get a verified certificate but I’m putting that towards other learning funds, perhaps grad school…though that amount is merely a drop, if a drop at all, in the bucket ; ). I’m taking the coming year to explore learning + arts in community spaces and this has provided me a glimpse into museum education.

Any notable online courses you’ve taken or come across? I’m considering some design classes on Skillshare for the upcoming months and will see what other offerings are on Coursera.

how it all began

I came across these last month going through my things that were in storage at my sister’s. This was part of a project I did in uni documenting and cataloguing the overlooked in a city and the beginning of my obsession with sewers/grates/covers. Avoiding traffic to collect rubbings in the middle of the street was most memorable.  I’ve gone the quicker route of photographing now and you can see the growing collection here. Doesn’t compare to running around with pads of newsprint and messing about with charcoal though…perhaps something to return to in the future.

hong kong art walk 2013

Favourite artist and work from this year’s Artwalk.  Next year’s date has been set for Wednesday, 12 March 2014. Glad it is back in March :).

when i go forwards

you go backwards and somewhere we will meet.


That’s listening from both ends when you stumble upon a podcast well on its way. Meeting will take place around episode 57 I reckon. Going forwards is much easier.

Things you want to know but didn’t know you wanted to know.  99% Invisible is just brilliant. Fascinating things in this world of ours just waiting to have their story told.

It was the podcast on Kowloon Walled City that caught my eye. We used to live in proximity to it and mum would tell stories from her childhood…about not wanting to but having to wander into the maze to deliver sewing for my grandmother. This, after hiking over a mountain or two to get there, and then again to return home.

Favourite episodes thus far:

13-Maps, they don’t love you like I love you.

Infinite City is a piece of art. Not the ideal book for commuting with so slowly and sporadically reading my way through it. Beautiful maps and beautiful words telling the stories of SF.


28-Movie Title Sequences 

Such potential for being the best part of a movie and definitely sets the tone for what follows. It is being added to the on-going list at school of Art Jobs We Now Know We Can Have.


47-US Postal Service Stamps 

I like that stamps give you an option of being thoughtful with it if you choose. Tiny works of art that complete a piece of mail. Am equally fond of postmarks and postboxes. And so I have to say the National Postal Museum is a pretty awesome place. But then again, I think post offices themselves are pretty amazing too. Like the Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


or the Nsawam Post Office, Ghana.


Which brings me to the fine little tune that concludes podcast 47–the work song, by Ghanaian postal workers at the University of Ghana.


I had to rewind, if that’s even what it’s still called, and make sure I heard it correctly. Yes, Ghanaian.

Go check out the genius that is 99% Invisible.