NAC-Arts Victoria MOU Celebrates A Decade of Cultural Ties


The National Arts Council (NAC) and Arts Victoria renewed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cultural Co-operation on 23 November 2007 at the Parliament House in Melbourne, Australia. The agreement was signed by Mr Lee Suan Hiang, Chief Executive Officer of NAC and Ms Penny Hutchinson, Director of Arts Victoria. It was witnessed by Mr Edmund Cheng, Chairman of NAC and Mrs Lynne Kosky, Minister for Public Transportation and Minister for the Arts for the State of Victoria.


First signed in 1998, the MOU has seen two renewals and 2008 marks the 10thAnniversary of the cultural partnership between Singapore and Australia.  This MOU is one of the most active MOUs that NAC has entered into, paving the way for Singapore artists to engage in collaborations and exchanges with Australian artists. 


Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Lee Suan Hiang said, “All the exchanges have benefitedSingapore artists greatly as we now see them working on their own collaborations after having made the first connections under the MOU. They have developed strong and lasting relationships which have continued to this day.”


The NAC-Arts Victoria partnership generated numerous collaborations and exchanges in festivals and other platforms. Sandakan Threnody, a collaboration between TheatreWorks (Singapore) and Australian artists was presented at the Singapore Arts Festival, Melbourne and Brisbane Festivals. The modern chamber opera, Opiume involving Singapore, Australian and Hong Kong artists, was also staged at the Singapore Arts Festival and Hong Kong New Visions Arts Festival. Singapore and Australian writers participated in each other’s Writers Festivals.  Visual artist Philip Brophy was also featured at the inaugural 2006 Singapore Biennale while Brian Gothong Tan showcased his new media art at the Australian Centre for Moving Images. Australian music professionals, such as Ronald Woodcock, adjudicated at the Singapore’s biennial National Piano and Violin Competition.


Due to the mutual interest in greater collaboration between the two agencies, the MOU has been renewed for five years instead of the previous timeframe of three.  The fourth term of the MOU aims to facilitate opportunities for artists to present their work and encourage exchanges, joint research and programmes of mutual interest as well as collaborative initiatives that can help propel artists to new stages of development. It also serves as a bridge for NAC and Arts Victoria to involve new partners in presenting new works. 


To mark the 10th anniversary of NAC-Arts Victoria cultural ties next year, the special collaborations include And the Difference Is, a group exhibition involving artists from Singapore and Victoria, to be presented in the National University of Singapore Museum in 2008 before returning to Melbourne in March 2009, Game Play, an exhibition of Australian new media works at Singapore’s Sculpture Square in July and August 2008 as part of the International Symposium of Electronic Art while Australia’s Tony Yap Company and The Necessary Stage will collaborate in a large-scale work which explores multiculturalism in both cities.