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Symposium on Creativity in Singapore

24 February 2012

(From left) Ms Rasiah, Dr Lee, Mr Vadi and Dr Gwee at the creativity symposium

The Singapore Research Nexus, an initiative from NUS' Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), hosted a symposium titled "Creativity in Singapore" on 17 February. The event provided a unique opportunity for local writers, researchers, FASS alumni and staff to discuss how Singapore fares as an environment for creative writers and those researching creativity.

The afternoon began with the premiere screening of the faculty-produced documentary film "Writers Engaging the Social" via NUS YouTube.

The 40-minute film, directed by poet and critic Dr Gwee Li Sui, features four writers, all FASS alumni, who write in each of Singapore's four official languages - Ms Rasiah Halil (Malay), Dr Lee Tzu Pheng (English), Mr Ting Kheng Siong (Mandarin) and Mr Vadi PVSS (Tamil). The writers share their insights on the meaning of literature, poetry and theatre, as well as how Singapore wrestles with its own historical and social constraints in relation to the literary arts.

Following the film, the audience enjoyed a "Post-Screening Conversation" with Ms Rasiah, Dr Lee, Mr Vadi and Dr Gwee. This was chaired by playwright Mr Huzir Sulaiman who facilitated a question and answer session about creativity and writing in Singapore.

The second panel session featured FASS Faculty who presented a variety of papers on how research "engages the creative". Assoc Prof Lonce Wyse from the Communications and New Media Department discussed "Creativity, Interdisciplinarity, and the New Relevance of the Arts" while Assoc Prof Maria Kozhevnikov from the Department of Psychology shared her findings on the relationship between creativity and visualisation.

Assistant Prof John DiMoia from the History Department compared the historical example of Stanford University to Singapore in encouraging creativity of its scientific community. Assoc Prof Ho Kong Chong from the Department of Sociology looked at the wild and unruly side of the creative economy and how places like Little India and Geylang foster creative enclaves.

Participants at the symposium agreed that the event provided a platform for diverse perspectives on Singapore and its evolving relationship with the creative.

For more information on the speakers and participants, read the Creativity in Singapore Symposium booklet.

By Singapore Research Nexus, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences