Friday 12 July 2013


Cultural leaders from Asia and the UK to explore cultural values and challenges from a global, regional and country perspective

Does the cultural sector in Asia have a unique role to play in a world facing rapid environmental, social, technological and economic changes?  Does it have a local voice in the global order?

The British Council and the Advanced Cultural Leadership Programme at The University of Hong Kong will jointly organise a public forum on “Cultural Leadership: The Asian Way?” on 26 July.  Cultural leaders from Asia and the UK will explore how the value of culture is perceived in Asia, what the immediate challenges are for the cultural sector in the region, and how leadership can be nurtured locally.

Robert Ness, Director of British Council Hong Kong, said, “We are pleased to partner with The University of Hong Kong’s Advanced Cultural Leadership Programme to present this forum.  This joint effort is designed to support a visionary community of cultural leaders who seek to drive the cultural and creative agenda while responding with agility to the new challenges that emerge in our changing socio-political economic and cultural contexts.”

Professor Daniel Chua, Director of the Advanced Cultural Leadership Programme, Head of the School of Humanities, The University of Hong Kong, said, “We are delighted to organise the public forum for three consecutive years.  For this year’s Forum we have brought together regional and international leaders to discuss what the specific challenges of Cultural Leadership in Asia.  Speakers from numerous Asian countries can broaden the Hong Kong perspective on how we can shape the cultural landscape.”

The Forum’s closing remarks will be delivered by Sir John Tusa, is Chair of the Clore Leadership Programme, and a former Managing Director of the BBC World Service and of the Barbican Centre in London. Other speakers include Fredric Mao – Founder and Director of Performing Arts Asia, Hong Kong, and Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto – Director, Center for Arts and Culture, NLI Research Institute, Japan.  

Notes to Editor


About the speakers

Sir John Tusa - Chair of the Clore Leadership Programme and Chair, University of the Arts London

John is a distinguished arts administrator, TV and radio presenter, and author.  From 1979 to 1986 he was a main presenter of BBC2’s “Newsnight”, Managing Director of BBC World Service from 1986 to 1992 and Managing Director of the Barbican Centre from 1995 to 2007.  His books include “On Creativity”, "Art Matters - Reflecting on Culture"; and "Engaged with the Arts - Writings from the Front Line”.

Fredric Mao - Founder and Director of Performing Arts Asia, Hong Kong

Fredric Mao, after more than a decade’s theatre practice in the States, joined the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts as Head of Acting, and was responsible for training up a few generations of local talents.  He was the Artistic Director of the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre from 2001 to 2008.  In 2012, as Convener of the HK-Taiwan Cultural Co-operation Committee, Mao launched “Hong Kong Week” for the first time in Taipei, showcasing Hong Kong talent and their creative output.

Jane Wentworth- Director of Jane Wentworth Associates, UK

Jane Wentworth is Director and Founder of Jane Wentworth Associates, a leading international consultancy for brand in the cultural sector.  Since 2003, Jane Wentworth Associates has developed brand strategies and identity programmes for a diverse range of clients including the V&A, Guggenheim, Glyndebourne Opera and National Theatre of Scotland.

Lee Chor Lin - Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Arts Festival

Lee Chor Lin is the Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Arts Festival, appointed on 1 July 2013 to run the 36-year-old festival with Festival Director, Ong Keng Sen.  Before this recent venture, Chor Lin has been an active player in developing museums in Singapore for the past 28 years.  She started her career as a curator of Southeast Asian art of the National Museum, a senior curator of the Asian Civilisations Museum between 1993 and 2002.  In 2002, Chor Lin was entrusted with the task of redeveloping the National Museum of Singapore, overseeing the construction of the museum’s extension, regenerating the museum’s team, direction and audiences.

John Holden  - Visiting Professor, City University, London, and Associate, Demos

John has been involved in many major projects with the cultural sector in the UK and internationally, ranging across libraries, music, museums, the performing arts, and the moving image.  He has addressed issues of leadership, education, cultural policy, evaluation and organisational development, working with organisations such as Tate, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the British Museum.  His publications include The Cultural Leadership Handbook which he co-authored with Robert Hewison, Democratic Culture, Cultural Diplomacy, and Cultural Value and the Crisis of Legitimacy.  John is a trustee of The Hepworth Wakefield, member of the Royal Opera House’s Education Committee and a member of the Advisory Board of the Clore Leadership Programme.

Dr. Lars Nittve - Executive Director, M+, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, Hong Kong

Dr. Nittve joined the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority in January 2011.  He was formerly a director of the Moderna Museet from 2001 to 2010 and the first director of Tate Modern in 1998-2001.  Dr. Nittve has over 30 years of international experience as a director, curator and educator of the arts, serving at the University of Stockholm, the Rooseum in Malmo, Sweden, and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark.  Dr. Nittve was awarded an honorary PhD at Umeå University in Sweden and he was named professor at the same university in 2010.

John Newbigin - Cultural Entrepreneur, UK

John Newbigin is a cultural entrepreneur and writer with experience across the arts and digital media.   He is Chairman of Creative England and of Culture24, one of the UK's leading cultural web publishers.   As Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for Culture he played a leading role in establishing the creative economy as a legitimate and necessary focus of public policy in the UK.

Douglas Young - CEO & Co-Founder, Goods of Desire (G.O.D. Limited), Hong Kong

Founded in 1996 with Benjamin Lau, a fellow architect, Goods of Desire started as a small shop in Ap Lei Chau.  G.O.D. has since grown into an established, multi-faceted lifestyle brand selling home furnishings, fashion and premium gifts with a distinct Hong Kong flair.  All G.O.D. products are designed in-house by a multi-disciplinary design team led by Douglas and are inspired by the vibrant culture of Hong Kong.  Through his work, Douglas would like to inspire future generations of designers to seek inspiration from Hong Kong and foster pride in our community.  

Dr. Maria Balshaw - Director of the Whitworth Art Gallery (part of the University of Manchester) and the Manchester City Galleries
Dr. Maria Balshaw is the Director of the Whitworth Art Gallery, part of the University of Manchester, and the Manchester City Galleries.  As Director of these two major institutions, holding internationally important collections of fine and decorative art of more than 80,000 objects, she is responsible for the artistic and strategic vision for each gallery.  An academic by training she has worked as an administrator and Director within the cultural sector for the past 10 years.

Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto - Director, Center for Arts and Culture, NLI Research Institute, Japan

Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto is currently the Director of the Center for Arts and Culture at the NLI Research Institute, engaged in a variety of arts and cultural projects since 1988.  He is a consultant and researcher in cultural policies and is also a member of the Expert Committee of the Arts Council Tokyo, Chair of the Yokohama Creative City Development Committee, a board member of the Association for Corporate Support of the Arts, Japan, and a board member of Art NPO Link.

2) About the Advanced Cultural Leadership Programme at HKU

The Advanced Cultural Leadership Programme (ACLP) is the first cultural leadership programme in Asia, designed to meet this challenge, providing outstanding cultural leaders with the practical skills, intellectual perspectives and global networks needed to seize new opportunities, strengthen their organisations and deliver a world-class vision.

For details, please visit or contact Ms Candy Wong, Public Relations Manager, via email:

3)    About the Clore Leadership Programme

The Clore Leadership Programme is an initiative of the Clore Duffield Foundation which aims to strengthen leadership across a wide range of creative and cultural activities, including the visual and performing arts, film, heritage, museums, libraries and archives, creative industries and cultural policy and administration.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. 

We work in more than 100 countries and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the Arts and delivering education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publically-funded grant-in-aid provides less than 25 per cent of our turnover, which last year was £781m. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.