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Branding & Career Development

Training, Residencies and Career Opportunities

The National Arts Council believes in supporting the development of arts professionals, to equip them with a diverse range of skills and advance their artistic practice. NAC’s capability development efforts cater to a wide range of artists and SEPs across art forms and areas of practice, from arts education and artmaking to community engagement and technical and specialist services. Find out more about the programmes and residencies offered by NAC and our partners here.

Beyond NAC’s efforts to support leadership, career and artistic development, other training, residencies and career development platforms that may be of interest to arts SEP and freelancers include:

Training Platforms
Esplanade Academy supports aspiring individuals and industry professionals to learn, develop and practise professional and technical skills for the performing arts in the areas of technical theatre, venue management, operations and community engagement.

SkillsFuture Singapore provides Singaporeans with training opportunities to develop their fullest potential regardless of life stage or career, with dedicated training pathways for each life stage.

The Backstage Affair Apprenticeship Programme (BAAP) provides aspiring production and stage managers a safe and structured space, equipping them with the technical competencies, life skills and professional network to start out on a career as a backstage management professional.

The Asia Creative Writing Programme aims to expand development opportunities for writers and deepen intercultural understanding within Singapore and across the region. They provide workshops, courses, masterclasses and mentoring opportunities for writers.

Fundraising for Impact: What’s the Plan is a course that will enable you to expand funding options and consider fundraising as an alternative source of revenue for your arts organisation.

Local and International Residencies

Note: In light of the global COVID-19 situation, please refer to the individual websites for the latest information.

Centre 42 offers a number of residencies for the development of artistic practices and process-driven work, new writing development, and engagement with Singapore theatre history, as well as encouraging artists to engage with and respond to the archival and documentation of their process.

DECK’s Artist-in-Residence (A.i.R) is a year-round programme that aims to nurture new, experimental photographic endeavours in Singapore and Asia.

Grey Projects has residencies for both local and international artists from a range of disciplines including design, photography, literature, film and performing arts.

National Library Creative Residency invites creatives from different artistic disciplines to draw inspiration from and reinterpret the National Library Board's collections to make them more engaging to a wider community of users.

The NTU CCA Singapore Residencies Programme supports artists, curators and researchers from Singapore and abroad, serving as a platform for cultural and artistic exchange in Southeast Asia.

Objectifs’ residency is open to artists who incorporate photography and film into their work

Singapore International Foundation (SIF) offers an Arts for Good Fellowship that comprises webinars and exchange programmes.

[International] Microresidence Network brings together artists and hosts of artist-in-residence, artists to find support for self-directed activities as well as connect with like-minded artists.

[International] On the Move provides information on cultural mobility with residency opportunities and opens calls for artists and arts workers.

[International] Res Artis provides a vast worldwide network of artist residencies.

[International] TransArtists shares various artist-in-residence programmes (AiR) for creative professionals.

Career Development

NAC offers a range of Career Development resources for arts professionals. Find out more about the Skills Framework for the arts and other training opportunities here.

e2i is a tripartite initiative of the National Trades Union Congress that serves as a bridge between workers and employers, connecting with workers to offer job security through job-matching, career guidance and skills upgrading services.

Workforce Singapore (WSG) runs career events and workshops for individuals of varying career development needs. They offer a host of useful resources including a structured job search guideMy Career Future portal, and free support from career advisors. Find out more about their upcoming events here.

Other Opportunities

NAC offers the Arts Scholarship for outstanding individuals who can play a leadership role in shaping the future arts and culture scene as well as funding support for artists and arts organisations to produce and present diverse and distinctive arts. Beyond these opportunities within the industry, arts SEPs and freelancers can explore other scholarships, funding support and open calls. The following is a non-exhaustive list of resources to consider:


Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Singapore Foundation provides scholarships to undergraduates who have keen interest in Japanese culture to embark on a one-year general study trip to Waseda University and the International Christian University, both located in Japan.

Jazz Association (Singapore)’s scholarship programme focuses on studies in either Jazz Composition or Performance.

Ngee Ann Kongsi’s scholarships and bursaries are available for Teochew individuals who are pursuing studies locally.

Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations offers sponsorship for undergraduate studies in Chinese language and translation at the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), as well as scholarship for outstanding students pursuing studies in selected top-ranking Chinese Universities.

Tan Kah Kee Foundation offers postgraduate scholarships for those pursuing their PhD or Master's degrees.


National Heritage Board (NHB) - heritage related grants.

National Youth Council (NYC) - grants for or benefitting youth.

Singapore International Foundation (SIF) - grants that support arts-based social impact initiatives.

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Foundation - SPH’s Arts Fund which enables the underprivileged to enjoy the arts.

Asia Europe Foundation - grants across Asia and Europe.

Lee Foundation - philanthropic work, including the arts. Proposals can be sent to the Lee Foundation (65 Chulia Street, #44-01, OCBC Centre, Singapore 049513).

Open Calls

Arts Republic – platform for open calls in Singapore.

Arts Equator’s Lobang - list of available open calls, job postings and other opportunities open to people from Singapore and Southeast Asia.

ASEF culture360 - platform for international open calls, residencies and more.

Auditions Free – platform for casting calls and paid job opportunities.

CastCaller - platform for actors and modes and their job recruiters.

Official Singapore Casting Calls & Auditions and The Casting Call In Singapore – public Facebook groups for direct casting and audition calls.

Onlinecasting Singapore - platform to connect casters and talents for movie, tv, model, music and theatre industry in any form.

Branding Your Work

The ARH aims to support arts Self-Employed Persons (SEPs) and freelance practitioners in Singapore to unlock new opportunities and grow meaningful careers for the long term. Here is a glossary of common key terms to understand how to brand your work effectively, along with samples for reference to adapt and use at your discretion.

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae is Latin for “the course of my life”, and hence should detail your most notable work experience, skills, and achievements. It is recommended for a CV to keep within two A4 pages and to be written simply and clearly. A CV is not the same as an Artist Bio or Artist Statement, and should include the following points:

  1. Personal information like your full name, citizenship, home address, mobile number, email address and other online presence like LinkedIn;
  2. Short profile of three sentences summarising your uniqueness – who you are, what you love to do, your beliefs, your proudest accomplishment;
  3. Employment history by year (latest on top), the time you spent doing that project or job (e.g. March 2019 – August 2019 and some highlights from that job);
  4. Education qualifications by year (latest on top) and highlight any awards you may have received;
  5. Skills listings e.g. good with Powerpoint, speak fluent Polish, can reach a High C note easily;
  6. References, such as past hirers or mentors who are willing to be contacted by your potential hirers.

Below are a few CV samples as starting points to think about your CV:

Artist Bio

An Artist Bio is a one-paragraph summary of your career written in the third person that may be included inside publicity collaterals such as a programme booklet or website. Below are a few articles sharing tips on how to write a succinct artist bio:

Artist Statement

An Artist Statement is a proclamation of what you believe in and is a clear communication to those experiencing your work to understand your intentions. If you are creating a new body of work, an accompanying Artist Statement would be helpful. It should preferably be 150 – 200 words in length.

A Personal Statement is similar to an Artist Statement but written by a non-artist like an arts administrator. A Personal Statement is usually written for grant applications or scholarship applications.

Click the link below for some tips on structuring an Artist Statement:

Marketing Blurb and Press Release

A Marketing Blurb is a short, punchy piece of writing that is akin to an elevator pitch for your artistic work. You may be asked to write this for promotional collaterals such as a programme booklet or website.

A Press Release is a longer piece of writing that provides more details about an artistic work, usually a new piece of work. This would be disseminated to media for potential coverage in print, broadcast or online platforms. Here are some tips for working with media for reference.

Grant Writing

Series of step-by-step videos on writing a successful grant application by Singapore Drama Educators Association (SDEA) and Jeffrey Tan.

Event Licensing

This is a non-exhaustive Event Licensing Guide introducing the different types of permits and licenses that artists might require when organising an arts event in Singapore, as well as some useful tips to complete the process.

Note: This guide is non-exhaustive. Regulations and processes can change, so do seek clarification with relevant authorities wherever necessary, or consult experienced arts managers who have gone through this process.

Content-related Permits and Licenses

(i) Arts Entertainment Licence (AEL) by Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA)

‘Arts Entertainment’ includes stage plays, literary readings, musicals, performance art, dance and music performances, art exhibitions including photography exhibitions, stand-up comedies, sketches, variety shows and pop rock concerts.

All arts entertainment events open to the public will require an Arts Entertainment Licence (AEL), unless exempted. Exempted forms of arts entertainment include performances of instrumental music, classical music and traditional arts, amongst others. Performances with a target audience of children aged 12 years or below are also exempted. If there is any uncertainty however, you can write to IMDA to get confirmation that your programme is indeed exempted from licence application. For more information on exempted arts entertainment, click here.

Multimedia used in an arts entertainment will also need to be submitted together with the AEL application as part of the submission materials. The overall rating issued to the event will take into account the multimedia content as well. Hence, if the multimedia content falls within the R18 rating, this rating will apply to the entire event.

For more information on the AEL, please visit IMDA’s website here.

AELs are issued with a rating and/or consumer advice by classifying content according to its suitability for different age groups. There may also be additional conditions that event organisers will need to comply with, e.g. barricades. IMDA’s guiding principles in classifying content is to protect the young while enabling adults to make informed viewing choices of arts entertainment events. The ratings issued are mostly advisory in nature, ranging from General, Advisory and Advisory 16 with only the R18 being a restricted rating where age checks will need to be made at the door.

For more on the classification considerations, download the Arts Entertainment Classification Code.

IMDA guidelines state that applications need to be made at least two months before the start date of your event, but where possible, it is advisable to receive your AEL and the corresponding rating for each programme before marketing your arts event e.g. selling tickets. As such, event organisers should plan ahead and apply early to include ratings and advisories in your publicity material. This can help you avoid any potential ticket refunds.

A longer processing time might be needed if particular programmes in your arts festival are more controversial and may require consultation with the Arts Consultative Panel or other relevant stakeholders.

As part of IMDA’s AEL licensing conditions, all marketing communications materials must also comply with the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice administered by the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS). For example, if an arts event is classified as R18, it should not be promoted on broadcast media.

For the application of an AEL, click here and follow the steps below:

  1. In the <Search Box> type in ‘Arts Entertainment Licence’;
  2. Press <Search>  and you will see a whole list of Licences;
  3. Look for ‘Arts Entertainment Licence’ and click <Add to Selection>;
  4. Click the Red Box which says <Review and Apply>;
  5. Click <Proceed>;
  6. Click <Apply>;
  7. Login with your CorpPass or SingPass;
  8. Proceed to the Form.


  • The seating capacity of the venue(s) of your performances, ticket prices, as well as number of seats you are intending to sell must be submitted;
  • Artists details are required as well, hence, ensure their details have been submitted to you in advance. Details include your artists’ Full Name/NRIC for Singapore artists, Passport Name/Passport No. for foreign artists, Date of Birth/Place of Birth/Nationality for both. This can be submitted as an excel file or details individually keyed in by you.
  • At the end of the Form, there is a section where you are required to submit the programme’s synopsis, scripts, any relevant videos etc. If your file is too big, choose the offline submission. IMDA will then get in touch with you for the necessary submissions.

(ii) Film Classification and Film Exhibition Licence by IMDA

For your public film screenings, you will need film classification for each and every film shown. In addition, you will need a film exhibition licence for films classified with an NC16, M18 or R21 rating. The description of each of the classification categories and the indication of a suitable audience in terms of age can be found in the ‘Film Classification Guidelines’.

To obtain classifications of your films, submit an online application here. Do remember to send the details of your film screeners too, within stipulated deadline.

(iii) Police Permit for Public Talk by Singapore Police Force (SPF)

For arts festival with public lectures and talks, you will need to apply for a Police Permit for each and every one of them. For an overview of the guidelines and exemptions, click here.

For the application of a Police Permit for Public Talk, click here and follow the steps below:

  1. In the <Search Box>, type in ‘Police Permit for Public Talk’;
  2. Press <Search> and you will see a whole list of Licences;
  3. Look for ‘Police Permit for Public Talk’ and click <Add to Selection>;
  4. Click the Red Box which says <Review and Apply>;
  5. Click <Proceed>;
  6. Click <Apply>;
  7. Login with your CorpPass or SingPass;
  8. Proceed to the Form.
Location-based Permits and Licenses

(i) Public Entertainment Licence (PEL) by Singapore Police Force (SPF)

A Public Entertainment Licence (PEL) or an Arts Entertainment Licence (AEL) is required under the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act (Chapter 257) for any public entertainment that is provided in any place to which the public has access to, whether paid or otherwise, unless exempted. Hence, it is advisable to always check with SPF or IMDA if your arts festival needs either a Public Entertainment Licence and an Arts Entertainment Classification or an Arts Entertainment Licence only.

For the application of a PEL, click here and follow the steps below:

  1. In the <Search Box>, type in ‘Public Entertainment Licence’;
  2. Press <Search> and you will see a whole list of Licences;
  3. Look for ‘Public Entertainment Licence’ and click <Add to Selection>;
  4. Click the Red Box which says <Review and Apply>;
  5. Click <Proceed>;
  6. Click <Apply>;
  7. Login with your CorpPass or SingPass;
  8. Proceed to the Form.


  • Determine the area(s)your arts festival will be utilising;
  • Firm up the position(s) of the stage(s) and the food stalls;
  • Fix your entry and exit points;
  • Determine the positions of your security personnel;
  • Firm up the locations of the barricades (SPF will advise if additional barricades are required and the type of barricades needed for your arts festival);
  • Estimate your audience numbers;
  • Confirm the list of performances presented on the stage(s);
  • Get the full list of food stalls operating at your arts festival

(ii) Temporary Change of Use Permit by Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)

A Temporary Change of Use Permit is commonly known as a “Temporary Permit” and approval by SCDF has to be sought for anything from stage shows to exhibitions and carnivals, and where temporary structures like tents, stages, booths, stalls and kiosks are used, whether within a building or at an outdoor area. Obtaining approval from SCDF is to ensure that adequate fire safety measures have been provided for. For example, outdoor F&B pop-ups, stage(s) for a music concert will be considered “temporary structures”, hence, a Temporary Change of Use Permit will be required.

For more information on the Temporary Change of Use Permit and Fire Safety Conditions, please visit SCDF’s website here.

For the application of the Temporary Change of Use Permit, click here and follow the steps below:

  1. In the <Search Box>, type in ‘Temporary Change of Use Permit’;
  2. Press <Search> and you will see a whole list of Licences;
  3. Look for ‘Application for Temporary Change of Use Permit’ and click <Add to Selection>;
  4. Click the Red Box which says <Review and Apply>;
  5. Click <Proceed>;
  6. Click <Apply>;
  7. Login with your CorpPass or SingPass;
  8. Proceed to the Form.


  • Certain temporary structures like tents and pop-ups will require you to get “Professional Engineer (PE) certification”. This means you must engage a Professional civil or structural Engineer to design, supervise, inspect the erection of the temporary building, and submit the application for Permit to Use. This application must reach the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) three weeks before the construction of the temporary building.

For more information on whether your arts festival will need a PE, please visit BCA’s website here.

(iii) Licence for Display of Outdoor Advertising Sign or Signboard by Building and Construction Authority (BCA)

For outdoor advertisements like wall-mounted banners, streetlamp banners, promotional signages and billboards, you will need prior approval from BCA before you can install them.

For more information on this BCA licence, click here.

To apply for this BCA licence, click here.

In addition, the National Publicity Platform administered by the National Arts Council (NAC) provides Singapore’s arts and culture groups and institutions with a larger and integrated marketing platform for arts events and activities. The lamp post banner spaces are made available to Singapore arts groups and institutions only for outreach purposes.

(iv) Temporary Fair Permit by Singapore Food Agency (SFA)

It is advised for a licenced F&B operator to take on the role and responsibilities of managing the temporary F&B pop-ups at your arts festival. However, if required, please visit SFA’s website here to find out how to apply for the Temporary Fair Permit.

Other Permits and Licenses

(i) The Music Permit by Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS)

As arts festival will likely feature music, whether recorded or live, indoors or outdoors, organisers will need to apply for a music permit from COMPASS, who administer the public performance, broadcast and reproduction rights in music and musical associated literary works on behalf of its members. If you fail to apply for this licence, you will be violating the Copyright Act of Singapore.

(ii) Other Permissions for Use of Copyrighted Materials

You will need to seek permission from the owner of copyrighted materials to use his or her work in your arts festival, regardless of form or medium. Royalty fees may need to be paid to the copyright owner unless you negotiate a waiver with the copyright owner.

Depending on the nature of your programmes, there may be other permits and licences that you may need, e.g. an AVA licence if there are animals involved in your staged performances or a liquor licence if you want to sell alcohol within your festival grounds.

Outside of permits and licensing, there are a few common matters that are critical to event management. Firstly, you will need Public Liability Insurance for all performances held both indoors and outdoors. This can be obtained from any insurance company.

Secondly, you may need to apply for Visas for some of your visiting overseas speakers and performers with the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

Thirdly, you may need to submit Withholding Tax with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) after your visiting overseas speakers and performers complete their work with you. If you wish to deduct withholding tax from their fees, do inform them prior to their accepting the job, to avoid any dispute.

Lastly, here are some outdoor venues taken care of by National Parks (NParks), Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Singapore Land Authority (SLA) that you may want to hold your arts festival at. These are separate venue rental procedures you will need to carry out, aside from the application of permits and licences.

Setting Up an Arts Business Entity

While you may opt to work as an independent freelancer, if you are considering setting up an arts business, here are some possible considerations and practicalities on how to do so.

Registering an Arts Business Entity

Registration of most legal structures is done through the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). You can register through ACRA by submitting an application online via Bizfile and paying the applicable registration fee.

ACRA’s website contains useful know-how on registration of a local business. For registration of a Society, you can refer to the Registry of Societies; for registration of a Charity, you can refer to the Charity Portal; and for registration of a Co-operative, you can refer to the Registry of Co-operative Societies. Alternatively, you may wish to engage the services of a professional firm to submit your online application at a reasonable fee.

Selecting a Name for an Arts Business Entity

You are generally free to select any name for your arts business as long as the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) is of opinion that the name is not deemed “undesirable”, i.e. obscene, offensive or vulgar; identical to that of another business; identical to a name already reserved by another business; or a name that the Minister of Finance will not accept, e.g. Temasek.

For more information on how to choose a business name via ACRA, click here.

Financing an Arts Business Entity

Possible avenues of funding include:

  • Applying for a grant
  • Getting a loan
  • Selling part of your business
  • Seeking crowdfunding

If you have a charity as your registered organisation, you can conduct fundraising for donations and sponsorship in cash or in-kind.

Other Useful Links

Here are some additional links to websites for further reading and Facebook online communities that you may wish to be part of:

For suggestions on relevant resources and links to include, please write to us here.