HK Chief Secretary, UK Culture & Tourism Minister Agree To Strengthen Partnership On New Cultural Exchanges, Arts Programs
Over the last few years, as China has intensified its focus on "soft power" initiatives like the Confucius Institute, an interesting trend has emerged, in which "art diplomacy" has joined other forms of cultural exchange in paving the way for more dialogue about controversial issues. This year, Beijing -- for the first time -- lent a number of 18th century works to the National Museum in Taipei, a move that many interpreted as reflecting the gradually warming ties between the two governments. Now Hong Kong, in its continued efforts to be the top arts center not only in south China but for all of Southeast Asia (though it has some tough competition in Singapore), is reaching out in much the same way to its former colonial ruler, Great Britain.
Today, the Hong Kong government's official website features a story about Chief Secretary Henry Tang's meeting with UK Culture & Tourism Minister Margaret Hodge in London, and the agreements set between the two governments to increase cultural exchange and cooperative promotion efforts. It seems that art diplomacy will, at least for the foreseeable future, be one of the most effective ways to increase discussion and bridge the cultural gaps that often plague international relations:
Mr Tang...briefed Mrs Hodge on the progress of the West Kowloon Cultural District project. They shared experiences in promoting arts and culture.
To learn more about the planning and operation of comprehensive arts and cultural venues, Mr Tang visited the Barbican Centre and the Tate Modern arts gallery.
The Barbican Centre is a multi-arts centre, featuring art, film, music, theatre, dance, education and residential areas. Mr Tang was updated on the complex's evolution and development over more than 25 years, and its mode of governance.
Tate Modern is Britain's national gallery of international contemporary art, created in 2000 from a disused power station. It attracts more than 5 million visitors a year. Mr Tang was briefed on Tate Modern's expansion plan.