Hong Kong for the British Council

I’m slowly catching up with posts after my MT install imploded – welcome WordPress and at last a chance to post about a great experience: visiting Hong Kong to run a masterclass on ‘publishing 2.0’ for the British Council in January. I’ve been fortunate to work with the BC on a number of occasions but this was the first opportunity to see the work of the BC outside of the administrative offices in the UK. It was extraordinary to see the throngs of schoolchildren rushing through the offices in HK for their English lessons, as well as the numbers of people using the research/resource centre. Seeing too the ‘on the ground’ advertising of the BC’s services is a reminder of the impact that the Council has in promoting English learning and culture.

I had a great welcome from the BC team and the day’s session on their Online Transformation Programme was challenging and forward-looking.

Outside of the Masterclass it was great to catch up with Antony, who can now add “Tourist Guide” to his extensive list of achievements! A trip to the Chinese Opera over in the New Territories (a unique mix of music-hall, stylised morality tale, costume drama and comedy, all to a distinctive musical style) was the first treat. The surprise was how the audience behaved: chatting, walking in and out, generally not bothering to clap – indeed, running for the doors while the final chords still reverberated… Antony and I were the sole, but stoic, applauders at the end of the 3 hour marathon!

The highlights for the rest of the stay included:

The Graham Street ‘wet market’ (ie alive, wriggling about to be introduced to a cleaver):

Graham Street wet market

The view from the Peak – in the mist and rain:

The Peak in the mist

And of course the wanderings through the streets of Central and Midlevel, temples and street furniture:

Bollards in HK.

For those interested the rest of the photos (a restrained and highly-edited 46) can be seen in the Hong Kong 2008 photoset on Flickr.

New York – Publishing 2.0 for Euromoney.

It was a real privilege to be able to run three days of workshops and presentations for Euromoney/Institutional Investor in New York, with Craig Hanna of e-consultancy. Following a presentation to the Board in London, Craig and I spent 3 days with teams in publishing, newsletters and conferences, looking at a number of aspects of B2B publishing in the era of ‘the working web’ (as I’m referring to the post-Web2.0 hype).

Around the training I managed to catch up with some people I’d not seen in too long a while: Rebecca and Sanford in particular.

The rest of the evenings and a brief weekend were spent pounding the streets in the – ahem – rather chilly, sub-zero February air. The photoset is on Flickr if you’re interested.

Highlights of the trip were:

Sakagura – a discovery thanks to Sanford: 250 rare Saki varieties and a peculiar fusion of basement car-park blockwork, er, chic; wonderful food, great service and a surprisingly small tab (gawd bless the £:$ exchange rate!) made this utterly memorable.

The new (to me) Staten Island Ferry terminal; the Kerouac exhibition at the New York Public Library, including one of his long typescript scrolls; Top of the Rock – what a view! Barney Greengrass – how is it I’ve only just found it?

The streets were as interesting as ever, and this visit my eye seemed to be attuned to medium-telephoto details.

Tattoo sign over roadworksView through a cut-out in a hoarding, Battery Park.

Plus of course the abiding obsession with pavements and street-furniture…

I took the XPan along for the trip and have 6 films that now need scanning and editing, but I’ll post those as soon as I get round to it.