be/longing is a community arts-for-education lab that harnesses the transformative power of storytelling to cultivate and co-create cultures of inclusion for Hong Kong’s ethnically-diverse communities
The stories we tell are part of the ties that bind our communities – they reveal our histories, cultures, and identities. The stories we tell about ourselves and each other are mirrors that reflect our experiences of being, longing, and belonging.
Through participatory storytelling, be/longing reimagines the way in which we reflect on what it means to belong to Hong Kong. Each of us have different experiences of being in Hong Kong. Those experiences shape our sense of belonging or “un”belonging, and more often than not reveal what we are longing for as individuals, and as a community.
be/longing’s ethos is centered on the idea that we embody our social contexts, just as we are shaped by and embody the social contexts that influence us. be/longing calls for systemic change rooted in this multi-dimensional and multi-directional relationship between the individual and the collective.
be/longing honors the stories and histories of Hong Kong’s ethnically-diverse communities. Much work surrounding our communities operates using what Indigenous scholar, Eve Tuck, calls “damage-centred narratives.” While this is effective in leveraging resources to aid marginalized communities, this framework is predicated on the notion that our communities are singularly defined by oppression. Shifting away from a “damage-centred” framework towards “desire-centred” framework, be/longing centres individuals’ voices in the narration and negotiation of their own experiences.
Through arts education and participatory storytelling, be/longing carves out inclusive spaces for self-expression to co-create a Hong Kong worth belonging to.
Storytelling x Community Creative Arts Programme
Our Storytelling x Community Creative Arts Programme is where our participants are encouraged to “voice” their experiences and perspectives of being, longing, and belonging (or “un”belonging) through the creative arts. Rooted in anti-racist pedagogy, our programme equips youth with the vocabulary to enhance intercultural awareness, develop empathy and better understand conflict cycles in our communities.
The works that emerge from our programme are featured at our exhibitions which decentre the traditional physical and conceptual space of the museum. By using our city’s every day spaces (e.g. its shopping centres, offices, parks, etc.) as museums, we encourage you to engage in a reflection of the relationship between art and the every day. Our 2021 exhibition Culinary Cultures, centered on culinary practices amongst ethnically-diverse communities in Hong Kong, took place in Chungking Mansions.
Chats Over Cha
At the center of be/longing’s ethos is the idea that sustainable change is possible insofar as we prioritize collective healing and intercultural dialogue. Alongside our exhibitions, be/longing organizes Chats Over Cha, facilitated discussion forums wherein participants are given the platform to share the stories and histories behind their work, inviting the broader public to engage in productive dialogue, reflect, and become catalysts for change.