Established in 1961, the Faculty of Arts was one of the founding faculties of the then Hong Kong Baptist College. Over the past 60 years, the Faculty has been at the heart of the University’s vision and mission. With strong support for Arts and Humanities from the University and from its different presidents and the University’s Council, the Faculty has been given ample opportunity to grow and develop. This is reflected in the development of new departments over the years, for example the Department of Music and Fine Arts in 1972, the Department of Humanities and Creative Writing in 2012, and, most recently, the Department of Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies in 2019. Today, the Faculty of Arts encompasses seven departments (Chinese Language and Literature; English Language and Literature; Humanities and Creative Writing; Music; Religion and Philosophy; Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies; and the Language Centre), four research centres (for Applied Ethics; Chinese Cultural Heritage; Sino-Christian Studies; and Translation), and two institutes (the Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology and the Mr. Simon Suen and Mrs. Mary Suen Sino-Humanitas Institute).
An important feature of the Faculty is the rich and enabling environment in which teaching and research are embedded. This environment is constituted, among other things, by the vital contributions of the Faculty’s many signature programmes. In 2004, the Faculty’s International Writers’ Workshop and Writers-in-Residence programme were established. The IWW has hosted a remarkable number of outstanding writers, including Olga Tokarczuk, winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Faculty’s unswerving commitment to creative writing is further reflected in the creation of the Dream of the Red Chamber Award in 2005. Awarded every two years, this award honors the author of an outstanding novel written in Chinese. Awarded authors include Mo Yan, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012. In 2020, a generous donation from the Tin Ka Ping foundation made it possible for the Faculty to further support creative writing in Chinese. Our Chinese Writers’ Workshop honors a Distinguished Writer, just as it supports creative writers through writers-in-residence programmes. Signature programmes such as these create an inspiring and especially meaningful milieu for Arts and Humanities endeavours. The correlation between a well developed environment and outstanding research achievements was clearly established in 2021, the year of our 60th anniversary. More specifically, when the results of the Hong Kong government’s 2020 Research Assessment Exercise were released in May 2021, it became clear that our colleagues in humanities and creative writing were seen as leaders in the relevant area. The stellar performance of the Department of Music, ranked first in the University Grants Committee sector, must also be seen in the context of the remarkably rich research and teaching environment that colleagues have carefully envisioned and then nurtured over the years.
As a Faculty, our most recent efforts at development have focused on how researchers can be integrated into dynamic and inspiring research environments. Our Faculty Niche Research Area, which is devoted to Well-being, Value and the Public Good, encompasses six deeply interdisciplinary research groups, each with a clear and distinct research mission. Our research groups in Performance Studies, Chinese and Cross-cultural Health Humanities, Framing Public Culture, Creativity, Self and Society, Minority Studies/Marginalized Populations Studies, and Anthropocene Studies are currently creating personally and professionally rewarding connections across the Faculty of Arts. This, in turn, facilitates deep collaboration across disciplines. Our research groups are also, increasingly, serving as an inspiring training ground for our research postgraduate students.
As we look back, but also ahead, we are filled with profound gratitude and also considerable hope. We continue to recruit outstanding colleagues. Our institutional culture is robustly collegial. Our colleagues are brimming with ideas and energy. We are well supported by the University which continues to affirm art and culture, most recently with a new emphasis on art and technology, which will undoubtedly fuel the next phase of development. Finally, our students continue to recognize the value of what we have to offer, just as they continue to be adept at forging meaningful and rewarding post-graduation lives. Our graduates remain a constant source of pride!
I would like to close with a sincere wish: may the next 60 years be as fruitful as the ones that have prompted this message!
The Chinese Writers' Workshop was founded. Its Distinguished Chinese Writers Series was inaugurated.
The Department of Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies was established.
The Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology (JAS) and Mr. Simon Suen and Mrs. Mary Suen Sino-Humanitas Institute (SHI) were housed under the Faculty of Arts.
The Department of Humanities and Creative Writing was established.
The Centre for Chinese Cultural Heritage was established.
"The Dream of the Red Chamber Award: The World’s Distinguished Novel in Chinese” was launched.
The International Writers’ Workshop and Writer-in-Residence programme were founded.
The Centre for Sino-Christian Studies was established.
The Centre for Translation was established.
The Centre for Applied Ethics was set up.
The B.A. (Honours) in Humanities and the B.A. (Honours) in Translation programmes began to be offered.
The Department of Music and Fine Arts was established.
The Department of History and Geography and the Department of Sociology and Social Work were transferred to the Faculty of Social Sciences.
The Faculty of Arts consisted of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, the Department of English Language and Literature, the Department of Fine Arts, and the Religion and Philosophy Programme.
The Faculty of Arts consisted of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, the Department of Foreign Language and Literature, the Department of History and Geography, and the Department of Sociology and Social Work.
The Department of Religion and Philosophy and the Department of Chinese Language were established.