Enriches the Cultural Environment with Literature

Case Study: Literary adaptation as a social practice: Enriching the local cultural environment through English drama study and performance


Professor Michael Ingham from the Department of English has creatively adapted a range of English literary and dramatic works for the Hong Kong context, attracting new audiences and enriching the local cultural environment. Drawing on an extensive body of research in literary adaptation and drama education, Prof Ingham has worked closely with local cultural organisations and schools to stage performances, organise play readings, give lectures, and explore new ways of teaching literary texts.


His research has achieved impact by enriching the cultural environment, building the capacity for creative expression and intercultural reflection, extending public discourse and informing educational practices.


Increasing creative expression
Prof Ingham’s outreach work has enriched the cultural environment and built the capacity for creative expression and intercultural reflection by organising public performances and discussions, attended by a broad cross-section of the local public. By exploring the contemporary and local relevance of the themes raised in literary works, these events have also extended public discourse.


Additional pedagogical impacts have been achieved by outreach activities in local schools. These have included including drama training workshops for teachers, and a knowledge transfer project aimed at informing educational practices. In evaluating these activities, it must be appreciated that English is a second language in Hong Kong and that awareness of English drama and performance, whether in education or cultural life more generally, is limited.


Promoting Knowledge Transfer
Prof Ingham has further applied his knowledge of adaptation and performance to exploring new ways of teaching literature in secondary schools. He obtained an internal Knowledge Transfer (KT) grant in June 2017 to explore the use of simulation technology.


As Hong Kong students often find the study of Western literature challenging, the project aimed to stimulate their imaginations via the more visually concrete world of the online experience Second Life. Characters in the form of avatars allowed students to engage with the text, and with filmic adaptations of the original text in ways that would have been impossible without the assistance of a virtual learning environment. Evidence of impact comes from an evaluation report on the project, which found benefits including increased confidence and interest in English among participants.