More than 2,500 people attended the BODW summit, which held various panel discussions with experts from the design and culture industry

This year’s Business of Design Week (BODW) summit, which concluded on December 3, saw approximately 2,500 people attend in person, while more than one million tuned in online to various sessions, which were streamed in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. More than 30 sessions featured upwards of 90 speakers from more than 15 countries, and for the first time since 2019, international panellists flew in to Hong Kong to participate in person. 

Tatler moderated a panel under the summit’s “culture and city” pillar between Billy Tang, curator and executive director of arts centre Para Site, and Christopher K. Ho, executive director of Asia Art Archives (AAA). They shared their views on shaping the future non-profit art spaces in Asia in the context of how new cultural infrastructure like M+ have opened and how new methods of communication and development have come up in the post-pandemic era.  

Tatler Asia
Tatler moderates a panel discussion with Christopher K. Ho and Billy Tang, (Photo: courtesy BODW)
Above Tatler moderates a panel discussion with Christopher K. Ho and Billy Tang (Photo: courtesy of BODW)

On the challenges of operating a niche art space in the city, Tang says that “what we really value is the depth and quality of engagement with our audience, rather than just the quantity or the stats.” Of course, operating such a space during the pandemic has its own issues, and he adds that “there’s only so much you can do to connect online, we’re in a period where we are still feeling out this technology”.

Meanwhile, Ho maintains that AAA’s function as a library to serve the people includes both preserving materials for future generations and activating them for audiences. “Our goal isn’t just to preserve material, it’s also to activate them for contemporary purposes and make them freely accessible,” he says.

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