The University was invited to be part of a new three day public festival in Hong Kong presented by the British Council. SPARK: The Science of Art and Creativity involved 50 creative and education partners from the UK and Hong Kong, including 15 UK universities. Over 10,000 visitors experienced the ‘festival of ideas’ weekend, which celebrated creativity across the arts, sciences and education and encourages cultural exchanges between the UK and Hong Kong.
Under the ‘Creative Cities’ theme, Warwick was represented by WISC (Warwick Institute for the Science of Cities) who along with Hong Kong University (HKU) hosted an Ideas Café on Solving Urban Challenges through Big Data.
Our interactive workshop at the British Council building was full to capacity with participants from the local community, colleges, government and people working in the field of urban development, property and city disaster planning. Several Warwick alumni also came along and it was nice to welcome them to our university event.
Achieving smart sustainable city life is high on the agenda of Hong Kong and by sharing our research we demonstrated how collaborative, university-led collation and analysis of big data can help solve pressing real-world challenges. The lively discussions included, disaster risk management and law enforcement, green infrastructure and disease monitoring.
Professor Jon Coaffee, Co-Director of WISC and academic lead for the Sustainable Cities GRP and his PhD students Vangelis Pitidis and Philipp Ulbrich from from the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Urban Science and Progress.
Professor Chris Webster, Dean, Faculty of Architecture and Chair Professor in Urban Planning and Development Economics and his researchers Dr Chao Ren and Dr Chinmoy Sarkar.
The event was co-organised by the International Strategy and Relations Team, Public Engagement Team and the Warwick Hong Kong Office, along with Hong Kong University.
Professor Jon Coaffee commented,
Our Ideas Café format was extremely successful and it was great to present our data driven cities research alongside HKU. It was key to focus on the table discussions with the public who gave us some insight and challenging questions on the kinds of urban issues they are concerned about. It was a challenge to cover everything in a couple of hours, but the tea and cake worked wonders to encourage everyone to have a say! It was a positive experience for my students too, a great opportunity for them to visit a dynamic city and engage their research in this way. We’ve also come away from Hong Kong with some new exciting links with HKU to build upon."
Susannah Morley, SPARK festival director said,
We were absolutely delighted to have the University of Warwick on board as a partner for SPARK: The Science and Art of Creativity, working with the University of Hong Kong to deliver such an interesting, high-quality event which demonstrated how universities can lead the way in finding solutions to pressing real-world problems. SPARK has been a remarkable success; over three days the festival attracted more than ten thousand face-to-face visitors. Our 53 partnering organisations delivered 35 inspirational and thought-provoking exhibitions, happenings, performances and debates which demonstrated that creativity has a vital role to play across all areas of society. We hope we will have the opportunity to work with Warwick again on similar events.”