A Rewarding Journey Starts With The Traveller

A Rewarding Journey Starts With The Traveller

Tisa Ho is a high-flyer in Tisa Hothe Asian arts scene. She has led major arts festivals and arts organisations in Hong Kong and Singapore and is part of a network for the world’s 100 top arts CEOs. Her passion for arts was incubated at HKU where she earned a BA in 1971 and an MA in 1973. But just as important to her success has been the attitude she has brought with her, as she told an audience at the Faculty’s prize presentation ceremony last November.

“In preparing for the journeys that lie ahead, it is not a matter of what you know now, or what else you can learn. It is more a matter of how you mean to approach the journey before you and how you will deal with what you find,” she said.

“There is a short quotation [from Beowulf] that has guided and inspired me: ‘Foreign places yield more to one who is himself worth meeting.’”

A Rewarding Journey Starts With The Traveller

In other words, it’s what you bring to any encounter that will determine its value and benefit. Ms Ho sees this both in terms of knowledge and experience as well as in having an open mind. Thus great works of art are often most keenly appreciated by those who have invested in their study and appreciation, although an open mind is the only prerequisite in the first instance.

This receptive approach has helped her to bridge languages and cultures throughout her career, from arts management training in London to senior management roles in Asia, including her current position as Executive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, and membership on the boards of numerous Hong Kong and Asian arts organisations.

Ms Ho left her audience with a thought-provoking challenge: “Would you rather be the traveller, or part of the landscape? Would you rather be on the move and learn or stay in the same intellectual place? ... There is work involved, and there is effort involved, to learn new ways of thinking, new ways of organising ideas, but what might that not yield?”