Branding M+: Balancing Global Aspirations and Local Roots
Meggy Cheng, Sabila Duhita Drijono, Alina Boyko
Meggy Cheng, M+ Museum, Hong Kong
transcript s.7 ep.2
Discussion Points
  • Introduction to Meggy Cheng and her role at M+ (0:03)
  • Overview of M+ (6:51)
  • Life at M+ (8:17)
  • Hong Kong as an art hub (11:03)
  • Opening during lockdown (16:16)
  • Behind the scenes: The Yayoi Kusama Exhibition (20:48)
  • Expanding M+'s global presence (27:14)
  • Engaging the local community (29:06)
  • Marketing strategies and future directions (34:51)
  • Meggy's dream museum (37:44)
  • Final thoughts and advice (38:49)
Alina Boyko
Hello, this is For Arts’ Sake, a podcast that gives voice to museum people. Here, we discover their untold stories - for art's sake, and for your sake. I'm Alina.
Sabila Duhita Drijono
I’m Sabila.
Alina Boyko
Today, we're talking with Meggy Cheng from the M+ Museum in Hong Kong. M+ is a new contemporary art centre that opened in 2021. There, Maggie is in charge of marketing. As head of marketing, Meggy combines making profits with a bigger goal: to really make a difference and bring value to the community. Her major project was the immersive augmented reality exhibition of Yayoi Kusama. It was the largest retrospective of Kusama in Asia outside Japan, and it really changed how people in Hong Kong interact with art. At M+, Maggie has been developing innovative tactics that are transforming how art is experienced locally, making it accessible, captivating, and just truly enjoyable for everyone. We're looking forward to seeing how her work helps us understand and appreciate art. Meggy, welcome.
Meggy Cheng
Thank you Alina, thank you Sabila, nice talking to you all.
Alina Boyko
Likewise. So Meggy, we always make a very quick introduction. However, we'd love to hear directly from you. In your own words, could you tell us about your journey, your role, and how you really found your way into the museum world?
Meggy Cheng
It's a long story, but I'll try to make it very precise. I think it's an extraordinary journey, how I got to M+. I actually started my career working in the commercial sector. I worked for advertising agencies in my first 10-12 years, at Leo Burnett, and also at Saatchi and Saatchi and DDB. I’m basically a “commercial” person, but I always have a love for the arts. When I was in university, I actually studied drama. So I thought I would be an actress performing on stage. But of course, things always turned out surprisingly differently in life. I got into the commercial sector, I worked in advertising. But when it comes to my age, around 30-ish, I feel like I really need to go for something that I'm really passionate about. So I was thinking how I can actually bring arts into the commercial side and how I can actually use my experience in marketing, to actually grow the audience for the art scene in Hong Kong, and of course, in the regional world, or even internationally. Then I went on to take up a master's degree in cultural management, and this is how I actually stepped into the art world. My first job in art was actually heading the marketing department in a theatre company in Hong Kong, called the Chun Ying Theatre, and I stayed there for two years. After that, I went on to the music industry. I was the director of marketing for the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. It was two totally different art forms, with a totally new audience base, consumption behaviour, perception and experience. But what is similar is of course, both are in the performing arts sector.

When I was in the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, I got the chance to be awarded as a Clore Fellow. This was how my journey changed. The one-year Clore program opened up a lot of experience, dialogues, and also my love and my mentality on how to bring art into the world, into this society, and how I perceive the market so differently, in the UK versus in Asia, or even Hong Kong. I had the chance to experience a one-year program with so many art leaders in the UK and also from India and other parts of the world. It was really an eye opening journey for me and very inspirational. This was how I actually changed my perspective on how I can contribute and to go further in art marketing.

After Clore, I saw an opening in the West Kowloon Cultural District, which is a very new cultural landmark in Hong Kong. A well-facing landmark, which we hope will connect Mainland China to the world. M+ is one of the very important institutions within the district, together with the Palace Museum, of course - The Hong Kong Palace Museum, and also Free Space, which is a performing arts space, and the Xiqu Centre, which promotes Cantonese opera. So it's basically an arts hub. M+ is actually a very different one, because we are one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture in the world. We are one of the biggest, hopefully, in some scale and also in the number of programs. So when the opportunity comes up, I, without question, applied for the job. With my experience from performing arts, where I accumulated a lot of transferable skills, connection and network, I was awarded the job. I still remember when I was still a student in secondary school, when I was 18, when the government was about this big project of building this West Kowloon Cultural District, which was 20 years in the making. Now it has come into realisation and I could be part of it. I am actually very excited, and now I have been working with the team for one and a half year, and it’s actually my 10th year of working in arts.

Sabila Duhita Drijono
Well, that's quite a career you got there. Let's take further one of the points you've mentioned. So as you said, you spent 10 years in the commercial sector before moving to the nonprofit cultural sector. In your experience, what similarities have you noticed between the two? Are there any marketing strategies or lessons from both that you find useful?
Meggy Cheng
I think the two worlds - they work in very different principles and KPIs. I would say that actually commercial works are a lot easier compared to the art world, because the KPI is very, very clear. It’s about building commercial capacity, the finances and numbers. In the arts, I think it's more than that. It's sometimes ambiguous, right? Sometimes, when you market a program, the value of presenting the program means a lot more than the numbers, say, the visitations and the sales of tickets. It's about the value and meaning that you bring to the community, and how you use art as the medium and the platform to promote the artists. Sometimes there are big name artists, like Yayoi Kusama, but sometimes we have up-and-coming, emerging artists, which also need the attention. How can you balance that in the portfolio of managing the marketing strategies, and what it means to the institution in a long term vision? So I would say working in the arts is more interesting, but also more challenging at the same time.
Alina Boyko
Meggy, and on that note, as the head of marketing and branding at the M+, could you give us a brief introduction to the M+ Museum? We'd also love to hear about what your typical day there looks like.
Meggy Cheng
So M+, as I mentioned early on, is a museum situated in the West Kowloon Cultural District. It is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture in the world. We have a very, very nice view, overlooking the Victoria Harbour for those who have never visited Hong Kong. You know how lovely our skyline is. We are among Hong Kong's most iconic landmarks. We just opened in November 2021. We are a baby Museum, I would say.

We're a museum that is dedicated to collecting and exhibiting and interpreting visual art design and architecture and also moving images. Also, Hong Kong’s visual culture is also a core element in our collection. What we are focusing on in our collection is the 20th and 21st century's artwork. We are also ambitiously hoping to establish ourselves as one of the world's leading cultural institutions, of course. Because we're so new, we hope that our presentation will be able to actually reflect the unique time and space that really speaks to the local, and also the International. We are looking to the here and now, and also to the future. We also hope to build the Hong Kong historic balance of the local and international, so we can define a distinctive voice and innovative voice for Asia. This is the mission that we have.

Alina Boyko
Could you maybe talk a little bit about your role there? What does Meggy do on a day-to-day basis?
Meggy Cheng
Like all people who work in the museum - very, very busy. We basically contribute probably 15 hours of our time working on something that we love. But I'm lucky because I got to work in something that I am really interested in, and I know that this is a love that I'm going to carry on for the rest of my life. Even when I’m retired, I still hope to come back to museums every single day.

I lead a small team of 6 people. We have interns coming to help. I love the interns, they always bring in crazy ideas, new thoughts. Aside from the marketing, we are also working under the District Department, where we have a dedicated team looking after the marketing for the Home Affairs Museum, the Free Space, and the other the business unit. So we actually work very closely with other teams in the museum, such as the development team, which is in charge of the sponsorship, patrons and also members. We also work very closely with the digital team.

What makes M+ quite unique as a setup for its curatorial is that, aside from the curatorial team, which consists of artists and creators, we also put the learning and interpretation team under the curatorial team, meaning that learning is part of the curatorial process. Apart from that, we also have a digital editorial content team. And because we are serving 20th-21st and contemporary arts, we know that the digital space shouldn't be just a platform for information or a channel of content. We know that we have to have our display also featured in the online context. That's why you can see, we have an M+ library online where people can easily find out all the collections information we have. Our digital content team also constantly produces different artists' talk, behind the scenes chit-chat, and also Sign Language Programme, which caters to people who have different special needs, also a lot of different digital commercial work, which we always put on our digital and social media content. This is why M+ is now operating on 9 social media platforms at the same time, including Mainland Chinese ones. And of course, for international audiences, we have to constantly have content on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube. Outside of that, we also have the Mainland Chinese channels, which are WeChat, Weibo, Xiaohongshu, the Red and also Bili Bili.

Sabila Duhita Drijono
Meggy, we’d also love to hear more about Hong Kong being a hub for contemporary art in recent years. What do you think makes M+ stand out from other contemporary art places in Hong Kong, and maybe even around the world? Why do you think people from other cities, or even countries, should come to M+?
Meggy Cheng
Very good question, actually. I think when the district set up M+, they had a very clear mission, to work within the whole scheme of the city. I'm not sure whether the UK audience is aware that in Hong Kong, we just merged the Cultural, Sports and Tourism Bureau into one entity under the government sector. So, we are actually one of the very core entities that has to work hand in hand with the sports and also tourism. M+ actually has this purpose of actually serving the visitors from all over the world, because Hong Kong is such a central hub in Asia - we hope that we could retain that even after COVID. We know a lot of cities are already catching up, like in Korea, they have a Frieze that was organised last year, and I heard it was actually excellent. And of course, Singapore, which is also another one to watch out for. But still, Hong Kong has its own merit and a lot of attractions, and we have been catching up quite ambitiously since we opened up in early February.

Hong Kong, I think, also why it's so unique, is because of the years of building its art scene, with key art fairs like the Art Basel, and Art Central. I mean, these are the major offices that have actually bought a lot of international art buyers, auction houses, and created this cultural economy that actually helped build Hong Kong’s such unique art market status. Because of this love for art, and the curiosity and habit of going to art fairs, M+ opened at the right time to take this behaviour and also this trend to a next level, to build a more public-facing art habit, with the free display of artworks in our collection. With the research focus M+ had and also the academic dialogue that we build with the community and educational institutions, we hope that Hong Kong is not just an art market for auction houses and art fairs. We want them to also enjoy the discussion of art and even benefiting university students who might be interested in pursuing an industry, working in arts, or being an artist, because they see there are opportunities for their art being showcased in one of the museums in Hong Kong.

We also have a lot of museums that are already doing a good job, like the Hong Kong Museum of Arts, which is operated by the government. The model is quite different compared with M+, because they are 100% subsidised by the government, meaning that the ticket price can be very, very affordable, like $10 (£10) to see a world class exhibition of international artists. But for employers, we work in a very different model. We receive substantial funding from the government but then we are self-financed, meaning that we have to run our own KPIs. We need a huge team to run the sponsorship, patron, and foundation to support our programmes. At the same time, we have to charge our tickets in international-standard pricing. In Yayoi Kusama, we are actually charging $240 per ticket, which is around £24, to come to see a Kusama show, but it's actually a very, very large scale exhibition of Kusama, where we actually imported 200 artworks of the artist, with the three huge installations newly created for M+. It is actually a very important show, probably unseen in the last 10 years in Asia, besides Japan. It is a successful story that I hope to share a bit more about, doing Kusama, and how we democratised Kusama for the enjoyment of the public.

Going back to the scene in Hong Kong, yes, we are still building up the habit of having our locals visiting museums as a habit, because we are a late-comer, honestly, compared to MoMA in New York or even Tate in the UK, but we are trying to fit into the context. Also, from a city-branding perspective, a museum like M+ is like Tate. You also try to position the museum as the cultural entity and the “name-card” for the city to drive tourism. We are starting to build on this in our marketing strategies, of how we can build an international tourism and tourist-audience base in Hong Kong. So hopefully, when people come to Hong Kong, they wouldn't just go to Disneyland, or Ocean Park, or go shopping, they would first think about coming to the museum.

Alina Boyko
Since we're talking about M+’s strategy to create museum-going habits in Hong Kong and its efforts to establish itself as a global destination, can we talk about its opening in 2021, when there was still a lockdown in place? And can you share the challenges of launching at this point?
Meggy Cheng
I think the COVID time has changed a lot of things for many people, professionally and personally. For M+ I think it was a meaningful one, because we opened when we were in complete lockdown. What we had was the local audience. In another way, you can see that we opened with just local visitors to begin with. If we don't have international visitors, I mean, then why don't we just target our locals, build their appetite, their love, and make connections with them, which is also a very good strategy. I think it's a very brilliant one. Because as I said, Hong Kong audiences may or may not have the mentality that they will come to a contemporary art museum every single week. We still have that perception of, “oh, I don't understand contemporary arts” - that kind of a barrier. But M+, with its spectacular architectural design, already aroused a lot of interest, so we decided to go as a “free museum” in the first year we opened, meaning that we don't charge anything - just come in at no costs. Because we want people to love this place, to come even just for coffee, just for the air conditioning, just for having a chill moment, kids running around. You may or may not actually spend half an hour one hour up in the gallery seeing some of the artwork that we display, or you might or might not understand what it means. But still, it is already a first step to trigger curiosity.

When we reach our first year, we are already welcoming 2 million visitors - visitations to the museum, which is amazing, as we still have a lockdown in place in November. It is actually very encouraging, and from a financial perspective, it also helps a lot to build the database that we need, because we are all accessible. We were able to drive sponsors easier because we have put numbers to tell that we have coverage and we could work with different community partners. Because we didn’t charge, we could easily welcome anyone to do anything with us, of course, aligned with our curatorial approach and vision and mission. But this actually helped build a lot of profile for us, which I think is a good strategy, honestly.

When it comes to the time when we launched Kusama and charge 240 HKD to come in and see the special exhibition, with a general admission ticket that costs 120 HKD, which is around 12 pounds, it is still considered a high price for most of the people in Hong Kong, though not so much for the tourists. I think if you are tourists, you would be ready to pay to come and see a museum, right? This actually became a challenge for my team: how can we change the price perception and the very perception for Hong Kong?

Having Yayoi Kusama as the first special exhibition is a very good strategy, as we have a very good product to tell and sell, and Kusama studio, working very closely with the curatorial team. It is an exhibition that has been planned for four years in the making, so a lot of connection has been built with the studio. We put together this excellent exhibition, not just focusing on the most popular items like the pumpkin, the polka dots, and immersive room, which we also had, but it was also about her narrative in arts and all the artistic motive, like how why she was obsessed with the dots and her fantasy with the universe, her connection with individualism and how pumpkins pumpkin meant to her in her career, and even her days in New York before coming back to Japan. Also, one very core element is the mental well-being side of her story, and how art became a healer for mankind, which is being mentioned quite a lot in her storytelling.

We try to bring this really important motive into our promotion. It's not just about popular pumpkins and polka dots - it's also about understanding the whole career profile and artistic journey of Kusama, and how art healing and messaging can actually weave into communications and also our public programs, which is more meaningful, actually, to the people in Hong Kong.

Alina Boyko
Talking about the Kusama exhibition - it was quite an event in terms of its scale and impact. Could you share any behind the scenes stories from this exhibition? Also, I'm interested to know, what elements of Kusama's work do you think really connect with your visitors?
Meggy Cheng
I would say, the pumpkin, actually. But, why the pumpkin? It’s not because it was printed on expensive bags, like Louis Vuitton. And it's not because it’s been displayed all over the world publicly, in a lot of festivals. It's about learning why pumpkins mean so much to Kusama. Do many people ask that question? I don't think so, unless you're very interested and very familiar with her art.

While working on this project, my team got to study Kusama inside out. The pumpkin story is always the best, because the pumpkin was displayed in the main hall at M+, which is free. We strategically put this as a free display, so that people can come even if they don't pay anything. They can still come just to take pictures and listen to the audio guide, hear the content creators talk about these pumpkins’ stories related to Kusama’s childhood, and how she found pumpkins as very grounded, very humble food during wartime in Japan, which was so undersupplied with food. Pumpkins actually became very filling items for the people during the wartime. Also about her connection with the grandfather growing pumpkins on the farm. It's all these very meaningful narratives - and also how pumpkins resemble individuals because they all look different, but they are the same, at the same time, just like human beings.

These are all interesting stories, and very touching ones that I always told the audience whenever I actually had to lead the tour. And people were always like, “oh, I see, now I understand why pumpkin is so important.” It's all these little moments that made people feel connected with the artwork a little bit more, beyond the famous polka dots that have always appeared on social media.

These are the behind the scenes stories that I always love to tell, and also how we worked with a studio to bring about the Al pumpkins activation programme, which we are very proud to do, with a local mobile telecom company. Of course, we didn't have the budget to actually create AR because we know technology is always expensive, but we actually managed to find a partner who shares the vision and the love for promoting arts.

The process of proposing this idea with the studio had been a challenging one, because as we understand, artists hold a very high standard of how you use the property of the artistic motifs. The polka dots - a lot of people feel like, “oh, we can just do the polka dots that resemble the Kusama’s”, but no, this is not the same. So every single dot that we put on our marketing material were all created by the Kusama studio. Yeah, so it is actually an insider thing that I can share. This is the standard that the studio holds so highly, which has so much respect from us and also the partners. The online banner, the menu, the posters - you see all, the dots are drawn by the artists studio. They will have their own judgement on the space, the size of the dots. This is one learning: when you work with artists with such high standards and requirements, you have to also work around tap perimeters and also the restrictions.

The AR content is something that we thought that they might not accept, because we were actually transferring a real object to a virtual object. We actually tried to propose to them by showing the demos and the mission behind why we are doing this, and also to build the confidence that we can create a visually realistic, that the colours and shapes will be up to the standard. We created a lot of demos to show to the Kusama studio, how we can visualise it in a virtual sense. Of course, they came back with a lot of comments about how the quality and the look of it should be fine-tuned. Also the fact that we are not only putting on the virtual space, but we connect it with five different locations in Hong Kong, including the Peak Tower, the Botanic Gardens, and also the Central Square of of Hong Kong, of course, the West Kowloon Park, and also all these outdoor landmarks in Hong Kong, we worked with them.

And then we had different pumpkins to trigger in those locations, so that people could actually be encouraged to go and explore that place at the same time, in order to have the pumpkin appear on their mobile phone for real. So it felt like the pumpkin was not just in M+, but it could also be experienced in other places in Hong Kong, which is important, because we launched it in the COVID time where people were very reluctant to go out. But we also used this as a means to encourage people to go out, to socialise, and to take pictures. You see a Kusama quote that we included in a pumpkin, and then you share it on social media. So I think this is a very good example of how we learn to work with the studio, or how we try to push a boundary, but we also worked within the expectation of bringing the pumpkin in AI for real. How we work with the partners in Hong Kong, to make them feel like I also have a product with the Kusama exhibition with M+ to build the connection, and of course, how the audience can take part in owning their own Kusama on the phone and have their own experience and moment.

Sabila Duhita Drijono
It seems that the Kusama exhibition has really set a high bar for M+ in terms of its marketing, and from what we understand, it's also made M+ into a popular destination for art lovers in Hong Kong. So moving forward, could you explain how you plan to grow M+ and put it on a global map?
Meggy Cheng
I think building the audience base is key. We are still trying to see how we can expand our presence in mainland China, because we know there are a lot of well-established private or public contemporary art museums in China. We are looking into how to build a portfolio in nearby cities, which we call the Greater Bay Area. Guangzhou, Shenzhen, all these cities around the Guangdong provinces. Also, of course, another core city will be Beijing and Shanghai. These are the A-cities, so we are trying to build our presence there. And through our social media, of course, and our overseas travel agent partners, which actually helped to sell our tickets.

Also, how to actually make a bigger presence and narrative with our partners and institutions. Every year, we have Keynotes by M+, where we connect with museum practitioners or museum artists in Japan, Singapore, or even America. We always try to discuss different subject matters. We partnered up with Art Basel to bring in 2000 different international visitors to do an M+ open day, just for the international people to come, friends from all around the world, to really come and experience M+. We will continue to work with different partners in different parts of the world to build a narrative and collaborative effort to really put contemporary art into the discussion and relevance in the cultural context and also the global contexts.

Alina Boyko
Given your work on expanding the audience, both internationally and in mainland China, let's talk about Hong Kong, because each audience is unique, and we understand that Hong Kong is no exception. Have you found certain approaches or activities that really resonate with people in Hong Kong?
Meggy Cheng
There are so many examples that I can cite, but I will try to cite one or two that are more memorable to me and the team. We know that, apart from arts, most people who come might not be about arts. We just have to admit that. These are the people that we wanted to drive, to come again and again, to retain and keep repeating to come. So when we were locked down, we realised that actually people came. No, of course they couldn’t come into the galleries, but they started having these little behaviours around the museum place. We started to see people jogging around M+ and also walking the dog during the day. We also have these local nannies who created small groups and played badminton outside our entrance because we were closed. It gave a very nice space for them to be sheltered. No wind, and then they could play badminton. And now, every single morning, we also have nannies, and also some young ladies coming to do their own dance rehearsal every single morning and Tai Chi. So, this is actually very interesting to me, because these are nothing related to arts.
Alina Boyko
Absolutely. So M+ is becoming a playground or like a sports centre in a way, you know.
Meggy Cheng
Or something that people would like to do to enrich their well-being, I have to say, right, because art is also part of enriching your soul and your emotional well-being, right? Mental well-being. But they managed to find, oh, I can actually use the space to do exercise, to do sports, to create their own activities. I even see one morning, there were people who were doing church practice. They were rehearsing hymns and every single week, we have people coming in to take wedding photos in one of our Noguchi playscapes by the American-Japanese artist. I'm not sure what you think about why people keep taking wedding photos up on the pyramid that we have on the rooftop garden. And we have little kids doing ceremonies, like graduation ceremony photo taking moments in our stairs, public space, which I think is fascinating, right?
Alina Boyko
This is just wonderful. Attracting such a diversity of experiences.
Meggy Cheng
And as you say, it’s nicely put. It is a playground where people can actually enrich their mind, their soul, or their body. And I love the fact that we always said that, “oh, contemporary art museum is like a box where people might have barrier to come in,” because “I don't understand anything about like contemporary art.” But if they try to build their own way of using the space that makes them want to come back on a regular basis, I'm sure one day they would want to come in and see arts, and maybe connect with one of the artworks. So they would start to understand what it means, and bring their friends, their grandchildren to come, which I think is a brilliant way of building the legacy of M+. Because you want this place to be shared and owned by the people in Hong Kong, and I hope this will be the place where they feel they feel belong and would love to come.
Alina Boyko
And as you beautifully put, it's not just a box, it's a living and breathing space that people can enjoy, enter just and even for a cup of coffee or tea and having a conversation.
Sabila Duhita Drijono
So, looking at the behavior of people in Hong Kong, what they chose to do around M+, do you have any idea on what to do with them moving forward? Do you have any programs that you think would engage them, or maybe even bring them into the museum?
Meggy Cheng
Yes. I was brainstorming with my moving image team. They were presenting this fascinating, one-year plan of what they're going to feature in their programme’s upcoming fifth edition this year. They talked about featuring different themes, riding on ecology, architecture, and sophisticated art themes. And I brought in this idea of - “oh, Hong Kong is also very famous for food, and sports.” And I recently saw some Netflix TV dramas that were actually fascinating, with sports theme. And sports has been a widely discussed theme, or genre and subject matter in movies. We should try to bring in this kind of element to the moving image selection. And they were like, “oh, that's true!”

We could actually step in there, looking into it, and try to explore. And they started having ideas, “oh I can bring in this movie about sports, and I can bring this movie about food.” This is a very good example that we discuss with curators: how we can talk about the artistic theme, the research element of our curatorial program, but at the same time, try to think of what the audience needs, what matters to them. If you do a cinema series about food, or do a cinema series about sports, or Kung Fu, I'm sure they will actually resonate with this more. And this is why we need that kind of perspective and connection with local people, so that they can be at least be attracted to some of the subject matter - something that they will understand, something that they can resonate with, and that way, they would buy a ticket to come and experience them for the first time.

Alina Boyko
Given your focus on making things relevant for your audience, let's talk about marketing strategies and what's coming up. Could you give us a little sneak peek into what's on the horizon? Is there anything exciting that we should keep our eyes on?
Meggy Cheng
I would say two things, which is no surprise to anyone who work in art. I think the web 3.0 And also AI would definitely be a ongoing subject matter that's going to change the game of every sector, including the arts, and there are discussion about whether artists still matter if you already have AI, who can create art on its own right. What would be the role of a museum, is to preserve and defend that, or work with the the evolving trend of it. This is something that I think a lot of museum is already looking into. I think this is one big thing. It's about the creation, a process and also how marketing will work around all these changes with AI, ChatGPT, and things like that.

Secondly, I think it's the sustainability theme, that M+ have got a very clear guiding principle on. Especially as a new museum, we have a steering group that is always looking into new sustainability practices. I'm not saying that we are an avant garde one, because I know there are a lot of different museums who are doing a lot better, but at least we are trying to put it into our hearts - how we continue to build our collection, especially when it comes to conservation practices. We have a whole building dedicated for conservation and storage. Because we are the only museum in Hong Kong that has our own collection storage, and this is why we have a team who are specialised in science, conservation practices, and research on that. This is unusual in Hong Kong, and we hope to continue to build it into the whole global practices, build our own generation of conservators, because in Hong Kong, we don't have a lot of courses that train that kind of specialties. We hope that we can work with local institutions to train new conservators, and how the whole process of conservation matters in the world of sustainability and sustainable practice, how to minimise waste and carbon footprint. We have also been discussing this. I think it's also a very good branding message to build on, all these green messages. So I would say just two things, digital AI, and also sustainability.

Alina Boyko
Well, it's hard to overlook the impact of AI these days, and it will definitely be interesting to see how art production and marketing adapt. So Maggie, as we wrap up, we've got a fun question for you. If money was no object, what would your dream museum or cultural space look like?
Meggy Cheng
I actually want to build a museum that is out of the universe, which can stand through time. The objects there can be preserved, and can be seen by people now, in the future, and also 1,000 years ago. I mean, this may not be something unrealistic when it comes to Metaverse and how technology is going to change in the next 10 or 20 years.

We have already been discussing whether we can build a museum in the metaverse, and whether what people would experience on the metaverse are still objects, or not an object? Is it still an “artwork”? Because it's Metaverse, right? It's virtual. How would the experience change? What if you actually build a museum that is not limited by the physical form, but is actually in the universe? Then anyone can actually contribute to that experience.
Alina Boyko
Can't wait to experience that. And just one final question, Meggy.
Sabila Duhita Drijono
Is there a particular thought message or a piece of advice you'd like to leave with our listeners today?
Meggy Cheng
Never stop being curious. And be fearless. Really work in arts, and build the space for reflection and inspiration. Curiosity and fearless mentality is important for us to carry on.
Alina Boyko
Meggy, thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.
Meggy Cheng
Thank you. Thank you, Sabila. Thank you, Alina.
Alina Boyko
Thanks so much for listening to For Arts’ Sake. If you liked this episode, make sure to subscribe and catch up on our previous seasons. You can also connect with us on Instagram at forartsake.uk and on Twitter at sake_arts. Thanks again, and we can't wait to have you back for more.