The Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) Arts for Good (A4G) Fellowship 2019 Ended on a High Note with its Delhi Exchange Programme
Last leg of the Fellowship saw 33 international Fellows bonding over arts-based community projects to harness the power of arts and culture in creating positive social change.
“I appreciate how the Arts for Good Fellowship creates circles of creative expression, cross-cultural compassion and convergence among artists and social programmers, through which the impact of their individual creativities is multiplied and harnessed towards collective action for transformative social change”, shared Filipino A4G 2019 Fellow Pia Ortiz-Luis.
Held from 10 to 14 February 2020, the closing chapter of the 2019 Fellowship programme in Delhi, India, was headlined by the implementation of community projects that the A4G Fellows have been working on since the start of the programme last year.
Focused on the Fellowship’s theme of `Creative Empowerment for Children and Youth´, one of the community projects took the form of a Fellow-guided, spoken word performance by Slam Out Loud’s students. Slam Out Loud is a not-for-profit social enterprise that enables children from disadvantaged communities find their voice through creative expression. The performance, an articulation of the children’s collective voices of “What Do I Want to Tell the World”, was attended by over 500 senior secondary students from the Government Boys Senior Secondary School in Sangam Vihar.
Another community project saw Fellows from Indonesia, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and USA leading 30 underprivileged children from the NalandaWay Art Lab programme on an art activity that embraced their individuality through self-portraits. Working with 4,500 children in India every year, the arts-based NalandaWay Art Lab programme is the brainchild of A4G 2017 Fellow, Sriram Ayer, Founder and CEO of NalandaWay Foundation – a key partner of this Delhi Exchange Programme. Celebrating success, the community project lesson plan was later adapted and conducted by USA Fellow Kristin Dwek for children at Lakshya Jeevan Jagriti, a social enterprise from the SIF Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) programme. Collaborations like these extend the #ArtsforGood ecosystem, thanks to the renewed engagement and involvement of the SIF inter-programme network.
Pia’s sharing was further echoed by Lakshmi Karunakaran, A4G 2019 Fellow from India. She emphasised that in a world that is fast becoming polarised, “the Arts for Good Fellowship experience is testimony to how motivated arts practitioners can come together to build bridges across culture, languages, race and ethnicity, and make a difference.”
With the ethos that the arts bring ideas and people together, the recent Delhi Exchange Programme was also grounds to a thought-provoking session by human rights organisation, Breakthrough. The session on the topic of social campaigning was accompanied by examples of how creative mediums are used in engaging the society in conversations. A capacity building workshop conducted by experienced social enterprise catalyst, Manisha Gupta, founder and CEO of START UP!, let Fellows gain clarity on the vision and realistic resources needed to upscale each of their #ArtsforGood initiatives.
Wrapping things up was an Arts for Good Forum graced by Mr Lim Thuan Kuan, High Commissioner of the Republic of Singapore to India. Centred on the importance of multi-sectorial involvement and partnership for an #ArtsforGood ecosystem to thrive, the Forum had Dr Pawan Sudhir, Head, Department of Education in Arts and Aesthetics, National Council of Education Research (India), deliver a keynote address on the integration of arts into classroom education, as well as the government’s efforts behind it and the challenges faced.
“I feel inspired and energised!”, exclaimed Filipino A4G 2019 Fellow Fredyl Hernandez. And this can only be attributed to the fact that the A4G Fellowship has connected him with like-minded artists and social entrepreneurs, “who, in their own way, are planting good seeds for social transformation”, he added.
With that, the SIF A4G 2019 Fellowship concluded after a six-month fellowship programme that covered webinars and two exchange programmes in Singapore and Delhi, India. In partnership with Partners for Youth Empowerment, which also saw its lead trainer and A4G 2019 Fellow, Nilisha Mohapatra, facilitating the exchange programmes, the current batch of 33 Fellows from 12 nationalities got to connect with stakeholders, expand their capacities and gain new perspectives throughout their participation.
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