The Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) held its 57th meeting today.

WKCDA’s Chief Executive Officer Mr Duncan Pescod reported to the Board that the next few years will see some tremendous progress in the construction and delivery of various core arts and cultural facilities in the district. While the Xiqu Centre project is expected to obtain the Occupation Permit in 2017, the first phase of the Art Park will be completed at the end of 2017, with the completion of Freespace in 2018 and the opening of the final phase of the Park in 2019 alongside the completion of M+.

On the development of the Hong Kong Palace Museum, Mr Pescod informed the Board Members that a Public Consultation exercise targeting arts and cultural sectors, professional groups and the public would be launched after today’s Board meeting, with an exhibition carrying information on the project running from 11 January for six weeks at the City Gallery. He stressed that the WKCDA is keen to engage the public and stakeholders in taking forward the project, which not only will help the WKCDA to live up to its mandate to enhance cultural exchange and cooperation between the Mainland, Hong Kong and other places, but will also add a major additional attraction to the cultural offering in the District. He added that the Hong Kong Palace Museum will also provide valuable opportunities for collaboration with local institutions in research and education, as well as nurturing professionals across curatorial, educational, conservation and other professional areas of museum management in Hong Kong.

On the artistic front, Mr Pescod indicated that the fourth iteration of the M+ Screenings: Home Movies, took place at the Broadway Cinematheque from 2 to 4 December 2016 to explore how artists and filmmakers have used their own personal histories as a springboard to address collective, complex ideas of home and family. On the other hand, the WKCDA has signed a memorandum of understanding with three dance institutions in Finland to launch a three-year residency exchange programme running from 2016 to 2019, titled ‘Creative Meeting Point: Hong Kong x Finland’.

Members were also briefed that the Freespace Happening events held respectively in November and December of last year and in January 2017, have received very warm responses from the public with a total attendance of around 27,000 visitors. In addition to the next Freespace Happening event on 12 February, the WKCDA will also present the third edition of the ‘Rising Stars of Cantonese Opera’ programme from 3 to 8 February 2017 featuring two full comedy productions and an evening of excerpts from four classic productions with a cast of 14 emerging artists.

Members noted that in addition to Freespace Happening events, a total of 20 events by external organisations were held in the Nursery Park throughout 2016 reaching out to a broad spectrum of audience.

Mr Pescod also reported that the WKCDA has recently received some important recognition in different areas, including the Platinum rating in the BEAM Plus Neighbourhood (Pilot version) assessment scheme of the Hong Kong Green Building Council acknowledging the sustainability performance of the project, as well as two accolades won in recognition of the WKCDA’s innovative use of app technology: Gold Award for Excellence in Use of Apps at the Marketing Magazine’s Marketing Excellence Awards and a Silver Award in the Best App category at the International Design and Communications Award.

Following the Board’s endorsement at its meeting on 28 November 2016 to proceed with the Hong Kong Palace Museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District and the appointment of Rocco Design Architects Ltd (RDA), the Board at its meeting today noted the follow-up work to be carried out in producing a collaborative agreement with the Palace Museum as mentioned in the Memorandum of Understanding, received a briefing by Rocco Yim on the design concepts of the museum building and approved the budget for procuring consultancy services for the design and construction of the project by RDA.