HKAF Symposium:
Structure and Success

The annual symposium is an integral part of the HKAF. It offers an opportunity to examine a subject which is pertinent to the local arts community and its development, drawing upon the experience of distinguished visitors to the Festival. The topic for the 42nd HKAF Symposium is:


Structure and Success


How does the structure of an organisation affect its outcomes? Does form control content? Is it possible to re-shape the form in order to influence the way an organisation works and the results it can achieve? Festival directors and arts policy makers from Asia, Europe and the Pacific gather to explore these questions at the annual HKAF Symposium using festival structures as a point of departure. Together, the festivals represented cover a wide range of ways in which major areas of responsibility and accountability are assigned in the complex business of festival planning, production, and delivery. The directors draw upon their individual and collective experience of leading festivals to examine how organisations work and why.


For everyone interested in management, arts management, organisational culture and corporate structure, and festivals.


In English




Speakers: (from L to R in photo above)


Tisa Ho (Hong Kong)
Executive Director, Hong Kong Arts Festival, seeks to strengthen organisations she serves. At the organisations Singapore Symphony, she tripled subscriptions. At HKAF, she extended programming to unconventional venues, and embarked on producing and publishing original new work. Tisa is board member of the HK International Literary Festival, the HK Arts Administrators’ Association and the Association of Asia and Pacific Festivals, and chairs the International Advisory Committee of the Tong Yeong Concert Hall in Korea.


Lee Chor Lin (Singapore)
Chief Executive Officer, Arts Festival Limited, appointed on 1 July 2013 to the new independent company set up to run the 35-year-old Singapore International Festival of Arts which was previously managed by the Singapore Government’s National Arts Council. Chor Lin comes from museum development and was entrusted with redeveloping the National Museum of Singapore, overseeing construction of the museum’s extension, regenerating the museum’s team, direction and audiences.


Josephine Ridge (Australia)
Creative Director, Melbourne Festival and one of Australia’s most experienced and internationally respected arts identities. She was previously with the Sydney Festival as co-CEO. Prior roles include deputy general manager of Australian Ballet, deputy general manager of Australian Chamber Orchestra, marketing manager of Playbox Theatre Company; board member of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne. Josephine is currently also board member of the Tarrawarra Museum of Art in Victoria’s Yarra Valley.


Erik Söderblom (Finland)
Director of Helsinki Festival since 2009, Erik studied opera directing in Munich, graduated from the directors’ class of Helsinki Theatre Academy, and has directed the world premieres of several Finnish operas. A founder of Q-teatteri which started a network for free theatre groups around the Baltic Sea, Eric was also first artistic leader of the International Baltic Circle Theatre Festival hosted by Q-teatteri.


Kai Amberla (Finland)
Executive Director of Finland Festivals, a collaboration forum for Finland’s leading cultural events, with nearly one hundred affiliated events. Kai Amberla is also a consultant to a number of music foundations and organisations.

On graduating from university with an MA degree in world literature and musicology and completing his training in classical guitar at the conservatoire, Kai Amberla (b. 1962) spent a few years teaching. In 1989 he gave up "working as an honest musician" in favour of journalism on Finland's only professional classical music magazine, Rondo, and remained its Editor-in-Chief until 1995, when he was invited to assume the post of Executive Director of the Association of Finnish Symphony Orchestras. In 2002 Kai Amberla was appointed as Executive Director in the Finnish Music Information Centre (Fimic). 


Jorma Silvasti (Finland)

The Savonlinna Opera Festival’s Artistic Director, Jorma Silvasti (tenor, b. 1959), studied in Helsinki and Frankfurt.

Victory in the Timo Mustakallio Competition (Savonlinna Opera Festival) in 1982 paved a contract with the Krefeld-Mönchengladbach Opera in Germany. He spent from 1985 to 1988 at the Baden State Opera in Karlsruhe, and from 1991 to 2014 was a member of the solo ensemble of the Finnish National Opera.  Guest appearances have taken Jorma Silvasti to such illustrious venues as the Vienna State Opera, London’s Covent Garden, Berlin, Munich, Paris, Bayreuth and Savonlinna. He made his New York Metropolitan debut in 2004.

Jorma Silvasti has worked with such conductors as Leif Segerstam, Ulf Söderblom, James Levine, Charles Mackerras, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Antonio Pappano, Simon Rattle and Christian Thielemann.


Other speakers include:


Belinda Jones (New Zealand)

Manager, International & Capability Building, Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa.

Belinda has a BA (Hons) in Art History from the University of Canterbury and has worked in public art galleries in the South Island before joining Creative New Zealand in 2000.

Since this time, she has worked in various roles at Creative New Zealand including the visual arts, the Arts Organisations Development Programme and as Advisor, Audience and Market Development where she worked on the London Book Fair and Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM). Belinda is based in our Wellington office and works on international projects including APAM and the Frankfurt Book Fair 2012.



Moderated by Bill Henderson
Hong Kong based management consultant, with wide experience advising in organisation structure, key strategic decisions and human capital as Senior Partner of Egon Zehnder.



Organised with support of Finland Festivals



With special thanks to







19 Mar 2014 (Wed)




13:00 Registration and refreshment
14:00 Presentations and Colloquium
15:30 Open Discussion
17:00 Conclusions




Deutsche Bank AG, Hong Kong Branch,
48/F, International Commerce Centre,
1 Austin Road West, Kowloon





=Registration closed