Irene S. Leung is an urbanist specializing in cultural resilience, working in the nexus of diverse fields such as cultural mapping, creative value chain, and women’s empowerment for nonprofit organizations and grassroots international NGOs.
Since 2004, Irene has worked as an arts development consultant, specializing in strategic planning and resource mobilization, with a focus on collaborating with independent artists and cultural workers in the Global South. Her clients come from many disciplines such as visual arts, performing arts, crafts, to cultural tourism. As a big-picture thinker, organizational management expert, and a skilled facilitator, her work process has been described by a colleague as “constellational thinking.”
While in Southeast Asia 2005-09, Irene worked on a variety of projects in Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia. Highlights include a workshop on urban culture in Bangkok, bringing participants from India, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Indonesia together; and a study of the support structure for performing arts in Penang, Malaysia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where Irene also facilitated the founding of its first community artisan market.
Amongst her current projects, Irene is a consultant for Living Arts City, a new interdisciplinary platform at Parsons The New School of Design. She has taught courses on “creative cities” at The New School, and worked for the Huairou Commission‘s global campaign for grassroots women.
Trained as an art historian as well as an Asia-specialist (PhD, University of Michigan, 2001), she left academia to pursue a career in international development with concentration on cities and urbanization (MSc in International Affairs, The New School, 2007).