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Creativity, Self, and Society


Professor John Erni, Head and Chair Professor of Department of Humanities and Creative Writing


Professor Helan Yang, Department of Music and Programme Director of Bachelor of Music (Hons) in Creative Industries


This sub-theme explores creativity through scholarly studies and creative arts practices with a focus on areas such as identity and selfhood, environmental awareness, a deeper understanding of society in a trans-cultural context, and the fostering of imaginative and critical thinking, all of which are essential to well-being, value, and the public good.


•    The sub-group is led by Prof. John Erni (HMW) and co-anchored by Prof. Helan Yang (MUS). 
•    It enjoys a good cross-faculty participation. Active members (besides the anchor and co-anchor) include Dr. Andre Elias (MUS), Dr. Benedict Rowlett (ENG), and Dr. Amy Lee HMW).
•    The sub-group held a very fruitful meeting on 6 November 2018, in which participants first introduced their own relevant research interests, before we explored common interests and brainstormed our potential research pathway under this sub-group. 
•    Research expertise in this sub-group is wide-ranging, including: ethnomusicology; popular culture; gender studies; popular music, class and censorship in China; linguistic, narrative analysis and language as social practice; comparative literature study, etc.
•    Prof. John Erni explained that the University initiated an initiation grant in a team project form to replace the individual FRG grants, in order to encourage colleagues to conduct collaborative and interdisciplinary projects. He also suggested that the research sub-group should focus on preparing high-impact research.
•    The group discussed a possible project theme of “Articulating minority, refugee, immigrant narratives using musical improvisation.” Suggestions were made to have creative training combined with research components in the project. 
•    Eventually, the group in subsequent conversations agreed upon pursuing the initiation grant, to be led by Dr. Amy Lee (HMW) and Dr. Benedict Rowlett (ENG). The project proposal, entitled “Exploring creativity and selves in Hong Kong disabled communities,” uses drama as a medium through which to combine cultural learning, experimentation and research inquiry. It centers on the creation of a Playback Theatre in which members of the disabled community will work together with HKBU students. The proposal was very well received by the majority of reviewers but was unfortunately not selected for funding in the 2018-19 period. The team is revising it for resubmission by the deadline of 29 November 2019. 

(October 2019)

Playback Theatre performance

Playback Theatre performance