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Arts of Hong Kong 2022: Hong Kong Arts Festival announces six finalists of “Arts X Tech Creative Competition”, part of the 50th HKAF Special Project “Laila”

The Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF) is pleased to announce six finalists in the “Arts X Tech Creative Competition”, a specially curated outreach and education initiative for the special project Laila. The finalists include two teams from the Secondary School Division, and four teams from the Tertiary Division. They were submitted by students from: Queen’s College, Po Leung Kuk Lee Shing Pik College, The University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong Baptist University, City University of Hong Kong and The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

Laila, a co-production of HKAF and the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, is an immersive and interactive opera experience, and a major highlight of the 50th Hong Kong Arts Festival in 2022. Together with a series of outreach and education events, the special project Laila is solely sponsored by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.

Laila was born out of Opera Beyond, the FNOB’s international open call for forward-looking Arts and Tech ideas that push beyond the tradition of performing arts. Inspired by this competition model, the HKAF launched the “Arts X Tech Creative Competition in May 2021 with the theme “breakthrough”. Shortlisted teams received expert coaching from an Advisory Panel. Each team then made a detailed submission, and six teams of finalists were selected by an expert Jury in November 2021. The Competition aimed to:

  • Encourage students to incorporate technology into performing arts, and apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired from STEAM-related disciplines
  • Enhance students’ knowledge, motivation and collaborative skills in a cross-disciplinary setting, particularly in the field of performing arts
  • Spark creativity and imagination in students by incorporating arts and technology
  • Stimulate pedagogical insights into how technology can be used to enhance the learning experience

The Competition is an integral part of the series of outreach and education events curated with the goal of further advancing Arts X Tech in Hong Kong. Targeted at encouraging participants of the Competition, teachers and the public to learn more about arts and technology, the project has tailor-made four webinars, a teacher seminar and a series of public talks. The Festival also encourages students to continue their exploration through activities such as mentoring sessions for competition participants, and guided tours in complementary exhibitions and workshops. The Competition Finalists’ showcase also demonstrates how HKAF sparks creativity in Arts X Tech.

The Competition received entries from 31 teams: 12 for the Secondary Schools Division and 19 for the Tertiary Division. Shortlisted teams from the first round were invited to join four webinars (details please refer to the appendix). In addition to the Webinar, shortlisted teams each had a dedicated individual consultation session to discuss how to turn artistic concepts into artworks, phases of concept development, suitable technology to realise the artistic purpose, and skills of articulation and presentation when writing proposals. Detailed submissions were then prepared by shortlisted teams, and from these, six finalists were selected by an expert Jury.

Finalists of the Competition will receive a subsidy from the HKAF, along with the commission to produce the work, which will be presented in an exhibition at Central Harbourfront. HKAF invited Mr Keith Lam, Mr Gaybird Leung, and The Collective to develop interactive Arts x Tech projects aimed at developing dialogues with Laila and will be an excellent demonstration of Arts x Tech in the context of performing arts. 

Ms Tisa Ho, Executive Director of the HKAF, says: “Opera Beyond gave us an example of how to reach beyond our usual partners for exciting new ideas. I have been most impressed by the potential shown in the Competition entries, and very grateful to the advisors and mentors who have made their expertise and experience available to Competition participants. I look forward to seeing the students’ concepts and ideas brought into reality in the Exhibition. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has been a wonderful partner to HKAF in this project. With their continued support, we hope to enhance awareness, creativity and experience in Arts X Tech amongst the young people and across all sectors in Hong Kong”.

Mr Kenneth Lee, Senior Outreach Manager at the HKAF, explains how Laila offers a unique opportunity to enhance the development of Arts X Tech, and connect with the cross-disciplinary STEAM approach by teachers in local schools. “The Project Laila allows us to curate a year-round series of outreach activities on Arts X Tech. We hope this initiative can provide insights into STEAM education, especially in integrating Arts and Technology, as well as cultivating a passion for performing arts among our students.”

Mr Keith Lam, one of the Advisory Panellists shared, “all the panellists are delighted to see the creativity from the teams’ proposals in the Competition, which showed the potential of developing Arts X Tech among youngsters in Hong Kong. After the webinars and consultations, their ideas were constructed and illustrated even more comprehensively in the final proposals. We are very much looking forward to the final artworks exhibition at Central Harbourfront.”

“We are delighted to be sponsoring the ground-breaking interactive opera Laila, a highlighted programme of the 50th edition of the HKAF,” said Mr Leong Cheung, Executive Director, Charities and Community of The Hong Kong Jockey Club. “We believe that the integration of Arts and Technology would bring positive impact to the community particularly to a new generation and we look forward to promoting more such projects locally.” 

The exhibition runs from 25th February to 3rd April 2022. Entry is free, and visitors will have the chance to vote for the Most Popular Concept. Details will be available at the HKAF Laila website: laila.hk .

The 50th Hong Kong Arts Festival runs from 25th February to 26th March 2022. Programme and tickets available here

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