NAC Launches International Arts Residency - a Crucible for New Ideas, Exchanges and Creativity


NAC Launches International Arts Residency - a Crucible for New Ideas, Exchanges and Creativity


The National Arts Council (NAC) has unveiled its third initiative under the third phase of the Renaissance City Plan, the International Arts Residency. Under this scheme, the performing,  visual and literary arts sectors will benefit from $2 million in funding over five years, to support Singapore arts practitioners’ participation in prestigious residencies overseas on the one hand, and the development of hosting entities for international residencies located in Singapore, on the other.


Said Mr Lee Suan Hiang, Chief Executive Officer of NAC, “Many Singapore arts practitioners have the talent and are ready to make their mark internationally but lack the opportunities on the world stage. The International Arts Residency provides this critical boost by opening doors for Singapore artists to prestigious residencies where they can immerse in new spaces, widen their horizons and gain new insights into arts-making. In these world-class environments, they will have ample opportunities to be exposed to and connect with the best in their fields from around the world. This Initiative will also facilitate international residency in Singapore. This will add to Singapore’s attractiveness as a magnet for talent and a crucible for creativity and cross-cultural exchanges.”


Overseas Residencies

NAC, in consultation with its resource panellists and industry practitioners, will identify and establish partnerships with prestigious international residency providers and invite Singapore artists to apply to the joint residency initiatives organised overseas. Singapore artists can aspire to undertake some of the best residency programmes overseas, such as stints at the well-known studio complex, Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, facilitated under the Singapore-France cultural agreement signed in January 2009. Visual artists can also apply for residencies at prestigious centres like Germany’s Künstlerhaus Bethanien international studio programme and Japan’s Arts Initiative Tokyo. Residencies for writers include centres like the University of Iowa International Writer-in-Residence programme in the United States and the Arvon Foundation in the United Kingdom. In performing arts, residencies for playwrights and theatre directors include the Royal Court International Residency for Emerging Playwrights in the United Kingdom and Italy’s annual LaMaMa International Symposium for Directors.


Residencies located in Singapore

The Initiative also has a clear Singapore-focused dimension. It provides resources to help arts organisations, institutions and collectives grow into competent ‘hosts’ for world-class residencies and exchange programmes for Singapore and foreign arts practitioners alike. This will in turn attract reputable international arts practitioners to contribute to Singapore’s arts landscape through cross-cultural exchange and knowledge-sharing with the wider arts community. In the process, this will enhance our position as a distinctive global city for the arts.


Singapore-based residencies will enable networking opportunities with international counterparts and provide first-hand insights into the international arts world in Singapore, in the same vein as initiatives like the Prague Summer Programme run by the Western Michigan University, which draws international writers to Europe. The International Studio & Curatorial Program in New York, which attracts a continual flow of visual arts talent to the city, is another inspiring example.


NAC will identify existing gaps in the Singapore arts scene, and forge partnerships with organisations in Singapore and overseas to bridge industry gaps like the shortage of residencies for Singapore’s visual arts curators, novelists, playwrights and directors. Singapore organisations that are actively engaged in the arts are welcome to submit proposals. NAC will also work with major Singapore or international organisations to launch residencies in Singapore to address specific needs in the arts scene, such as the cultivation of Chinese theatre practitioners. These residencies should preferably have potential for sustainability over three years or more.


Applications and Proposals

Singapore citizens or Permanent Residents who are actively engaged in the arts in Singapore or their home countries can apply for funding to support programme costs and overseas living expenses for residency programmes not exceeding 12 months. For Singapore-based residencies, Singapore-registered arts organisations which are actively engaged in the visual, performing or literary art forms are eligible to make proposals and seek funding support to set up such local residencies.


Applicants will be evaluated based on their competency and calibre, and soundness of their project management plans. For arts organisations, the artistic merits of their programmes and contributions from these initiatives to the arts scene will also be assessed.


Annex: Examples of overseas residencies and Singapore-based residencies