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Cultural Collaborations and Exchanges

Establishing Singapore as a Thought Leader and Valuable Partner

Singapore is well positioned as a strategic access point for greater cultural understanding between countries, especially within the region. The National Arts Council (NAC) works closely with our arts professionals to present papers at seminars and workshops overseas, host conferences and summits as well as ensure Singapore representation on international boards.

Through cultural collaborations and international exchanges, Singapore can contribute and establish our presence as a thought leader and valuable partner in the development of the arts globally. In 2019, NAC hosted 32 international delegates in Singapore after the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA)’s World Summit in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). Delegates visited major arts and cultural institutions and met with key cultural leaders and artists. Despite travel restrictions due to the pandemic, internationalisation efforts remain a priority for NAC as we continue to participate in online symposiums.

Some of the platforms include:


  • ARKO International Online Symposium: The online symposium featured as spokesperson from NAC as a partner, alongside other ARKO international partners including Denmark, Germany, UK and the Netherlands. Artistic Director of T:>Works, Ong Keng Sen, was featured as one the keynote speakers; and Artistic Director of The Theatre Practice, Kuo Jian Hong, was featured in one of the live panel sessions discussing new approaches to international collaboration and exchanges.
  • Culture In the Time of COVID (Episode 2 of the series): Jointly organised by Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and the Embassy of Switzerland in Singapore, the series featured NAC as a guest panelist alongside Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, for a discussion on how both agencies have transformed their programmes and policies in response to Covid-19.
  • 2021 International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) Congress: The Congress explored opportunities for the arts following a year of crisis, isolation, inequity, and realisation. The Virtual Congress featuring a spokesperson from NAC a one of the speakers on the topic, ‘Imagine the Future of Collaboration’ to discuss best models for the performing arts alongside with other international partners.


  • OECD Spotlight session: The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation that works to build better policies for better lives. With the impact on COVID-19 and its effects on the culture sector, the OECD organised a Spotlight session on the arts and culture scene featuring a spokesperson from NAC on the impact of the current crisis on festivals and their ecosystems, the top priorities for public, private and philanthropy support and how festivals can support local recovery strategies.
  • Jogja Festivals Forum & Expo (JFFE) 2020: Jogja Festivals was founded by 15 Festivals in Yogyakarta, with JFFE as a synergy for festival stakeholders to identify obstacles in developing the ecosystem of the festival city. A spokesperson from NAC participated as a speaker on the topic, ‘Festival Breakthrough in South East Asia’.
  • Seoul Music Cities Convention: Music Cities Convention is the biggest global event exploring the use and importance of music in the development of cities all around the world. The event featured a series of presentations and panels on a variety of topics, such as creating better music cities, Covid-19-related policies to support music and the arts, new technologies and smart cities, sustainability, urban regeneration and more. A spokesperson from NAC represented at this platform to share on Singapore’s view on the importance and role of music in urban policy from an Asia perspective.
  • Edinburgh International Cultural Summit: Special Edition - The Edinburgh International Cultural Summit (EICS) was established in 2012 as a partnership between the British Council, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish and UK Governments. Due to the pandemic, the Special Edition marks the first time that the Summit is held online where a spokesperson from NAC shared a special message for the Summit, alongside other Ministers of Culture, policy makers and cultural leaders.
  • Hong Kong Arts Administrators Association Cultural Leadership Summit: 2020’s Summit was conducted online with a spokesperson from NAC participating in a panel discussion on Leveraging Technology for Growth alongside Jane Finnis, CEO at Culture 24 (UK) and Tseng Sun Man JP, Arts Management Educator and Consultant (HK).
  • UNESCO ResiliArt Webinar: International Festivals and Policy in light of COVID-19: Across the five cities of the Festival Cities Network – Adelaide, Edinburgh, Krakow, Montreal, and Singapore, panellists including a spokesperson from NAC discussed ways in which local and national governments developed policies that support the recovery and health of the festival sector moving forward.
  • IFACCA Members’ Forum: Supporting Culture In The Digital Age - Facilitated by expert author Octavio Kulesz, the forum discussed Kulesz' report's core themes and recommendations to focus on the economic sustainability of the cultural value chain; digital divides; and collaborations and cross-portfolio approaches. A spokesperson from NAC joined other senior leaders from National Member institutions the Australia Council for the Arts, Canada Council for the Arts, Arts Council England, the Ministry of Culture and Sport in Spain, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in Tunisia, and the Ministry of Education and Culture in Uruguay to share insights from their national contexts, discuss key issues, and consider a common framework to inform national digital strategies that reflect local needs and priorities.
  • Festival Cities Conversations: The webinar saw five representatives from the global festival sector including Natalie Hennedige, Festival Director (Designate) of Singapore International Festival of Arts, speak about new festival partnerships with the well-being and philanthropy sectors, as well as the bold ideas needed to build resilience and shepherd the sector through the COVID-19 recovery process.