Detour of Media, Art and Culture – Experiencing the Top Most Livable and Design-driven Cities at Helsinki and Copenhagen

An Inspiring Cultural Investigation Tour to the Nordic Cities

28 May – 8 June 2016
Tour Coordinators: Dr. Benjamin CHENG, Ms. Iris CHAN

Led by lecturers from the Division of Communication, 20 CIE students visited Helsinki and Copenhagen, the two cities which frequented the list of the world’s most livable. It was the first time CIE’s footprint was left on the Nordic land.

During the 12-day tour, they visited the studio of Marimekko, a world-class product design company based in Finland. Students were given a chance to interact with two renowned designers from the firm and had a close look at the design process of the brand’s fine products. The students also visited the Copenhagen Project House, a hub for start-ups and projects related to sustainability and social innovation in Copenhagen. They learned so much about the operation of start-ups and the sharing culture among Danish people through attending seminars hosted by the project managers stationed in the Project House.

One highlight of the tour was a street cultural performance titled “Canned Food Hong Kong” given by CIE students to give a taste of Hong Kong culture to the local Danish people. The topics of the performances ranged from Hong Kong local food and transportation to the political development of our city. The local people enjoyed the show and CIE students had a great time interacting with them. Through the trip, students learnt to appreciate different cultures and review critically their own lifestyle.

"A Quest to the Secret of Happiness"

NG Wing Kiu (Creative Communication, Year 1)

Before this trip, I thought that Helsinki and Copenhagen were like Hong Kong - well-developed cities drowned by cold faces. However, I discovered that these two Nordic cities put a lot of emphasis in promoting harmony among the community. Maybe it is also one of the important factors that made these cities so livable. For example, there was a famous mixed-use building called “8 Tallet” in Copenhagen which comprises residential housing, retail premises and offices. The two common playgrounds in the complex bring residents together. The design of the gateless doors gives people free access to their neighbours’ apartments. All these measures foster a sense of belonging and encourage friendliness among the citizens.

While in Helsinki, a project named “Helsinki Beyond Dreams” advocates the effective use and reuse of urban space. Citizens started a campaign on social media to encourage people to use the abandoned “Wanha Satama” harbour for exhibitions, festivals and parties such as the Restaurant Day (Ravintolapäivä) and the Cleaning Day (Siivouspäivä). These events successfully created occasions for community interaction and revitalize the deserted public space. Such initiative inspired me to reflect on our own way of living in Hong Kong. Why don’t we learn from the Nordic citizens to care and embrace more about our city? After all, Hong Kong is our home and the development of a community shouldn’t be the responsibility of the government only.


"A New Perspective in Seeing the World"

CHAN Long Yan (Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Creative Writing for Film, Television and New Media, Year 3)

When I was a secondary school student, I dreamt to become an artist. This study tour rekindled my passion in the pursuit of art and inspired me to reflect on what art truly is. Art doesn’t only mean creating new things by putting patterns and colours together; sometimes, the harmony among different things in a city can also be considered as a kind of art. In the two Nordic cities I visited in this trip, I saw how the stunning landscape merged seamlessly with the modernised shops and historical buildings, how animals were allowed to roam around the city without being hassled, and how people were encouraged to demonstrate their creativity through tiny things in their daily lives. All of these elements formed a lovely picture.

The harmonic relationship between people in the Nordic cities was also beautiful. I met many local people during the trip and all of them were so kind and friendly to me. The most important lesson I learnt from this trip is that we should open our hearts to different people and do not let stereotypes block our way in connecting to the world. The experience changed my way of perceiving art, people and the world. This is undoubtedly a meaningful journey in my life.