Artists' Studios and Their Practices in Kwun Tong Industrial Buildings: A Hypermedia Ethnographic Study

  • MAK, Hoi Shan Anson (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project is a hypermedia ethnographic study on artists’ studios in Kwun Tong industrial buildings. Recently, unaffordable property prices have become a critical issue in Hong Kong. A new East Kowloon Redevelopment Project announced in the latest Policy Address will also greatly affect the district. Hence, studying artists’ practices and their studios in Kwun Tong from the perspective of crisis and change in urban spatial contexts is essential and useful.

Site/place: Prior studies have been conducted on Fotanian, Oil Street and Cattle Deport Artists Villages. The former is an organic conglomerate of artists’ studios in Fotan industrial buildings. The latter are government plans for artists to move into preservation sites. Yet, little research has been done on artists’ studios and community in Kwun Tong. Thus, a study addressing this research gap will be significant.

New approaches to visual arts researches in Hong Kong:
(a) Cross-disciplinary research methods – (i) research on data/statistics of rent in Kwun Tong; (ii) ethnographic research (hypermedia) (iii) structured and semi- structured interview; (iv) (con)textual analysis of artists’ works/art-making process; (v) collaborations with research subjects – artists will contribute visual/audio materials representing their studios. These subjective/personal materials will be published together with our objective/informative research output.

(b) Hypermedia ethnography as a research method as well as means of presentation. Audio-visual materials do not merely assist the documentation of field notes but offer receivers ample room to experience the complex and dynamic ethnographic knowledge which cannot be fully expressed by writing alone. Recently, a few Hong Kong social scientists (Dr. Ma Kit-wai, Dr. Ho Sik-ying) conducted visual ethnographic projects with great success. This proposed research is targeted to further experiment along this trajectory of visual ethnography by applying hypermedia presentation – photographs, audio, video and hyperlinks.

Aims: (i) examine why artists set up studios in Kwun Tong industrial buildings; (ii) investigate how government policies (re-vitalisation of industrial buildings and the new East Kowloon Redevelopment Project) affect artists and their practices; (iii) study what artists do in their studios; (iv) study studio set-ups; (v) explore how artists participate in and benefit from both everyday-life activities and art-events in the community; (vi) supplement existing research on artists’ studios and artists’ communities, thus generating ideas for better cultural policy.

This project will produce various outcomes:
(i) journal articles and conference presentations;
(ii) a hypermedia ethnographic presentation on an existing locative website that is free for public access (Mak, 2009).
Effective start/end date1/12/1230/09/15


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