Nurturing an Arts for Good Ecosystem - Arts for Good Fellowship 2018

The second edition of SIF’s Arts for Good (A4G) Fellowship kicked-off in Singapore from 20 to 23 November 2018, with 32 Fellows across 10 countries to explore how the arts can be harnessed to empower youth in our communities.

The annual A4G Fellowship brings together cross-sector professionals such as artists, art administrators and programmers from the social sector with the aim of cultivating a community of practice that harnesses the power of arts and culture to generate positive social change.

This year, the second edition of the Fellowship is focused on the theme of ‘Youth Empowerment through the Arts’. The Fellows who hail from countries like Cambodia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Australia, USA and the UK, embarked on a four-day experiential journey of learning and sharing during their time in Singapore.

The 2018 batch of Fellows join a growing global network of practitioners that leverage on the arts to make a difference in the communities they work with

From picking up drama-based techniques on engaging youth, building a rocket from recyclable materials to experiencing Peranakan culture first-hand, the Fellows truly had a diverse and rich experience that included the exchange of inter-disciplinary perspectives and sharing of best practices.

They also had dialogues with representatives from organisations such as ArtsWok Collaborative, Beyond Social Services, Esplanade, National Arts Council and The RICE Company to gain insights on how engaging youths-at-risk through the arts may allow for positive youth development.

Another programme highlight was the public panel discussion, “Making an Impact through the Arts”, powered by the National Youth Council. Close to 70 attendees heard from panellists Alecia Neo, Grace Lee Khoo, Izzaty Ishak and Sazzad Hossain as they shared their experiences on how the arts can be tapped on to generate social impact in communities. The panel was followed by smaller breakout sessions where Fellows could network with practitioners in specific topics of interest.

Fellows enjoying a hands-on session based on The Creative Empowerment Model developed by Partners for Youth Empowerment. Led by Stephanie Turner, a Fellow from the UK, the model creates empowering arts-based activities for young people to build their creativity, increase their confidence and foster social emotional learning.

The Fellowship provided valuable networking opportunities which could help further future collaborations. Anika Singh, Director of VOYCE, a social enterprise in India focused on empowering health through arts, said: “The vision behind the Arts for Good programme is so powerful in how it brings together passionate people from different walks of life, all believing in the transformative power of arts. I really enjoyed my interactions with the Fellows and was especially excited to learn about No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability in Australia from my roommate, Kari Seeley, who manages this theatre. I am inspired to bring to India a festival on disability and arts, a project that requires a great deal of coordination and insights. I’m excited to see if we can make it happen next year!”

The four-day experience also helped alter perceptions of Singapore, added Nguyen Thi Thanh Truc, a community arts facilitator in Vietnam who had previously thought Singaporeans tended to be more consumer-driven. “I was surprised to learn of so many community projects done by Singaporeans. That the Esplanade is a non-profit and runs many arts community projects was a pleasant discovery. All the Singaporean Fellows in the program were also extremely kind, thoughtful and genuine which definitely changed my perceptions about the country and its people.”

Francis Sollano, Co-Founder of Youth for a Livable Cebu in the Philippines added: “As a cultural melting pot, I saw Singapore through a different lens during the Fellowship. It provided a platform where rarely discussed issues can be raised and opened possibilities of collaborative works across stakeholders that may not have otherwise met.”

The Fellows will meet again in Chennai, India from 19 – 22 February 2019 for the next and last part of the Fellowship. Keep up with the latest development on the programme on our  Facebook and Instagram  !

The inaugural edition of the fellowship was first held in Singapore  in 2017 and followed by a subsequent study visit in Kuala Lumpur. Read more about the 2018 Arts for Good Fellowship Fellows here and about the programme here .

 

A public panel discussion, co-organised with the National Youth Council, discussed how young Singaporeans are using arts and culture to create a positive impact within the diverse communities they work with.
The Fellows were tasked to build a rocket from recyclable materials during their visit to Playeum, a local charity which serves disadvantaged and marginalised children through various art programmes.
The group picked up drama-based techniques that can be used to engage youth during a lively workshop run by Singapore Fellows Shalyn Yong and Thomas Lim.
At the Little Arts Academy (LAA), a non-profit arts organisation, The Fellows experienced CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment), a new digital technology studio which gives children and youth an immersive art experience through augmented reality. Through CAVE, students at LAA can expand their creative knowledge and harness technology to bring their artistic creations to life!
After a visit to the Esplanade to learn about the performing arts centre’s youth engagement initiatives, (left) Sherry Soon, an alumnus from the A4G Fellowship in 2017 exchanged ideas for collaboration with Kamya Ramachandran (right), a Fellow from India.
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