Hong Kong Global Design Studio

The Hong Kong Global Studio is a two week, practice-based research studio for students of design. Working in small groups, students explore and observe a neighbourhood in Hong Kong.

The studio teaches students to understand and respond to local social and cultural issues through the observation and critical analysis of designed objects, spaces and systems. Hong Kong is a city of contradictions that has experienced seismic political, social and cultural shifts in recent years. Students immerse themselves in Hong Kong’s material culture as a means of understanding these changes.

Past projects have examined: the gentrification of traditional neighbourhoods; global networks within spaces of minority communities; the future of traditional handcrafts; and the physical and cultural impact of urban development on rural regions. The project outcome is an exhibition or short film.

Students also publish a visual essay exploring a specific material or product found in Hong Kong. Students have examined teapots, clothes lines, bamboo scaffolding, cardboard boxes, letterboxes, pot plants, trolleys and other everyday objects that make up the material culture of Hong Kong.

The studio has been created and taught with spatial designer and theorist Evelyn Kwok. In 2015, we collaborated with Siu King-Chung, Associate Professor in the School of Design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and co-founder of the Hong Kong Community Museum Project. In 2016 we worked with Melissa Cate Christ, Associate Professor at HKPU and creator of the Hong Kong Stair Archive, and visited the studio of photographer Michael Wolf. The subject co-ordinator is Dr Alexandra Crosby.