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MJ Alumnus Publishes Cultural Map of Hong Kong

Louise Wong, who graduated from the MJ programme at the JMSC in 2005, is about to launch Hong Kong’s first and only design and culture-focussed map.

Louise Wong

The map is called Creative City and is a pocket sized map that folds out into six different districts on one side and one large overall map on the other side. The larger map features intangible cultural factoids about Hong Kong, for example about locations that feature in films set in the city over the years.

Wong says it is unlike other maps in that it’s had direct input from the city’s creative community about the locations that are featured, so most of the information comes from the artists and designers themselves about where they go for inspiration and where they like to hang out.

Wong and business partner Danielle Huthart (from local design studio Whitespace) collaborated on the project; Louise worked mainly on content and Danielle on design. The end result is something that will be useful for both thinking, curious, adventurous tourists and Hong Kongers alike. It has the added benefit of being beautiful too so makes a great keepsake or momento.

Cultural City

The map is a Whitespace initiative but was informed by Louise’s master’s project which was called “Cultural Desert or Oasis: Does Hong Kong Have What It Takes?” and used the controversial West Kowloon Cultural District as a basis to explore what makes an international cultural capital and whether Hong Kong has the potential to become one.

“What I learned from that project helped prepare me for this project, because, in a way, much of the research and knowledge I gained then was relevant to the approach we took for Creative City. We developed it from the perspective that Hong Kong already has what it takes, that creatives are already drawn to and inspired by the city rather than that Hong Kong needs to build more impressive buildings and spend more money in all the wrong places to prove it.”

While studying at the JMSC, Wong went to work at the NY Daily News in New York. Wong says this gave her the opportunity to live in one of the biggest cultural capitals of the world and to be able to compare it to Hong Kong.

“Last time New York was branded was in the 80s with the I heart NY logo,” says Wong. “Hong Kong doesn’t need to be rebranded; it is already a cultural capital. We’re saying: ‘Look! It’s here already!'”

Prior to completing her Master of Journalism, Louise worked as a news anchor for TVB Pearl as well as a presenter for RTHK news. After graduating she became a business producer for CNN. Louise then left the media and went into communications consultancy work at a company called Lancashire Road before her latest job as a Manager in Corporate and Financial Communications for Burson-Marsteller, a PR agency that specialises in crisis and reputation management.

The Creative City map is scheduled to be available at bookstores and selected boutiques from July 1 and cost HK$28.