West Kowloon Cultural District

Call for 'arts lovers' only to serve on board of West Kowloon Cultural District

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 July, 2014, 6:21am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 May, 2015, 11:40am

The board of the West Kowloon Cultural District should be thoroughly reviewed and chaired by an independent figure instead of the chief secretary.

This is the view of critics and board members including veteran artist Danny Yung Ning-tsun, who called for someone with vision to chair the board.

"The composition of the board, and appointment process require a comprehensive review," said Yung, co-artistic director of experimental theatre group Zuni Icosahedron.

Other board members, speaking on condition of anonymity, shared his view. They said the board should not be chaired by the chief secretary.

Current Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, they said, was too busy handling hot potatoes such as political reform.

Members were also frustrated by the bureaucratic structure of the cultural district and said the composition of the board was aimed more at balancing power among vested interests than at managing the project well.

Art critic John Batten said the chairman had to guard the hub from becoming a commercial platform and needed to be backed by a strong board made up of "arts lovers, not the usual set of sycophants".

This discontent comes at a time when the board is due for an overhaul under a government rule that no one should serve on a public body for more than six years.

Eleven of the 15 members will have served three two-year terms when the current term ends in October.

One of the 11, outgoing Ocean Park chairman Allan Zeman, said he had not been approached about extending his term or chairing the board.

Some members said the government was likely to break the six-year rule because of the disruption replacing 11 members in one go would cause, but government sources said it would not be impossible.

Batten said the board should be chaired by an independent figure who was a strong personality who could fight for the arts hub.