Singing for our city: Using song, story and definitional ceremony to honour resilience during social unrest in Hong Kong — Josephine Wu and Samuel Ho


The social and political unrest in Hong Kong in recent years has left many people feeling distressed and struggling to hold on to hope for the city. Some accounts have blamed the unrest on the ‘shortcomings’ of the young people involved. As a counter to this discourse, we sought to elevate the voices and knowledge of young people. This paper relates the story of a young person called Sammy, who struggled to resist the aftereffects of the trauma he experienced during the protests in 2014 and 2019. Through exploring the values that underpinned his actions during the events, he developed a preferred story of deeply held commitments to protecting the lives and wellbeing of others, and to the city of Hong Kong itself. Together we explored creative means to document and share his lived experience. Sammy eventually developed his own form of therapeutic documentation, devising a performance that wove together song and story. This performance also became a definitional ceremony through which witnesses to Sammy’s story came together as a community united by shared values and commitments, challenging the silencing and individualising of a collective experience.

Wu, J., & Ho, S. (2022). Singing for our city: Co-research about resisting the effects of social unrest in Hong Kong. International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, (3), 18–28.