Buskers as agents of change in Hong Kong

Chi Ying LAM, Lee CHENG, Yang HE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


While busking can provide entertainment and contribute to community development, it can also stimulate discussions and debates within the community, prompting individuals to reflect on political and social crises. This is the case of post-pandemic Hong Kong, where citizens’ lives are tightly controlled; following a series of social movements, public gatherings have been prohibited due to questionable social distancing measures and the closure of pedestrian zones. This article presents a case study that examines the role of buskers as agents of change through community music engagement. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with three buskers, participant observation and field notes taken during busking events. The findings from the conversation analysis revealed that busk- ers and citizens’ participation in busking activities helped cultivate their creative expression of ideas, empowering them to transcend the rigid societal structure and unequal power relations between authorities and citizens, enabling social advocacy efforts such as reclaiming lost public space, expanding the community into the online realm, and fostering a cultivated mindset of ‘becoming’ that sustains the possibilities of autonomy within the community. Copyright © 2023 Intellect Ltd Article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-193
JournalInternational Journal of Community Music
Issue number2
Early online dateSept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


Lam, C. Y., Cheng, L., & He, S. Y. (2023). Buskers as agents of change in Hong Kong. International Journal of Community Music, 16(2), 177-193. https://doi.org/10.1386/ijcm_00084_1


  • Busking
  • Community music
  • Identity
  • Placemaking
  • Representation
  • Social space


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