Shanghai Street: Arts in and of a City

By Jane Davidson and Victor Lai.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper investigates of the role of community projects for arts practitioner and researchers and the impact of their work on audiences. The Shanghai Street Artspace, set amongst the crowded Yaumatei and Mongkok Districts of Hong Kong, is directed by Victor Lai, and has been operating under its current community arts focus for the past two years. Nowadays the Artspace is a place where painters, photographers, writers and musicians exchange ideas and experiences with the local inhabitants and commercial entrepreneurs. Groups who use the space range from Cantonese opera troupes to singer-songwriters; market-stall holders to investment bankers; ‘Ladies of the Night’ to fortune tellers. Jane Davidson participated with Victor in the project entitled: ‘Street life of Cantonese Opera Singers’, and this case will provide the primary focus for the current discussion. The paper demonstrate that it is those personal motivations that allow participants to make a reflective turn to value aims and community objectives. Data included recording and analysing the biographies and working practices of the Cantonese opera singers alongside those of the project director and the principal researcher. Analysis showed how these stories impacted positively on the overall Artspace philosophy, and helped to shape subsequent work.

Keywords: Reflective Practice, Biographical Enquiry, Community Arts, Cantonese Opera, Hong Kong Street Life

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 1, Issue 7, pp.109-120. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.138MB).

Prof. Jane Davidson

Professor, School of Music, University of Western Australia, Australia

Scholar and performer-director, Jane holds Chairs at both University of Sheffield, UK, and University of Western Australia. Her academic and practical work inform one another, with her volume ‘The Music Practitioner’ (Ashgate, 2004) addressing the ways in which performers can engage in research. A visiting scholarship to work at the Hong Kong Institute of Education has facilitated her current collaboration with Dr Victor Lai. Her work is focused around musical collaboration, coordination and expression.

Dr Victor Lai

Head of Creative Arts, Creative Arts, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong


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