19 Mar

West Kowloon Performing Arts Team at International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA) Conference

This January, a delegation from West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) attended the ISPA annual conference in New York City. The delegation comprised Artistic Director Performing Arts Alison M Friedman, Head of Dance Anna CY Chan, and Head of Theatre Low Kee Hong.

West Kowloon Performing Arts Team attended the ISPA Conference in New York City in Jan 2018

Friedman is a member of the board of directors of ISPA and was part of this year’s congress planning committee. This was Chan and Low’s first time attending the annual ISPA Congress.

ISPA is a global association of arts management leaders including presenters, performing arts organisations, artist managers, cultural policy groups, funders, consultants and service providers from more than 50 countries.

The 2018 Congress explored the theme Balancing Acts: Art, Community, and Leadership. The intersection of the creation and presentation of the arts, its role in our communities, and the transition to the next generation of arts leaders is a balancing act. As society is molded by many forces, there is a fundamental impact on the arts sector. With these changes, we have an opportunity not only to reflect the shifting values of our broader society but indeed shape them. How will the current and next generation of leaders approach this evolution and celebrate the arts as a catalyst of positive transformation?

Low Kee Hong, Head of Theatre (Performing Arts) of WKCDA, was invited to speak as the “Provocateur” for the session on “Community”

Each day of the congress focused on one of the three themes Art, Community and Leadership. Low was invited to give the “provocation” speech, opening the second day of the congress, focusing on Community. He presented an urgent call to action at this moment in history, tasking arts leaders to take responsibility and push themselves, their artists and their communities out of their comfort zones.

Friedman moderated a congress-wide round-table discussion on the final day of the congress. The discussion explored generational divides in arts leadership transitions, including how demographic shifts are impacting a need for more inclusion across arts organisations, especially regarding training the next generation of arts leaders.

Following the congress, Chan also attended the inaugural meeting of the International Advisory Council for American Dance Abroad, an organisation whose mission seeks to provide more opportunities for American dance companies to engage internationally. Chan was invited to join the Council to share her dance expertise in the Asian region, including her work developing an Asia Dance House Network led by West Kowloon.

West Kowloon Performing Arts is gearing up for the first venues opening in the 2018-19 season. The WKCD delegation’s attendance at the 2018 ISPA congress proved a fruitful and timely opportunity to deepen conversations with arts organisations and government arts councils regarding partnerships; see performances and meet with artists; and share the latest updates about West Kowloon’s development with the international arts community.

Visit West Kowloon Cultural District Authority’s website here