Grant distribution system for art groups to change

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 June, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 June, 1994, 12:00am

THE new Arts Development Council is planning a shake-up of the way grant-supported performances are assessed, members said yesterday.

They said the existing system, in which volunteers get complimentary tickets to attend performances and write up reports later, was ''haphazard'' and ''sometimes amateurish''.

The chairman of the music and dance committee, Vincent Chow Wing-shing, said the system had also been the subject of consistent debate and arguments with the arts groups, who have often claimed the assessors' reports were biased, unfair and sometimes ignorant.

The reports - which include information about audience reaction, props and stage management, as well as a critique of the show - are put on file and used in the decision-making process the next time the arts group applies for a grant.

Mr Chow emphasised that the reports were not the only factor used by the grant-giving body when it made its decisions, although he said he would like to be in a position where both parties could view the reports as more reliable documents.

''We are thinking of introducing a system where we pay a small team of professionals to be available to attend performances.'' He said one of the difficulties facing the committee was finding enough people in Hong Kong who could be viewed as drama professionals and who would be available in the evenings.

''This does not just involve going to the large-scale performances that everyone wants to go to: it means being prepared to see three-man bands in Tuen Mun as well - which isn't always easy to persuade people to do,'' Mr Chow said.

Another obstacle included setting a fair payment for the new team.

''The more we pay the assessors, the less money will be available for the arts themselves; it will be hard to decide on the rate,'' Mr Chow said.

The newly-formed committees for the literary and visual arts were also attempting to set up their own fair assessment systems, literary committee chairman Dr Leung Ping-kwan said, although he admitted it could be some time before the system was in place.

Dr Leung said the literary committee had decided against setting itself a six-month deadline for establishing the assessment system, saying it was a complicated issue.

Since the council was established as a non-statutory body in April, it has set up four separate arts committees, as well as committees for community liaison, arts policy and management matters. It is scheduled to become a statutory body before April next year.