Rm N101, HK Convention & Exhibition Centre, Fri 16th May, 6:30-8:00pm
"Asia Should House Its Poor Before It Houses Its Art: The Funding of Museums is Best Left to Private Patrons"
Pre-debate vote: For 41% | Against 33% | Don't know 26%
Post-debate vote: For 47% | Against 41% | Don't know 12%
As controversy rages in Hong Kong over the government’s endowment of the West Kowloon Cultural District, passionate pleas also abound for more thoughtful state support of the arts.
Singapore has invested in art as a valuable part of national life - and in wooing market and tourist dollars. By contrast, in India government spending on arts is largely considered wasteful and unwise, with officials instead favouring fundamentals like health and education. In China, meanwhile, “museumification” may have resulted in some 4000 museums in five years, but many point to the lag in fostering critique, collectors and curators.
In this timely debate, Intelligence Squared will be asking vital questions about funding of culture in Asia. Are state museums just vanity projects that swallow up money that would be better spent on helping the poor? Should arts funding be left to private patrons who are more likely to embrace controversy and push the boundaries? Or are public museums important educational spaces, defining a connection with a country’s past and national identity for the future?
Which side is right? Come to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on 16 May, hear the arguments and decide for yourself.