University of Salford Art Collection to support inspiring visual arts exchange between UK and Hong Kong

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Registration is now open for the Peer to Peer: UK/HK Online Festival, an online platform for cultural exchange between the UK and Hong Kong’s Visual Arts sectors as they interrogate topical  themes of our time including art & activism, art in the digital realm and the climate emergency.

The festival has announced its programme of public events and panel talks, alongside an online exhibition of digital artwork including existing artworks and 5 brand new commissions from artists based in the UK and Hong Kong. Organisers include the University of Salford Art Collection, Open Eye Gallery and Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.

The Peer to Peer: UK/HK Online Festival will take place entirely online between 11-14 November 2020 on peertopeerexchange.org. The festival is free and open to all.

Originally envisaged as a physical exchange between UK and Hong Kong visual arts networks, the project has responded to the Covid-19 pandemic to become an online space where meaningful exchange can happen and partnerships and relationships can be forged.

Lindsay Taylor, Curator, University of Salford Art Collection, said: “At difficult times like these it is vital that we engage with communities across the globe, to look towards - and to shape - a bright future for both existing and emerging talent.  The pandemic has made us think differently about how we work internationally, but we needed to do this anyway to address the climate crisis.”

Curated by independent curator Ying Kwok, the festival has announced its public events programme. These will be a series of engaging public debates with artists, curators and visual arts leaders from across Hong Kong and the UK.

Arts Council England’s Director International, Nick McDowell, will open the event on Wed 11 November alongside Ying Kwok and festival organisers Lindsay Taylor (University of Salford Art Collection), Sarah Fisher (Open Eye Gallery) and Zoe Dunbar (Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art).

“This is such a heartening example of international exchange and partnership evolving despite the global pandemic. Artists may not be able to travel but – as this project shows - they can connect and innovate in the digital space, said Nick McDowell, Director International, Arts Council England.

The panel events will include:

  • The importance of artistic exchange as a radical and necessary response to a changing international world, chaired by Wing-Sie Chan from a-n, the Artists Information Company.
  • Climate change as the defining emergency of our times, and how visual arts can contribute to a greener recovery, chaired by Sarah Fisher from Open Eye Gallery and including Dr Richard Fitton from Energy House, University of Salford.
  • Exploring the realm of ‘online’ and the concept of online exhibitions v. exhibitions online, chaired by Hong Kong academic and curator Vennes Cheng.
  • A discussion of the profound changes recently affecting archives and collections; what they contain, who they represent and how they are accessed including Stephanie Fletcher Assistant Curator, University of Salford Art Collection.

"The themes that will be explored in the festival have grown from mutual interests from partners in Hong and the UK as we respond to timely global events and issues. It reflects how we have co-curated the festival with all partners in an experimental approach for international collaboration. We see this festival as a springboard for meaningful exchange between Hong Kong and the UK in the future,” said Ying Kwok, Festival Director.


Online exhibition & social media residencies

Accompanying the public events will be an entirely online exhibition of digital artworks from artists based in the UK and Hong Kong.

It will include five brand new commissions, nominated and selected by UK and Hong King partner organisations taking part in Peer to Peer: UK/HK.

Lindsay Taylor, Curator, University of Salford Arts Collection, said: “It is a pleasure to be leading Peer to Peer: UK/HK on behalf of the University and to forge strong relationships with new partners both in the UK and in Hong Kong.  Five artists have been commissioned to make new digital work for the Festival – and these works will be gifted by the artists to the University Art Collection as a permanent legacy of the programme.  Two of the works have generously been co-commissioned: Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley with QUAD in Derby and Hetain Patel with New Art Exchange in Nottingham – allowing us to test joint ownership of the work whilst providing the artists with increased exposure.  

“I’m also delighted that two works co-commissioned by the University Art Collection earlier this year have been selected for the online exhibition – bringing them to a much wider an international audience: emerging artist Parham Ghalamdar with Castlefield Gallery and Sarah Eyre with Open Eye Gallery. “

The commissions will be accompanied by over 15 existing digital artworks from nominated artists, to be announced.

As part of the exchange between UK and Hong Kong, artists based in each country have also been nominated for a series of online residencies hosted on the social media accounts of partner organisations in the corresponding country. The artists will respond to different themes set by the host organisation.

University of Salford Art Collection will host Shane Aspegren, an American artist/composer/musician based in Hong Kong on Instagram in the week leading up to the Festival. He was nominated by Jeannie Wu at HART.  In return WMA in Hong Kong will host Chris Paul Daniels from Paradise Works in Salford, nominated by Lindsay Taylor.

Further residencies will be announced on the Peer to Peer: UK/HK Residencies page.

Click here to find the full festival programme and book your place.

Image: Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley. 

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.