Issue 2 (23 Oct 2013)


Featured Story: Community Building @ Pokfulam Village

Mary Ho, Lecturer, GHELC

Fire dragon dance in Pokfulam Village has a history spanning more than 100 years (Source: Caritas Pokfulam Community Development Project)

Early this month, Pokfulam Village has been named in the World Monument Watch List, which features 67 cultural heritage sites under threat around the world, including Venice City in Italy and Yangon, historic city centre in Myanmar. The Pokfulam Village is one of the oldest villages in Hong Kong, dating back to as far back as the 1730. It transformed from a simple agricultural community to a local commercial centre in the 1950s, until urbanization rapidly changed the landscape into mid-level to luxury housing projects. Today, the village is often mistaken for an urban slum due to its construction from temporary, poor quality materials as restricted by the squatter control policy.

Being a neighbor of Pokfulam Village, our University forms partnership with Caritas Pokfulam Community Development Project to foster positive community capacity building in the village. “Pokfulam Village offers a platform for linking classroom learning and experiences outside the classroom. It gives students the opportunities to discover the value of intentional communities in developing habits of reflection and in reconciling people of different backgrounds and social groups and also, to demonstrate an understanding of sustainable community and heritage development in Hong Kong”, said Benjamin Sin, an HKU alumnus and project lead of Caritas Pokfulam Community Development Project.

Houses in Pokfulam Village (Source: Caritas Pokfulam Community Development Project)

At HKU, we want our shared community to be the best it can be.

Beginning next semester, the Division of Landscape Architecture, with the support from our Centre, will be co-building a sustainable community in Pokfulam Village. Twelve students of ARCH7042 Landscape Practicum will build a community urban farm co-shared by the villagers and HKU community to promote sustainable living and green education. Not only will students’ design be realized in physical form and their understandings of landscape and architectural design will be strengthened, the students will also engage with villagers to consult their expectations to the new urban farm and how they would use it. The urban farm will be available to HKU community for education purposes. Faculty members and students, with villagers, will be able to interact and co-build a sustainable community with which we both share. In long run, the urban farm serves as a good demonstrator to advocate how ‘green living’, such as growing your own food, can easily be implemented in urban villages – promoting the ‘eat local’ and ‘reduce food’s carbon footprint’ environment concepts. In alignment with the Pokfulam Village’s community garden, the project will strengthen the community identity.

Hay storage while the dairy farm was still operation in Pokfulam Village

The Caritas Pokfulam Community Development Project, established in 1991, has been campaigning to sustain the heritage settlement of Pokfulam Village. Caritas identified three emerging threats of Pokfulam Village: fading-out glory, top-down town planning, and over-regulating squatter control policy. In supporting villagers’ effort to sustain the heritage of the village, the Caritas has been working with villagers in three main areas: revealing the heritage value to the public, co-building a sustainable community, and advocating protection under conservation laws.

In alignment with Caritas’ works at Pokfulam Village, our Centre will continue to explore with Faculties on various multidisciplinary experiential learning projects. Faculty staff interested in learning more about different experiential learning opportunities at Pokfulam Village can contact us.

News Update


Experiential Learning Fund 2013-2014 (Second Round) – Call for Applications

The Experiential Learning Fund supports Faculties in introducing, expanding or enhancing experiential learning in their undergraduate curriculum. The deadline for the second round of applications is December 20, 2013. This round of applications is for experiential learning projects to take place in January term and summer.

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Information Session on Experiential Learning Fund on November 1, 2013

The information session is open to all teaching staff who are interested in finding out more about the Experiential Learning Fund. The funding supports Faculties in introducing, expanding or enhancing experiential learning in their undergraduate curriculum. Staff will be provided an overview of the fund, the key criteria and advice in preparing an experiential learning course.

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GHELC Seminar Series


Experiential Learning in Service Leadership – Nurturing Leaders for the 21st Century on October 29, 2013

In June 2012, the Faculty of Social Sciences launched the pilot project of Service Leadership Internship (SLI) under the funding of the HKI-SLAM, Victor and William Fund Foundation, which is supporting service leadership training in all eight of Hong Kong’s tertiary institution. The overall structure of the SLI and some of the experiential learning processes and learning outcome of the interns will be shared.

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Experiencing the Practice of Human Rights Law on November 12, 2013

The HKU-HKRAC Clinical Legal Education Programme is an academic-community partnerships in creating experiential learning opportunities for law students. The speakers will specifically focus on how the Clinical Legal Education Programme – Refugee Stream’s partnership with the Hong Kong Refugee Advice Centre (HKRAC) plays out in context of student supervision and enhancing the student learning experience.

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GHELC Student Workshops


Be a Responsible Partner on November 18, 2013

The workshop aims to empower students with the necessary mindset, knowledge and skills in initiating and organizing experiential learning activities. Three different issues will be addressed: common blind spots in experiential learning activities; respecting local culture, living style, environment and economy; and personal safety and team security.

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Past Events

GHELC Seminar Series


Landscape Practicum: the Experience of Experiential Learning

Mr. Matthew Pryor, Head of Division of Landscape of Architecture, shared his experience in teaching the new Landscape Practicum course in the BA(LS) curriculum. The practical and logistical issues in using real sites, the involvement of outside practitioners and commercial parties, and the unfamiliarity of students to the various learning activities and forms of assessment, however, all posed particular teaching challenges which needed to be overcome to achieve positive experiential learning outcomes.

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Life Review Project – Integrating Experiential Learning into the Curriculum

The Life Review Project is a thought-provoking project in Gerontological Nursing Course. Dr. Angela Leung of School of Nursing shared the integrating of experiential learning into a course and discussed the benefits for teachers, community partners, students, and the older adults.

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