A decade ago, when the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) set up its masters programme in cultural management, it was a rare discipline. But today, emphasis on cultural industries, the rise of Hong Kong as a major market for art, and ambitious cultural projects, have given cultural management new attention.
Last year, 300 applicants from Hong Kong, China and other parts of Asia applied for the 60 places on CUHK's masters programme in cultural management - and the number is expected to rise. Jobs in this sector are usually underpaid, but the excitement and satisfaction still attract many.
Although it is still too early for big projects such as the West Kowloon Cultural District and the Central Police Station to start full-scale recruitment, there is a steady increase in jobs in both commercial and non-profit cultural organisations. If one takes the mainland into consideration, opportunities for cultural administration are ample. But, there are some problems, such as the poorly structured programme. Cultural management is a distinctive discipline with its own logic, operation format and philosophies. Also, cultural management is culturally contextual. One cannot rely too heavily on imported expertise or on sending people overseas for training.
Oscar Ho, consultant, Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, CUHK