Art under one roof: What would Singapore’s first public arts university look like

Plans to arrange Singapore’s first public arts university, introduced in March final 12 months, are slowly taking form. But what would such a university look like, and how much programs would it provide? The Straits Times speaks to Singaporean artists and arts educators to place collectively a want checklist of what they would like to see when the university opens in 2025.

Wish checklist

1. Best of expertise

The new university should appeal to educational and creative expertise from abroad in addition to preserve Singaporean expertise right here.

For the longest time, Singapore has despatched individuals abroad to check the arts, mentioned painter Ong Kim Seng, 76. 

The new university ought to discover methods to maintain them and nurture them right here, he urged. “It should follow on from the general arts education that the School of the Arts is giving at a lower level.”

Former NMP for the arts Terence Ho, 53, added: “It should be open to the best academic and artistic talent in the world and find a way to attract them to Singapore so that it can be a regional or even world leader in the arts and arts education.”

2. Space for all

The college should make house for Singapore’s creative heritage as a spot the place the arts from the East and the West have combined, in addition to for indigenous and regional artwork varieties. It ought to embody fringe and experimental artwork.

“As someone who has worked as an artist in Singapore for the last 40 years, I know that things like Batik, Chinese calligraphy, Islamic calligraphy, ceramics, performance art as well as fringe and experimental practices are a huge component of what local arts is about,” mentioned co-founder and director at The Intercultural Theatre Institute T. Sasitharan, 64.

3. Artistic freedom

The new university must also shield creative freedoms and provides college students house to experiment.

“When we put on plays outside, we need to seek clearance and a permit from the Infocomm Media Development Authority,” mentioned playwright and poet Alfian Sa’at.

“At the moment, this is not necessary at Nafa and Lasalle. This must continue.”

4. A Singapore icon

The mixed faculty should develop into a hub for the arts group, in addition to the scholars and alumni to showcase their work and to attach, and be an icon for Singapore.

It ought to bridge conversations, set up fundamentals and carve areas to assist ground-up story-tellers of every kind, declared lecturer and visible artist Chen Yanyun.

The 36-year-old added: “Arts schooling in Singapore right here has to outline its personal rigour, and acknowledge all of the gamers which assist its improvement.

“The artist, curator, arts manager, accounts manager, engineer, technician, collector, critic, etc., are all important to the ecosystem in the arts university.”

Artists might be self-taught, versus different professions notes Alfian, 44. “That said, going to school is also about building networks and professions, and having a sense of who your peers are.”

5. World class

The college ought to construct world-class amenities to develop vocational expertise in addition to interdisciplinary ones, and transfer the trade ahead. 

Larger studios and extra skill-based studying in addition to cross-disciplinary studying are what Lasalle graduate Diva Agar hopes to see.

“As a student in fine arts, I would have liked to have maybe learnt from theatre technicians,” mentioned the 30-year-old visible artist.

Nafa scholar Siti Faqihah echoed the necessity for trade attachments in Singapore, whereas additionally calling for the growing of experience in areas reminiscent of dramaturgy that aren’t properly represented right here. 

The 22-year-old added that the university “should also work to cultivate graduates not just to plug into roles at existing companies, but to grow the industry as a whole with opportunities at all levels”.

More on the university

A committee has been shaped to work on the path, construction and working mannequin of the brand new university, which shall be created out of an “alliance” between Lasalle College of the Arts and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa). The two faculties will live on and retain their identities throughout the university.

The Straits Times additionally understands that the identify “University of the Arts, Singapore” is being thought of.

The committee, chaired by Ambassador Chan Heng Chee, will possible launch its  suggestions by the top of this 12 months, the Ministry of Education advised ST.

Nafa president Tan-Soh Wai Lan mentioned Nafa’s distinctive South-east Asian identification will form the brand new university, whereas Lasalle president Steve Dixon mentioned it has been partaking employees, college students, trade and alumni in plans.

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