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The Night of Ideas – POSTPONED

27 January - 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm



The Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau and the Asia Society Hong Kong Center (ASHK) are pleased to announce the 5th edition of The Night of Ideas (in French, La Nuit des Idées), which will reflect on the contours of the notion of heritage. Under the title [Re]build: Beyond the Skyline, this event will take place on January 27, 2022, 5:30pm-10pm, at ASHK. Through its hybrid and innovative design, it will bring to you insightful and lively content, whether you come to the calm oasis of ASHK in the heart of Admiralty or you are live streaming at home.

As the year 2022 marks 10 years of ASHK at the Former Explosives Magazine heritage site as well as the 5th anniversary of the Night of Ideas organized by the Consulate General of France, both institutions come together to reflect on the past in order to shape the world ahead. Heritage is a critical discussion point in the debate about shaping the identity of future generations. In light of this observation, the Night of Ideas aims to answer a simple, yet essential question: What is heritage?

Leading French and Hong Kong heritage specialists, renowned scholars, institutional figures and art professionals will debate this poignant theme in engaging roundtables moderated by the Chairman of the Antiquities Advisory Board Mr. Douglas So.

The discussions held in ASHK’s prestigious Hong Kong Jockey Club Hall and broadcast live will explore the emotional connections between people and heritage. Some more potential answers will emerge in various forms, as the night will bring to life an exclusive neon sign exhibition from StreetsignHK, more than 80 images by photographers Hedda Morrison, Lee Fook Chee and Brian Brake taken of Hong Kong from the 1940s to 1970s in ASHK’s latest exhibition, Recovery, Resilience, Resurgence as well as a unique VR experience of French built heritage.

With two roundtables, The Night of Ideas will invite audiences to revisit its perception of heritage, and to engage in a personal reflection of what they personally consider heritage.

Panel Discussion 1: [Re]build the Notion: What Makes Heritage?
When asked about heritage, one will instinctively think about a rather old building. Nonetheless, not all old buildings are recognized as heritage, while some rather new ones are. This paradox questions the role that time plays in turning architecture into heritage, but also the importance of acceptance and bonding with civil society. In a broader perspective, this also ignites the debate on how to rebuild damaged structures, and how new architecture can be integrated into heritage, becoming a part of it.

Panel Discussion 2: [Re]vive the Notion: Can Heritage Take Hold of the Streets?
In Hong Kong or France, streets are more than a place people are just passing through. They are places where life is everywhere, and each path reflects the identity of its inhabitants. People share a feeling of belonging in their own neighborhood, and an emotional bond with all signs of life growing between buildings, including neon signs, outdoor markets, posters, and more. As the city evolves and grows, the look of streets can undergo deep changes. This raises the question of whether they keep being mirrors of identity of their local communities, and how their preservation is part of intangible heritage conservation.

ASHK Recovery, Resilience, Resurgence Exhibition

The more than 80 photographs by Hedda Morrison, Lee Fook Chee and Brian Brake trace Hong Kong’s history over a span of three decades of great change, from the 1940s to the 1970s. They highlight Hong Kong’s post-war recovery in 1946-1947, resilience of the 1950s, and resurgence of the 1960s-1970s. Recovery, Resilience, Resurgence is curated by Edward Stokes who founded The Photographic Heritage Foundation. The exhibition coincides with celebrations to commemorate 10 years of ASHK’s heritage site at the Former Explosives Magazine in Admiralty.

Streetsignhk Neon pop-up Exhibition

With an exclusive exhibition, StreetsignHK takes over the rooftop of the Asia Society Hong Kong Center to recreate the atmosphere of a typical Hong Kong street. Kevin Mak and Ken Fung, the two architects behind the project will enlighten the Night of Ideas as they invite visitors to reflect on the cultural identity of the cities and the confines of the notion of heritage.

Paris behind the scenes (VR experience)

To discover some of the most iconic monuments of Paris from a unique perspective without taking the plane will be made possible for the Night of Ideas, as VR technology will enable visitors to take a private tour of the Eiffel Tower, the Paris City Hall, Saint-Eustache church or Notre-Dame cathedral. These VR experiences will allow guests to discover the possibilities opened by new technologies in terms of heritage conservation.


Launched in Paris for the first time in 2016, the Night of Ideas in Hong Kong is part of a worldwide operation that aims at sharing the French culture of debate every 3rd Thursday of January, with the support of the Institut Français of Paris. From Seoul to Los Angeles, from Tokyo to Paris, passing through Singapore, Hong Kong and New York... 220 Nights of Ideas are organized throughout 90 countries.

The event has been featured every year in Hong Kong since 2018 with major local partners: Asia Society Hong Kong Center (Artificial Intelligence, 2018), Hong Kong Design Institute (Night of Architecture, 2019), Saint James’ Settlement (The Revolution of Sharing, 2020) and the Hong Kong Museum of Art (St[art] Again, 2021).

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