Managing our past, present and future art and cultural heritage assets
The Hong Kong Government’s 2022-23 budget statement included significant financial backing for the SAR’s creative and cultural heritage sectors. The resulting demand for skilled practitioners this boost will unleash is one of the reasons why the September 2022 launch of the Master of Arts in Arts and Cultural Heritage Management (MAACHM) programme run in partnership by the School of Graduate Studies at Lingnan University and the University of Lincoln’s Lincoln International Business School, is so timely.
Spanning East and West, this exciting new dual degree will encompass the relationship between culture and society, and cultural economies and the arts. The programme will focus, in particular, on visual culture, film and theatre, sound and music, heritage, management, politics, law, communications and ethics.
Graduates from the one-year full-time MAACHM programme will gain two qualifications, one from each university.
The structure of the programme
The MAACHM curriculum integrates the theories and practices of arts management, cultural heritage policy, curatorial practice, art projects, entrepreneurial initiatives, and professional training. Students on the programme will get the chance to put theory into practice and apply their knowledge to tackle real-world problems. Through an internship, as well as workshops, they will also be able to experience professional interaction with art historians, collectors and museum professionals.
Increasingly, art works are being created and presented in digital forms, and heritage is becoming a digital asset, with music, oral histories, writing, film and art stored in this form.
“Students will, therefore, need to understand the broad range of media that heritage and art might be stored on, and how to digitise heritage and art,” explains the MAACHM programme director at Lingnan, Professor Creighton Connolly. But, he believes, there will still be an essential role for those skilled in the management of physical artifacts and structures.
During their first academic semester, students will take four required courses at Lingnan. These courses are: Critical Issues for Cultural and Heritage Management; History, Heritage and Regional Perspectives; Cultural Policy and Practice, and; Arts Exhibition and Performance Management.
During the rest of the year, which will be spent at the University of Lincoln, MAACHM students will take courses in: Community Organisation, Sustainability and Development; Research Methods for Tourism, Events and Hospitality; The Visitor Experience at Cultural and Heritage Attractions, and; Digitising Cultural and Heritage Collections.
To graduate, students will also be required to complete a master's thesis.
The value of the East-West partnership
Both Lingnan University and University of Lincoln bring first-class faculty, as well as access to important art and cultural heritage resources, to their collaboration.
Lingnan has strong partnerships with a number of local private and public organisations.
“The (MAACHM) programme is also aligned with Lingnan’s strategic focus for the next six years, in terms of research and teaching,” notes Prof Connolly. One of the goals of Lingnan’s strategic development plan for the period 2022-2028 is to develop more arts and cultural heritage related programmes, including dual-degree postgraduate programmes with overseas institutions.
While Lincoln, and the surrounding area, is home to a number of exceptional heritage sites, including it’s 1000-year-old cathedral and castle. These will provide useful physical settings for MAACHM students, Prof Connolly points out. “The University of Lincoln also has established expertise in running taught masters degree programmes in the field of cultural heritage management,” he adds.
A growing range of career opportunities
The MAACHM programme is an ideal foundation for anyone intending to pursue either advanced study in cultural heritage management and conservation, or a professional career centred on museums, or in curatorial and other art-related roles, whether locally, nationally or internationally.
In terms of careers, the exponential growth of the art market, and the creation of new cultural assets, such as Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural Center and the M+ Museum, have created a massive demand in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and the region, for professionals who understand the cross-sector and interdisciplinary nature of both cultural organisations and infrastructure.
In his 2022-23 Budget Speech, Financial Secretary Paul Chan emphasised Hong Kong’s unique position in relation to China and the West with regard to the promotion of arts and culture. With Hong Kong already ranked as the second largest art market in the world, Mr Chan made clear his desire to promote, and broaden, the development of the SAR’s arts and culture heritage sectors, and see the latest technology playing an increasing role.
He therefore pledged to spend a total of HK$42 million on the first Hong Kong Performing Arts Market, over the next two years. When it came to tech, HK$30 million is earmarked for the development of arts technology, an additional HK$10 million for the Arts Capacity Development Funding Scheme which supports the use of arts technology by small and medium-sized arts groups, and HK$85 million, each year, to turn the East Kowloon Cultural Centre into a major arts technology venue. While a further HK$600 million will be used to implement the Cultural and Heritage Sites Local Tour Incentive Scheme.
- Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony between Lingnan University and Hong Kong Arts Centre (12 May 2022)