Honorary University Fellow (2017)
“Creativity is about building a better future.” Ms Ada Wong, a solicitor, educator, advocate for culture, and champion of cultural and social enterprises, is hopeful that young people will be able to respond to contemporary challenges with their creativity and humanistic values.
Ms Wong is the Founder and Honorary Director of the Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture (HKICC), a non-profit cultural organisation established in 1998. Adopting a community-led approach, HKICC actively promotes cultural development and creative education in Hong Kong. One of HKICC’s innovative projects is the setting up and operation of the HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity, the first secondary school in Hong Kong dedicated to the study of art, design and culture. As the Founding Supervisor of the School, Ms Wong sees discipline and earnestness as core values of every creative practitioner. The School integrates knowledge and theory, creative skills, imagination, and critical thinking holistically as its goal of creative education. Graduates of the School are now active in various fields of arts and culture. Close teacher-student relationship is a distinctive feature of the School, which also believes that the positive and warm communication between stakeholders is a strong driving force in creative education. Ms Wong’s experience in the education sector is an important paradigm for Hong Kong Baptist University in its pursuit of creative education.
From 2004 to 2007, Ms Wong was Chairperson of the Wan Chai District Council. During her tenure, she actively promoted culture and heritage, civic participation and community arts and culture. She collaborated with community NGOs for the Blue House Preservation campaign which started with research of its history to the organization of workshops and then direct dialogue between residents and the Development Bureau. As a result, Blue House was finally preserved and revitalized with a unique model. What is more important is Ms Wong’s experimentations in Wan Chai inspired her to truly appreciate that community is the foundation of society, and that the district council and home affair systems could be reformed in an empowering and co-creative way, so that residents can contribute to and shape the building of their own communities.
Besides community work, Ms Wong was founder and Chairperson of the Hong Kong Children’s Musical Theatre. She has also co-founded and participated in socially innovative enterprises and platforms such as Dialogue in the Dark, Social Enterprise Summit and the Good Lab, etc. She has served as Advisor to the Academy of Visual Arts of Hong Kong Baptist University, and as member of the Consultation Panel of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. She is a current member of the Museum Advisory Committee of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
Ms Wong set up the non-profit Make A Difference Institute (MaD) to nurture the next generation’s creativity, innovation and discovery. The MaD School under this initiative provides cross sector, innovative and action-oriented learning experiences for young people. A good example of such endeavours is the creative Tin Sau Bazaar experience in 2014. The MaD School led a group of young people to Tin Sau Bazaar in Tin Shui Wai with the aim of studying the design and planning of that market and proposed to hawkers creative strategies to enliven the market and their business, including the making of creative signage and designing interactive maps and videos. The success of the campaign brought a new lease of life to Tin Sau Bazaar. Recently, MaD worked with the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to co-create a Social Lab on public libraries, using creative methodologies to understand how public libraries could change to respond to the needs of the community. MaD also holds an annual forum to inspire thousands of young MaDees from all over Asia.
We are greatly honoured that Ms Wong is now Advisor to the Department of Humanities and Creative Writing of the University. In that capacity, she has always put forward innovative and constructive suggestions for students’ studies and their learning environment. She believes that in bringing positive changes to society, creativity and the humanistic spirit are as important as science and technology. In a recent HKBU Secondary School Principals’ Day, Ms Wong stressed, to participating principals and teachers, the importance of empathy, mutual respect, civic responsibility and community involvement—education values that she has always cherished.
Ms Wong is committed to promoting cultural development, creative education and social innovation. She encourages young people to participate to bring about changes in the community. She is a cultural and social practitioner and pioneer who embraces creativity and humanity. Her contributions to the promotion of a creative civil society are tremendous.