Eight emerging artists will get the chance to hone their skills on a four-week artist-in-residence exchange programme offered by schools in Hong Kong, Beijing and London that begins this summer.
This year's eight - who are yet to be named - are all students at three participating schools: Arts in Heritage Research in Hong Kong, the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, and the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
Tim Marlow, director of artistic programmes at the Royal Academy, said students would be able to interact with their peers and the experts, with the aim of creating new works to be exhibited at the end of the four weeks.
"The idea is to give students the opportunity to determine themselves what they really want to do," he said. "I hope they will spend the most time interacting or curating with the others."
The programme will begin in August, hosted in London, before it moves to the other cities in the following two years.
For the first year, the Royal Academy will select four students to join the scheme and the other institutions will each choose two artists from their own intakes.
Thirty applications have already been received from Hongkongers.
It is not the first time the Royal Academy has been involved in the Hong Kong arts scene. The programme came about after Ng Ka-lun, modern art curator for the Hong Kong Museum of Art, went on a pilot training scheme at the academy last year to learn more about installing exhibitions and managing historic buildings. The academy also partnered with Arts in Heritage to put in an expression of interest to the Jockey Club to run contemporary art courses at the old Central Police Station, which is being converted into a cultural hub. At least four groups put in tenders. The winner is yet to be announced.
Although the city has a number of art schools, Marlow said emerging artists needed more support - and opportunities - to show their work. "When [English artist] Damien Hirst was a student in the '80s, he showcased in a warehouse," Marlow said. "In Hong Kong, it's really difficult to find a place for exhibition."
Marlow, who was in the city for Art Basel, said the second Hong Kong fair was more balanced than the first edition, in terms of the galleries taking part from Asia and elsewhere. The popular show ended yesterday.
The next step, he said, would be the opening of the new visual culture museum M+, which he expected to take a more active role in promoting appreciation of the arts. Marlow also noted the important role of galleries in supporting artists. "The most sustainable way [to develop] is that artists and galleries would grow up together," he said.