Creative Media Centre—grooming talent for the creative industry

Shirley Lam

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CityU announced plans for the Creative Media Centre (CMC) and the appointment of the project consultant, Studio Daniel Libeskind, on 8 October.

 

 

The CMC, an inspirational building to mark Hong Kong’s leadership position in creative media education, will be built on

Cornwall Street, in Kowloon
Tong. It will comprise an Academic Facility with Government funding of HK$550m, and a Public Outreach Facility for which private sponsorship of HK$200m is being sought.

 

The Academic Facility, with a gross area of 26,100 sq. m., will provide educational facilities for the School of Creative Media (SCM) and  related departments, such as the Department of Computing Engineering and Information Technology and the Centre for Media Technology. The Public Outreach Facility, an enhanced component for forging links with industry and the community, will provide a gross area of 4,500 sq.m. for dynamic exhibition, event and educational programme areas including a virtual reality experience centre open for public and creative industry use.

 

Breeding ground for creative media talents

“The training of young people to excel in the innovative fields of the creative industry is a top priority for Hong Kong,” said Sir Gordon Wu, CityU Council Chairman. “It is gratifying that in view of its tight budget, the Government recognizes the need to provide the money to support CityU’s plan for the CMC. This is a sign that CityU’s School of Creative Media (SCM) is important for Hong Kong.”

 

CityU established the School of Creative Media in 1998, combining the latest digital technology with the traditional art of story-telling to train talent for Hong Kong’s creative industry. In recognition of the importance of the School, the Government approved, in principle. a funding of HK$550m in 2001 to build the CMC.

 

“The successive approvals by the Government for the construction of the CMC are not only an improvement of the University’s academic profile but also fulfillment of the University’s mission,” said Professor H K Chang, CityU President. “With the CMC, CityU will be able to train more talent to help promote the burgeoning creative industry which is a key to Hong Kong’s economic development.”

 

The fact that SCM students get job offers before they graduate is a sign of the increasing demand for creative media people in the industry, said Sir Gordon. The CMC will enable the School to take in more students--such a move is is hampered by the inadequate space in its current home converted from a car park.

 

A balance between function and inspiration

After a stringent global search for a consultant in early 2002, the University chose Studio Daniel Libeskind, supported by a team of Hong Kong architects, engineers, town planners and quantity surveyors, to be the consultant on the project.

 

Mr Daniel Libeskind is renowned for his experience in creating thought-provoking and inspiring educational and cultural centres. The CMC is to be a nine-storey building designed as a number of intersecting spaces that interact with and rely on each other for support and stability. The Centre will be composed of five obliquely shaped spaces that will conceptually represent, and literally activate, all five senses.

 

The design of the building is unique, Sir Gordon said. Different people will have different views, but from an engineer’s point of view, at first, he criticized the number of columns as diminishing the functionality of the building. He is satisfied with the revised design.

 

While recognizing Hong Kong’s need for a landmark building, Sir Gordon Wu said that the CMC must be functional and cost-effective. “The most important thing is to spend the Government’s money wisely in order to get the biggest bang for the buck, and to make sure that the facilities fulfill our educational goals.”

 

“The University is committed to achieving cost-effectiveness in erecting this functional and inspiring building,” Professor Chang said. The Council has resolved that the cost of the project will stay within the Government's funding budget and the University will ensure that there will not be any cost overrun.

 

New Dean on board

 
In conjunction with the announcement of the CMC project and the appointment of the consultant for the project, CityU also introduced the new SCM Dean, Professor James Moy. Pofessor Moy was the Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Professor of Theatre and Dance at the University of New Mexico prior to joining CityU on 1 September. “We’re lucky to recruit Professor Moy who will help promote the School, CityU and the creative media industry in Hong Kong,” Professor Chang said.

 

“I’m most impressed with the spirit of cooperation at CityU as witnessed in the CMC project and the vision of the Government in investing in the CMC that will become an advanced building in this time and in the world,” Professor Moy said.

 

Fast expanding creative industry

 Asked about his vision of the future development of Hong Kong’s creative industry, Professor Moy said, “I expect the creative industry in Hong Kong to be dominant in the future, as we will be bringing into the School technology unmatched in Asia.”

 

The trilateral partnership formed by CityU, the School of Cinema-Television University of Southern California (USC), and the Beijing Film Academy (BFA) in July this year testifies to this trend,  Professor Chang said. “The achievement of having two top-notch universities join hands with CityU to develop courses together, and to exchange students and staff shows that they view us as a potentially dominant player in the region,” he said.

 

“The 21st century is an information age in which communications play an important role,” Professor Chang added. “The creative industry is fast developing. Within five to 10 years’ time, we will begin to reap the rewards of the decisions CityU and the Government has made by investing in the creative industry.”

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