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Stagecraft; Staged Craft: Placemaking, Cantonese Opera, and Cultural Identity in Hong Kong

Part 2 Dissertation 2021
Karen Young
University of Cambridge | UK
As the West Kowloon Cultural District takes shape, this dissertation examines the roles of cultural placemaking in Hong Kong and its implications to local cultural identity, heritage, and sense of place.

Significant investment into cultural projects and infrastructure in the past two decades created tangible symbols that fulfilled Hong Kong’s projected image as ‘Asia’s World City’. Nevertheless, as informed by my research, there is room – and an urgency – to realise alternative modes of placemaking to create locally meaningful cultural environments.

Responding more specifically to the Xiqu* Centre at the Cultural District and drawing from the transitory practices of Cantonese Opera, the local xiqu genre, this dissertation speculates on a more sustainable and inclusive approach in creating spaces of cultural production. The spatial manifestations of the proposed strategy are explored in a parallel design project, while this dissertation reciprocally anchors the design approach within the city’s metabolism and debates in academia and the architectural profession.

As more cities pursue globally-oriented cultural projects, this research calls for a timely reflection on the architect’s role in shaping these places and consideration of ‘placemaking’ as sites of critical practice that can platform community-driven processes of shaping place and place identities.

*xiqu: traditional Chinese theatre

Karen Young

James Campbell
Ingrid Schröder
Mr José Esteves De Matos
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