HKU Fine Arts in 40 Years

2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the Department of Fine Arts. HKUFAAA, established at this moment in time, will help celebrate the occasion throughout this year with all alumni, teachers, and students.

In 40 Years Timeline: support us with your stories

We hope this Timeline below gives everyone a quick grasp of how HKU Fine Arts develops over the past few decades and how tertiary art education positions in the broader local art scene. This Timeline is still work in progress and if there is anything important being left out, please help us to enrich it.

We are in the process of collecting stories about HKU Fine Arts. Anything from an old photo, a signature line of a professor, to a cranky furniture in the department, or an unforgettable field trip will do. This allows alumni to understand more about the history of this Department and to unite their passion to promote art history in Hong Kong.

Email to Your input would be tremendously valued.



  1. 1953

    The University of Hong Kong (HKU) offers its first undergraduate course on Chinese art and archaeology at the Department of Chinese, before the Department of Fine Arts is established.

  2. 1953

    Professor Drake establishes a collection of Chinese art and archaeology to be housed in Fung Ping Shan Building for teaching purposes. The site is converted to the Fung Ping Shan Museum in 1963 and is renamed as the University Museum and Art Gallery in 1994.


  1. 1962

    The first public art museum City Hall Art Gallery opens at the City Hall High Block. It is later renamed Hong Kong Art & Museum Gallery in 1969, restructured into Hong Kong Museum of History and Hong Kong Museum of Art in 1975. The latter is relocated to its current Tsim Sha Tsui premises in 1991.

  2. 1963

    From a two-year programme offered at New Asia College, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) becomes the first tertiary institute in Hong Kong that offers bachelor degree on studio art practice and visual art history.


  1. 1971

    Art Museum of the Chinese University of Hong Kong opens.

  2. 1972

    Hong Kong Technical College (later the Hong Kong Polytechnic University) establishes the Department of Design.

  3. 1973

    The first international auction in Asia is hosted by Sotheby's.

  4. 1975

    Contemporary Hong Kong Art Biennial Exhibition is organized by Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Urban Council.

  5. 1977

    Hong Kong Art Centre opens.

  6. 1978

    The Department of Fine Arts at HKU is founded. Professor Chuang Shen (front row, third right) is the founding Department Head (retires in 1988).

  7. 1979

    Dr. Carolyn Muir joins the Department, the first to teach Western art history (retires in 2013).


  1. 1982

    The first departmental field trip outside Hong Kong: Silk Road.

  2. 1982

    Professor Shih Hsio-yen joins the Department as Head (retires in 1993).

  3. 1983

    The Department moves from Fung Ping Shan Building to the Main Building.

  4. 1984

    Fringe Club is formed.

  5. 1985

    The Department organizes art exhibition on a regular basis for a decade. Professor Richard Stanley-Baker joins the Department (retires in 2005).

  6. 1986

    Professor David Clarke joins the Department (retires in 2017).

  7. 1988

    The University of Hong Kong Museum Society is formed by Mrs. Margaret Wang, whose husband Dr. Wang Gungwu was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong.

  8. 1989

    Professor Wan Qingli joins the Department (retires in 2005).


  1. 1991

    The Department begins to offer fine arts courses to students of other faculties in HKU.

  2. 1992

    The Department of Extra Mural Studies is restructured into the School of Professional and Continuing Education (HKU SPACE) and continues to offer short courses on fine arts to the general public.

  3. 1992

    The Department begins to digitize its slide collection and develop Fine Arts Interactive Visual Archive (FAIVA), a pioneering digital tool in the 1990s for students to search for art images.

  4. 1995

    Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) is established.

  5. 1996

    Para Site is established as a non-profit art space in Hong Kong.

  6. 1998

    The former Government Supplies Department compound develops into Oil Street Artist Village.

  7. 1999

    Professor Greg Thomas joins the Department.


  1. 2000

    At the turn of the century, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong Art School, and Hong Kong Heritage Museum are established.

  2. 2001

    Cattle Depot Artist Village opens and HK Pavillion inaugurates at the Venice Biennale.

  3. 2003

    Fotan Open Studios begins.

  4. 2004

    The Academy of Visual Arts (AVA) in Hong Kong Baptist University is established.

  5. 2005

    Dr. Koon Yeewan joins the Department.

  6. 2006

    With the restructuring of the Faculty of Arts, the Department becomes one of the six disciplines under the School of Humanities.
    Dr. Rosyln Lee Hammers joins the Department.

  7. 2008

    Art HK (Hong Kong Art Fair) makes its debut (bought by Art Basel in 2011).
    ArtisTree opens.


  1. 2012

    The Department moves to the Centennial Campus when HKU celebrates its 100th anniversary. Undergraduate degree programme changes from 3-year to 4-year. The Department also offer its first common core course for students across all faculties in HKU.

  2. 2012

    Asia Society Hong Kong Centre opens in the former Explosive Magazine, Admiralty.

  3. 2014

    The Department is credited for its top research output in HKU.

  4. 2018

    Tai Kwun opens.

  5. 2018

    HKU Fine Arts Alumni Association is established.

  6. 2019

    The Department offers the first taught master programme in art history.