After two pioneering and very enjoyable years the first cohort of students graduated from the Higher Diploma in Visual Arts and Culture at the Hong Kong Design Institute.
A plain office type room on the ground floor was converted into a gallery for an exhibition of sample work chosen jointly by members of staff and invited visiting adjudicators. As the final student presentations and the following discussions among the selection committee were held in Cantonese, I was unable to take a positive role in the proceedings. There was not enough room available to exhibit all the work and so the visiting adjudicators and other members of staff discussed whose work to include and whose work to leave out. I would agree with most of their choices, though not all.
At the opening night of the graduation exhibition, the excitement of the students was palpable and I believe many of them felt that this was the first stepping-stone of their career. It is always a shock to see the work for the first time in an exhibition setting and I could see the look of surprise and pride on their faces.
For the teaching staff also this was a special moment. I can remember helping to prepare the validation documents and writing some of the modules that had been taught during the previous two years. Of course this moment, though touching, is short lived. We have the second cohort now halfway through their journey and a new admission exercise looming on the horizon.
However for now there is time for a drink, a piece of cake and a wonderful moment to share with the students. I had the special honour of reading out a letter of congratulations sent by the first Programme Leader Yoji Matsumura, who was now back in Japan. It was he who had provided the initial spark to the programme and who had given it direction.