Thursday 20 December 2018

More world-class artists, scientists and academics headed for Hong Kong as the British Council announces further programme details for the inaugural

SPARK: The Science and Art of Creativity festival

More than 30 cutting-edge events at Tai Kwun from 18–20 January 2019  

Registration is open NOW!

The countdown to Hong Kong’s first festival celebrating creativity across the arts, sciences and education, SPARK: The Science and Art of Creativity, stepped up a gear today as the British Council unveiled more details of the programme of free events and opened registration to the public. The highly anticipated Festival of Ideas, which is set to take place at Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts in Central from 18–20 January 2019, features more than 30 events presented by over 50 major creative and education partners from the UK and Hong Kong. Watch the SPARK video here to find out more.

Providing a platform for cultural exchange through a carefully curated selection of interactive experiences, provocative performances, stimulating talks and other innovative happenings, SPARK welcomes artists, scientists and academics from a variety of UK and Hong Kong institutions. These include University of the Arts London, the British Library, London Metropolitan University, the Natural History Museum, the University of Glasgow, Hong Kong Science Museum, the Hong Kong Design Institute, Hong Kong Design Centre and many more. (Please see full list in Notes to Editors)

Events have been organised into four themes – Creative Cities, Art meets Science, Altered Realities and Future Skills – and include everything from eye-popping live science experiments and state-of-the-art multimedia workshops to an exploration of Chinese heritage sites that uses Augmented and Virtual Reality to simulate time travel. Some events will even take attendees beyond the walls of Tai Kwun, such as ‘BioBlitz’, a fun interactive scientific survey set in Hong Kong Park.

The festival is designed to inspire people of all ages, but is particularly aimed at those under 30. It is completely free and open to the public, although some events require pre-booking. Attendees can register for a number of events now at and new events are being added regularly. Registration will remain open until the final day of the festival, 20 January 2019.

Susannah Morley, SPARK Festival Director and Director of Programmes and Partnerships at the British Council in Hong Kong, said:

‘With so many fantastic partners from the UK and Hong Kong coming together for SPARK, we couldn’t have asked for a better group of collaborators to bring our inaugural festival to life. I hope that we not only inspire our young people of today to be the innovators of tomorrow, but that we also strengthen the connections between the UK and Hong Kong by uniting in a celebration of creativity.”

The SPARK programme includes the following newly announced events:


Artists, scientists and designers will explore the role of creativity in the sustainability of developed urban areas. 

‘Nature in the City’, a multimedia workshop led by artist Dr Jacek Ludwig Scarso of The Cass at London Metropolitan University, investigates natural spaces in an urban environment by encouraging participants to use video, photography, creative writing and sketches to document their surroundings. 

‘Tai Kwun Tour with Purcell Heritage Architects’ offers a first-hand insight into the challenges involved in transforming the Former Central Police Station Compound into a leading contemporary arts centre, from the UK firm that worked in collaboration with Herzog & de Meuron and Rocco Design Architects to bring Tai Kwun to fruition. 

Presented by the University of the Arts London, ‘UAL’s Global Pavilion’ explores 21st century ideas around migration, transportation and identity through the work of local Hong Kong, wider Asian and European artists. Together they explore and destabilise narratives of displacement and subjectivity across three different installations by three UAL colleges.


Creativity is born when art meets science. This segment of the festival allows visitors to interact with some of the UK and Hong Kong’s creative visionaries working at the crossover of these two mediums. 

‘Ignite the SPARK!’ by award-winning outdoor theatre company Walk the Plank working with The Warehouse Teenage Club ignites young people’s imagination through the creation of fire drawings, exploring the science and art of combustion.

‘What is Creativity?’ is a panel discussion exploring what it means to be creative across different disciplines. Speakers include Edmund Lee, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Design Centre, a scientist and celebrated UK artists Idris Khan and Faye Wei Wei.  


From how to harness AR and VR to drive innovation in higher education to reimagining the past,

visitors can immerse themselves in the parallel universes of AR and VR in this segment of the festival. 

‘Virtual Time Travel’, presented by NVIDIA Joint-Lab on Mixed Reality at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, brings Chinese heritage to life using Virtual and Augmented Reality, allowing visitors to explore entire sites from 800 years ago and ‘handle’ objects that are hundreds or even thousands of years old.

‘Immersive Technology: Inspiration, Innovation and Practical Guidance’, which is presented by the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience, University of Glasgow, looks at how Virtual and Augmented Reality can enhance learning across a wide range of subjects. Through demonstrations and workshops, participants can learn how to write an actionable brief for an app. 


How can young people in the UK and Hong Kong prepare for life and work in a globalised society?

Events in this category explore the creative skills and knowledge young people need to prosper in the

face of AI, machine learning and other technological advancements.

‘The Periodic Table of Videos: Live!’ is a series of intriguing live experiments presented by the University of Nottingham that demonstrate chemical properties and reactions, and how they have influenced the world we live in today.

The panel discussion ‘Promoting 21st Century Skills in the Future Workforce’ examines what governments, parents, career counsellors, schools, universities and young people themselves can do to ensure the future workforce has the right skills for a prosperous and sustainable future. Speakers include John Tsang, Founder of Esperanza, Dr. Laylian Ong, Principal of the Hong Kong Design Institute and Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Lee Wai Lee), Albert Wong, Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation and Samuel Chan, British Council Study UK Alumni Awards Winner.

Keep up to date with the festival by following the British Council on Hong Kong’s social media channels:

Facebook: BritishCouncilHongKong

Instagram: @britishcouncilhk

Twitter: @hkBritish

Hashtag: #SPARKhk2019 


Notes to Editor

About SPARK: The Science and Art of Creativity

UK/HK: A shared future through creativity and innovation

SPARK is a place for debate, inspiration and visionary thinking. A brand-new British Council Festival of Ideas, SPARK celebrates creativity across the arts, sciences and education, and offers a platform for cultural exchange between the UK and Hong Kong. With more than 30 events over three days and 50 creative and education partners from the UK and Hong Kong, SPARK will open eyes and ears with interactive experiences, provocative performances, stimulating talks and other innovative happenings. Young, old or in-between, everyone is welcome. SPARK will take place 18-20 January 2019 at Tai Kwun, Hong Kong’s newest centre for heritage and arts.

More programme info, biographies and photos of key participants and partners may be downloaded from this dropbox link

Full SPARKProgramme


Altered Realities: The Future of Learning

BSD Education, Coventry University, Technological and Higher Education Institute (THEi)

An Exploration of Hong Kong and its Peripheries

University of Lincoln with Hong Kong Design Institute and Institute of Vocational Education’s School of Higher and Professional Education (SHAPE)

BRICKS (Building Research Innovation for Community Knowledge and Sustainability) Debate: Is social innovation a passing fad or fuel to change the world?

British Council and select speakers

Cellular Dynamics

University of Kent with Linda Yim of Hong Kong New Music Ensemble

CoLab Journeys

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance with Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts

Computers that Care

University of Strathclyde

Curating the Future

Asia Society Hong Kong, University of Glasgow, London Metropolitan University, Science Museum Group

Eye of the Storm

Theatr na nÓg

Gender Perspectives: A discussion on technology with purpose

Hong Kong Association of Careers Masters and Guidance Masters, The Women’s Foundation, Legislative Council Member

Going Underground: the hidden influence of mass transit in creating successful cities

MTR, Louise Soloway Chan, Netherlands Railways

Hong Kong BioBlitz

Natural History Museum, Hong Kong Science Museum and City Nature Challenge

Ignite the SPARK!

Walk the Plank and The Warehouse Teenage Club

Immersive Technology: Inspiration, Innovation and Practical Guidance

University of Glasgow


British Library and Lancaster University

Making the Invisible Visible

Newcastle University

Migrant Workers: Seen and Heard

Mona Chalabi and Emmy the Great

Nature in the City

Jacek Ludwig Scarso, The Cass, London Metropolitan University

Phillips presents: Neon Spark with Faye Wei Wei

Phillips, British Council, Faye Wei Wei

Places People Love


Prison Break

Coventry University with Hong Kong Design Institute

Promoting 21st century skills in the future workforce

Hong Kong Design Institute, Esperanza, Hong Kong Science and Technology Park, University of Strathclyde

Reimagining our City Identity

University of Gloucestershire with THEi

Smart Cities Need Smart Students

Aston University School of Engineering and Applied Science

Solving Urban Challenges through Big Data

University of Warwick with University of Hong Kong

SPARK Streetshop

Hong Kong Design Centre

Tai Kwun Tour

Purcell Heritage Architects

Technology and learning in the 21st century

British Council, University of Macau


University of Nottingham

The Periodic Table of Videos: Live!

University of Nottingham

UAL’s Global Pavilion

University of the Arts London, Hong Kong Baptist University, HKU Space,International Curators Forum, Hour25 Production, Hart Haus, Tokyo University of the Arts: GAP, Hattrick Creative Limited

Universities as Placemaker

University of the Arts London, University of Derby, West Kowloon Cultural District

Urban Paradox – resolving disputes over space

University of Hong Kong, University of Surrey, Yew Chung Education Foundation

Urban Repurposing:  Re-imagining and revitalising the city

Aston University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Mott MacDonald, University of Nottingham, Purcell

Urban Sustainability – making cities work for the world

Natural History Museum London, City Nature Challenge, Go Green, Institution of Civil Engineers and University of British Columbia

Virtual Time Travel

University of Nottingham Ningbo China


Jacek Ludwig Scarso, The Cass, London Metropolitan University

What is Creativity?

British Council, Hong Kong Design Centre, Idris Khan, Faye Wei Wei



SPARK Creative and Education Partners

Asia Society Hong Kong, Aston University, British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, BSD Education, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Coventry University, Emmy the Great, Esperanza, Faye Wei Wei, HASSELL, Hassell Studio, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Hong Kong Association of Careers Masters and Guidance Masters, Hong Kong Design Centre, Hong Kong Design Institute, Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, Hong Kong Science Museum, Idris Khan, Institution of Civil Engineers, Jacek Ludwig Scarso, Lancaster University, London Metropolitan University, Mona Chalabi, Mott MacDonald, MTR, Natural History Museum, Newcastle University, Phillips, Purcell, Swansea University, , Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong, Theatr na nÓg, The British Library, The Science Museum Group, The Warehouse Teenage Club, The Women’s Foundation, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, University of Derby, University of Glasgow, University of Gloucestershire, University of Hong Kong, University of Kent, University of Lincoln, University of Macau, University of Nottingham, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, University of Strathclyde, University of Surrey, University of the Arts London, University of Warwick, Vocational Training Council, Walk the Plank, West Kowloon Cultural District, Yew Chung Education Foundation.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. They work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year they reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. They make a positive contribution to the countries they work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934, they are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. They receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government. They have been working with Hong Kong since 1948. This year, they mark their 70th anniversary, celebrating 70 years of cultural relations and exchange between the UK and Hong Kong.