Chief Executive Officer (Planning & Arts Learning)
The Absolutely Fabulous Theatre Connection (AFTEC)
Lynn Yau is the Chief Executive Officer of The Absolutely Fabulous Theatre Connection (AFTEC) under the Leisure and Cultural Services’ Venue Partnership Scheme and a bilingual Learning Theatre in Hong Kong. AFTEC Is a non-profit Learning Theatre, an integrated arts educational charity. Founded in 2008 in response to needs to nurture strong arts partners in Government venues, AFTEC’s mission is to tap into the huge potential of the arts for change in individuals, particularly young people and those at risk.
The charity’s work is supported by a baseline grant from LCSD, some box office revenue and grants and donations in the main from the public and private sectors.
As the CEO, Lynn is tasked with overseeing the operations of the charity, fund-raising and strategic planning with the Artistic Director. Her other main portfolio is the design, development and implementation of learning resources with concepts that are novel to Hong Kong’s education system.
AFTEC is a charity theatre that premises teaching and learning on the arts alongside other disciplines. It believes in creating a diversity of interpretations on the ground with participants ensuring that the work is at appropriate levels, meaningful and capable of creating impact over time.
Lynn conceptualizes, curates, and produces numerous learning projects over the years for Hong Kong, from primary to postgraduate level, for students and to Training the Trainers. AFTEC works with people of all ages and focus in particular on young people and volunteers of different ages.
In developing an enabling and consistent education environment, Lynn has shaped an AFTEC teaching and learning system which is meaningful in its content as in it is embedded structure. It delivers a mode of questioning that guide and facilitates participants to come to the realization of key ideas through introspection and questioning as opposed to factual rote and mechanistic learning.
While too much of Hong Kong’s education is within four walls disconnected to the outside world both urban and rural, AFTEC’s system takes learners from the classroom to the living campus for experiential understanding. Facts are secondary and are tools to creative thinking and connection between the self and others. Disembodied learning makes for disengaged individuals. That undermines the fabric of any society.
Lynn deploys the arts with, for example, medical humanities at HKU to teach medical student to link their learning with empathy and emotions within themselves and their patients. An embryonic project in the planning stage is the possible revitalization of a small village using the arts and growing as platforms.
Lynn is the Hong Kong Scholar to the UK Clore Leadership Programme 2010-2011 supported by the Home Affairs Department through the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. She was commended by the Secretary for Home Affairs in 2012 for her contribution to the arts.
Lynn has a Master of Education in Curriculum Studies (Distinction) and a Bachelor of Arts in English Studies & Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. She was awarded a Croucher scholarship to pursue postgraduate research in Shakespeare, Beckett and Stoppard from 1981-83 at Royal Holloway College, University of London. Lynn has Certificates in Multiple Intelligences, Assessment and Teaching for Understanding from Wideworld, the online arm of the Graduate School of Education, University of Harvard. She was subsequently invited to be a Coach and has taught teachers worldwide.
A keen researcher and speaker on the arts and education, she presented a paper, From Inception to Insight — A Learning Theatre™ at Work, at the World Alliance for Arts Education Global Summit 2014 in Brisbane; a paper entitled Art, Artists and Cultural Learning Contexts: International Perspectives at the Worlds Together arts education conference in London in 2012 and was a keynote speaker at the HK Arts Development Council’s Cross-Straits conference speaking on the Quantity & Quality: The Qualities of Arts Education also in 2012. Lynn recently returned from the conference organised by the Federation of Asian Cultural Promotion in Penang speaking on the A Learning Theatre: Arts & Education.
She has recently co-authored a chapter on drama education with Prof Robin Pascoe, Murdoch University, for The Palgrave Handbook of Global Arts Education to be published in 2016. Biennially, she teaches the Arts Engagement & Education module at the Hong Kong Institute of Education’s Executive Master of Arts in Arts Management and Cultural Entrepreneurship. Lynn completed a week at the Harvard Business School on Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management partially supported by the Jean CK Ho Family Foundation.
She currently sits on the board of the Yat Po Singers and was appointed to the Common Core Community and Business Advisory Board at the University of Hong Kong.
Under her leadership, AFTEC was awarded the HK Arts Development Council Arts Education award in 2014 for the Bravo! Hong Kong Youth Theatre Awards 2013-14 for 13-18 year old giving priority to underprivileged young people.
The Sm-ART Youth programme, a sequential, inter-generational project that focuses on the same cohort of local primary school underprivileged children over 3 years, was a UNESCO Arts-in-Education Observatory (HK) from 2012-2014. The programme was filmed as part of global arts education to be broadcast nationally in Korea in 2016.
AFTEC was selected as a top 10 high impact NGO by PwC for its Social Impact Assessment Mentorship Scheme in 2015. Arts Change Lives, a Social Impact Assessment booklet created in-house and recently published in September 2016 may well be the first ever such report by an arts organisation in Hong Kong. A Theory of Change is included in this booklet.
AFTEC collaborates with overseas collaborators regularly. These include Cloudgate Dance Theatre School, LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art), and most recently, Birds of Paradise Theatre Company and Royal Shakespeare Company Education.