2014 Arts & Heritage Scholarships Awarded to 22 Outstanding Individuals


21 July 2014, Singapore – 22 outstanding individuals were awarded the National Arts Council (NAC) and National Heritage Board (NHB) Scholarships today by the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Communications and Information, Mr. Lawrence Wong. The scholarships nurture a diversity of outstanding individuals, who have the potential to drive the development of the arts and culture sector in Singapore. The scholarships support a broad range of disciplines such as curatorial studies, technical theatre production and management that are critical to the development of the scene.


NAC will be investing close to $1.7m in its 17 scholarship recipients this year. NAC scholars were selected not only based on their talents and potential but also a strong commitment to making an impact on the arts and culture sector in Singapore. All of them have also demonstrated an active involvement in the arts scene. NHB’s five scholarship recipients, identified for their leadership abilities in school and work respectively, as well as their passion, zeal and commitment to growing and developing Singapore’s heritage scene, will receive $0.6m from NHB to further their interest, knowledge and expertise in their respective fields.


“There is a need for a diverse range of specialised skills and multi-faceted talents to support the arts industry’s growth. Through our scholarships, we identify talents and individuals who have demonstrated capabilities and potential to make a difference to the arts scene, and continue to build a strong foundation for a vibrant and enriching arts ecosystem,” says Ms. Kathy Lai, Chief Executive Officer, NAC.


“Since 2008, NHB has been awarding scholarships to candidates for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Our scholars have a strong interest in history and heritage, and are enthusiastic about sharing this with others, and in contributing to the heritage industry in Singapore,” says Mrs. Rosa Daniel, Chief Executive Officer, NHB.


Ms. Zunnur Zhafirah Binte Sazali, 19, who will be pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Dance at the London Contemporary Dance School shared, “I am truly grateful and blessed to be a recipient of this scholarship. I have been involved in traditional Malay dance since the age of seven and believe that as long as contemporary dance goes hand in hand with traditional dance, it will keep the performing arts alive. As youths these days are getting more exposure and interest towards the arts, I hope to work together with the art associations in Singapore to help grow the excitement around various dance forms, especially in the traditional arts.”


Mr. Mark Ng Chung Kit, 23, who will be pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Drama at Queen Mary, University of London says, “I've known nothing but my love for theatre since my teenage years. This scholarship gives me the opportunity to venture far out of my comfort zone to gain a deeper understanding of the possibilities and challenges of my craft in a place that is rich with various ideas and practices. I've always believed that theatre should never be seen merely as a form of entertainment but also as a means of engagement and exploration of the things that really matter to people. The course I will pursue will challenge my understanding of what theatre can and should address and equip me with the necessary skills to make the kind of theatre that is relevant, accessible and socially engaged.”


Mr. Ho Rui An, 24, who will pursue a Master of Arts in Anthropology at Columbia University added, “It's an incredible honour to receive this scholarship and I look forward to engaging with the methods and frameworks of the anthropological field, which I believe will help generate new insights on my practice as an artist and writer. I’ve always believed in the importance of seeing how artworks could relate to a broader cultural context, lest the work becomes trapped within the very insular environment that we call the ‘art world’. This is one way through which we can bridge the gaps between Singaporeans and their engagement with the arts."


Ms. Kezia Toh, 26, who will be pursuing postgraduate studies funded by NHB said, "History and heritage is very meaningful because it traces the collective memory of Singaporeans. A large part of my fascination with the subject also comes from the mysteries to be solved behind the happenings of time past, such as through differing accounts on how a road got its name.


While volunteering as a docent at the National Museum of Singapore, I met many local and overseas visitors, many of whom chipped in with their take on the Singapore story, helping me see that museum work also involves capturing heritage in action. I am very grateful to receive the scholarship, and I hope that my course of study will contribute to heritage development and museum work in Singapore."


Fellow NHB scholar Ms. Alexandra Tan, 19, added, "I've always been drawn to history because of how multi-faceted it is. The world is pieced together from different countries, communities, and individuals, and history allows me to examine the interconnectedness of them all. I hope to contribute to our national museums after I graduate, and promote the appreciation of our country's history”. Alexandra will be embarking on her undergraduate degree in the UK.


Please refer to Annex A for the full list of NAC and NHB Scholarship Recipients.