President's Award for
Outstanding Performance in Scholarly Work

Professor Leung Mee Ping Besset


Academy of Visual Arts

Professor Leung Mee Ping Besset has a distinguished scholarly career which has attracted international attention for numerous projects of her own. She has also been leading new strategic initiatives to advance research at the Academy of Visual Arts (AVA) and the University as a whole.

Professor Leung has long been a prominent participant in the development and promotion of Hong Kong art across the globe. Her area of focus – public art and community engagement – has helped to shape this niche research area at the AVA and furthered the University’s strategy to be a caring and socially engaged institution.

Notable among her scholarly projects have included representing Hong Kong at the Shenzhen Biennial, the Public Media Art Festival in Guizhou and the Land Art Biennial in Mongolia. A project that has garnered particular local and overseas recognition is Professor Leung’s PlayDepot, a non-profit organisation that connects communities and stimulates creative approaches through playful activities. Located in a post-industrial district, PlayDepot is an open-to-all playground for converting data and human resources, allowing people to work closely with young and emerging artists to jointly create a community.

PlayDepot has gained well-deserved recognition, being awarded the first Hong Kong community art project grant as well as funds from the Arts Capacity Development Funding Scheme Grant from the Hong Kong Home Affairs Bureau, the largest art development grant award in Hong Kong. The project was selected as one of the key public art programme in the first ever Bangkok Biennial. It has also drawn the attention of the Singapore Cultural Bureau which sent a team to make a film and conduct an interview about the project.

Professor Leung and her team is the only group in Hong Kong, and among only a few in Asia, to use “Play” as the theme of such research. PlayDepot is now developing new international adaptations as it supports artists to work closely with communities to support the joint creation of artefacts and research around the “Play” theme.

Professor Leung has an impressive record of activities associated with her scholarly work. These include frequent service on juries and selection panels for artistic awards and competitions, and as an assessor and examiner. In 2017 she served as an Advisory Board Member for the MAS Art & Society platform: Social Transformational Arts, the University of the Arts in Zurich, Switzerland. She has more than a dozen publications to her name and has been a prolific speaker at universities, schools, museums and public societies.

Professor Leung has a truly remarkable record of innovative scholarly achievement that has brought credit both to her and to the University. As a result the Selection Committee deems her eminently suitable to be a recipient of the President’s Award for Outstanding Performance in Scholarly Work.