2011: Singapore

The Arts and Cultural Identity in a 'Border-Less' World

May 21-29

UB Arts Management student with 'Walter' in front of the Singapore Art Museum on the 2011 Summer school in Singapore.

UB Arts Management student with 'Walter' in front of the Singapore Art Museum on the 2011 Summer school in Singapore

Over the past half century we have seen a rise in the creation of national cultural policies where states formulate statements comprised of aspirations and pledges in order to tell their populations and others what the cultural values and practices of their nations are. Yet increasingly we see that the notion of the nation state is challenged through new technologies and increasingly porous borders. Countries collaborate in international venues and prescribe areas of shared interest from participation in agencies such as UNESCO, which concentrates on negotiated legislation and protectionist practices, to the proliferation of an international festival circuit where various art-forms are put on display for their own populations and are designed to attract the attention of others.

We shall explore, through the lens of Singapore, (a modern state which is typified by constant change but with an agenda of social cohesion and stability), whether it is possible to maintain distinct art-forms and cultural identity whilst also being responsive to technological and other forms of change. The Summer School will provide students with an overview of Singaporean society, its history, culture and arts. We will meet with arts managers, policy makers, artists, and educators, participate in a public forum and attend performances at the Singapore Arts Festival as well as attend Exhibitions at various Museums and Galleries.


  • Framing Cultural Identity in Singapore - Doxa & Dilemma (T. Sasitharan)
  • Understanding Singapore’s Socio-Political Milieu (Dr  Kwok Kian Woon)
  • Site visit to The Esplanade Theatres on the Bay (J.P. Nathan, Director of Programming)
  • Site visit to The Substation (Emily J. Hoe, Managing Director)
  • The state of media in a State yearning to be a player on the Global Media Stage (Koh Buck Song)
  • Tour of Singapore Art Museum (Khai Hori)
  • Tour of Sri Mariamman Temple: A site of the South Indian pre-modern in Singapore led by T. Sasitharan
  • A Global City for the Arts (Singapore Economic Development Board)
  • Singapore’s Cultural Policies –Renaissance City Plan and Beyond (Benson Puah, CEO of the National Arts Council)
  • Stories of Chinese Singaporeans – An Alternative History of Nationhood (Hong Lysa)
  • The Underbelly of Singapore (Dr. Leong Wai Teng)
  • Site visit to Sentosa
  • The role of the Integrated Resort in the arts scene of Singapore: Tour of performance spaces (Yane Tan)
  • Tisa Ho, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival
  • Performance: Tempest: Without a Body  Lemi Ponifasio/MAU (Samoa/New Zealand)
  • Public Forum:  "Without Fear or Favour: Free Speech in a Borderless World."  Moderator: Alfian Sa'at; Panelists: Alvin Tan (Artistic Director The Necessary Stage); Alex Au (author of the blog Yawning Bread); Vijay Chandran (Chair, Films Consltative Panel, MDA); and T. Sasitharan (TTRP).