Arts and cultural education

At FIS, we believe in the importance of teaching and exploring culture and the arts, as they stimulate our students’ creativity and encourage open-mindedness.

Whether within or outside the classroom, students can take part in many different artistic and cultural activities during their schooling. Activities that enrich, inspire and build self-confidence.

Arts education

Overall aims

The arts are a medium for self expression. They fire students’ imaginations, challenge their perceptions and develop their creative and analytical skills. Students learn to understand the arts in their context, finding out about the cultural history and background behind different works of art and developing a curious and sensitive world view. The arts both call into question and enrich students’ identities. They teach about aesthetics in the real world and help break down cultural barriers.

Guided by teachers in kindergarten and primary, and art, music and drama teachers in secondary, students have the opportunity to begin, practise and enrich their artistic education.

Our creative arts programme has seven main aims, progressively enabling students to:

Learn about and begin practising art.

Explore, test out and participate in a meaningful practice.

Express themselves, evaluate their work and be open to otherness.

Be independent, take initiative and adopt a critical perspective.

Navigate disciplines linked to the visual arts and be aware of key topics in art.

Use critical thinking skills and contribute to an individual or joint artistic project.

Gain an aware, curious, creative, cultured and informed view of art and of the world.

From kindergarten through to upper secondary, arts and cultural education enables students to:

  • establish their own rich and coherent culture
  • develop and improve their artistic practice
  • discover artists and their works and visit cultural sites

A diverse range of artistic disciplines to choose from

At FIS, we represent and practise art in all its forms, from the visual arts through to writing, drama and music, including learning musical instruments and singing. Throughout the school year, students have many opportunities to take part in creative and performing arts activities, either during or after class.

They participate in end-of-year shows, such as Christmas concerts, orchestra, choir and theatre performances. And each year, our campuses transform into magnificent art galleries, displaying works of art created by our primary and secondary students.


  • Art exhibitions

Primary school students regularly exhibit their art. And we invite parents to the largest celebration of these creations, which takes place during Art Week on the JL, CW and TKO campuses.

At secondary level, BPR and TKO campuses host Art House, where we showcase the works created by IB Visual Arts students and French Baccalauréat students taking the Art specialty. The entire FIS community is invited to admire the collection during a private viewing. 

Students in the French stream can also take part in the AEFE photo competition Asian Countries in Pictures and Words.

All our students’ creations are shared on social media and in our newsletters. And secondary students’ work is shared via a dedicated Instagram account:


creart852, a virtual art gallery


  • Musical performances, choral music, dance and gymnastics

FIS students are exposed to all kinds of music and musical practices, ranging across different eras, styles and countries. Little by little, this broadens their musical knowledge, introduces them to the language of music and teaches them to be creative and express themselves through music.

Students are free to use the music rooms, supplied with many different instruments as well as electronic and computer equipment.

They can also take part in instrumental groups. And choirs who work on a diverse range of songs in French, English and Mandarin, which are presented to acclaim in the flagship Christmas choral performance.

Students can participate in gymnastics and dance classes as part of physical education. These classes help students discover and practise self-expression, coordination and choreography, work on agility and balance and learn to push themselves while managing risks.


  • Drama, speech, poetry and debating competitions

Students have the opportunity to both attend theatre performances and take part in drama themselves. They learn to use their body to express emotions and perform. They also study language and literature and learn the art of oral expression.

Students develop their speaking skills and showcase their talents through speech competitions, such as the French Speech Competition for international stream primary students, and poetry competitions, such as the Saved by Poetry competition.  

We also have a debate team, made up of secondary students from the international stream, which represents FIS at competitions such as the Junior Schools Debating Championship (JSDC), one of the largest tournaments in Hong Kong for junior debaters with more than 30 schools and 40 teams competing.

Specialising in arts – education for the future

FIS leads the way in prioritising the arts. We are the only school in Asia to offer the Arts speciality for French Baccalauréat students and one of only three IB schools in Hong Kong offering IB Visual Arts. Both of these arts courses encourage students to go further in their personal creative journeys.

In a society where the visual and the digital play an increasingly important role, we want to prepare our students for the careers and jobs of the future, either within or related to the arts. An appreciation and understanding of art, images and culture is essential for success in numerous careers within the visual sphere, including advertising, architecture, art, computer graphics, design, fashion, film, interior design and publishing. It is also key for roles in culture and cultural tourism, such as cultural mediators and guides, curators and exhibition organisers.

Cultural education

At FIS, we believe that culture is learned, cultivated and built on from an early age. Culture allows our students to develop intelligence, areas of interest and critical thinking skills. With this in mind, we provide a diverse cultural education, teaching modern languages, history, science and philosophy and enabling our students to gain both critical thinking skills and a broad general knowledge. Books and libraries, both physical and online, also play an important and dynamic role at the school.

The importance of books
and libraries

Books are a powerful symbol of the education that we offer here at FIS, while libraries are both important sources of knowledge and campus focal points.  

The BCD libraries for primary and the CDI libraries for secondary are places for students and teachers from both streams to read, work and research. Many digital resources are also available.

Librarians help students look for books and documents, give advice on reading material and encourage them to discover new authors.

Cultural events

  • Book Week

Every year, we organise Book Week, with reading and writing competitions and visits from writers. At primary level, students take photos of themselves reading or dress up as a character from their favourite book. In secondary, students celebrate the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Book and Copyright Day by taking part in a gripping online escape game.


  • Reading challenges and literary prizes  
  • The Battle of the Books is a reading challenge held across Hong Kong schools, with participating students reading as many books as possible from a selection of 20. The aim is to remember every detail from each book so they can answer the competition questions. Primary students from the French and international streams participate each year.
  • The Azimut prize involves CM2, 6ème, Y7 and Y8 students choosing winners from among five French literary works.
  • Les incorruptibles is an event for primary and lower secondary students where reading activities are organised around a selection of quality books, sometimes with a behind the scenes look at creating a novel, via the Incos serial.
  • The Segalen prize is awarded by Seconde students from French schools across the Asia region to a recently published Francophone work. Students select the winner based on its original writing style, its plot and the food for thought it provides.


  • Francophonie week

In Francophonie week, we celebrate authors from the French-speaking world. Students are introduced to less well-known artistic creations such as African tales. They participate in the special Francophonie quiz and the Give Me 10 Words competition organised by the French Ministry of Culture. These activities teach them new expressions and test their knowledge of all things Francophone. 


  • Cultural events with authors and artists

We make the most of our network and partners, such as the Parenthèses bookshop, the Alliance Française and the French Consulate General’s cultural office, to organise regular in-person and online events with authors and artists. This might involve exploring a particular subject in depth, as during the event with Jacques Ferrandez, author of a graphic novel adaptation of Albert Camus’ The Stranger, which students study for the French Baccalauréat oral test. Or it might involve giving students something to reflect on, as with the visit from Rachel Ip, who gave a lecture on the topic of conflict and migration; or the discussion with Antonin Atger, author of the Interfeel series, who addressed the topics of fake news, conspiracy theories and the use of social media.


  • Student publications

Our students are also involved in creating cultural work themselves, conveying their knowledge and thoughts by producing journals worthy of professional publication.

  • The Influential, a magazine dedicated to women and written by students in 1ère, addresses topical women’s issues in France and combines articles on current affairs with creative pieces.
  • The Environmental Journal publishes the findings of research carried out by students studying IB Environmental Systems and Societies.
  • The Medical Journal, written by our Y12 students, provides an in-depth look at subjects related to health, such as pandemics and their trends, or the use of nanotechnology in medicine.