NTU Singapore and the European Union launch SEA AiR, a new studio residential programme in the EU for Southeast Asian artists


Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the European Union Delegation to Singapore today launched the Studio Residencies in the EU for Southeast Asian Artists (SEA AiR), a new programme that aims to create a peer-to-peer cultural and artistic exchange between Southeast Asia and Europe, with Singapore as its hub.


This public diplomacy project is funded by EU’s Foreign Policy Instruments.


SEA AiR will offer selected artists from Southeast Asia an engaging immersion in the European art scene that allows a deeper understanding of the various cultural strands and values shaping the continent. Through this experience, participating artists can create links with other art projects in Singapore, their home countries and the wider region. At the end of the residency, the artists will have an exhibition in Singapore which will enable them to present and showcase their artwork to a wider audience.


As a new residency programme, SEA AiR will promote a creative exchange enhancing the EU-Singapore-ASEAN dialogue through contemporary art and provide a meaningful opportunity for artists who have previously not lived or studied in the EU. Likewise, host institutions will benefit from expanding their networks in Southeast Asia, a region that has been historically under-represented in most artist-in-residence programmes in Europe.


Leading NTU’s efforts in this partnership with the European Union is the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (NTU CCA Singapore).


The first host institution will be the WIELS Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels, Belgium. As a space dedicated to the exhibition and support of emerging artists since 2007, WIELS occupies a central stage in the art scene. A highly renowned institution dedicated to contemporary art, its residency is supporting emerging artists towards professional practices, presenting original artistic visions and facilitating critical exchange, and establishing connections between local and international artists and curators.


Barbara Plinkert, European Union Ambassador to Singapore said: “We have in the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore an excellent partner to present this project that will foster rich artistic exchanges inspired by travel and cultural exposure to Europe. SEA AiR offers a deeper, more extensive engagement and immersion in the vibrant European cultural landscape and arts scene to experience first-hand the various cultural strands and values shaping our world today.”


This initiative involves emerging artists in Singapore and Southeast Asia to further develop their practice, careers, networks and exposure where opportunities may not likely have existed. It also offers a means for European cultural institutions and communities to establish international cooperation and exchange with Singapore and the diverse Southeast Asian region.


Professor Joseph Liow, Dean of College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University said: “NTU, through the Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore is proud to be partnering with the EU Delegation in Singapore on this initiative that will be of great impact to the development of contemporary art and artists in Singapore and Southeast Asia. This partnership is a demonstration of the recognition of the Centre’s track record and further strengthens ties between the university and the EU. The SEA AiR programme is a significant opportunity for emerging Singaporean and ASEAN artists and we are pleased to support them in this way.”


How SEA AiR works


Residency candidates will be nominated by a pool of curators and arts professionals in Singapore and the region. These artists will subsequently submit a proposal for review to the Selection Committee, consisting of a panel of experts including the EU Delegation.


Selected artists will be offered a residency at selected European host institutions for up to three months, which will include studio access, accommodation and regional research trip opportunities. The artists are expected to present a new work from their residency upon their return reflecting on their experience in the residency, cultural exchange, creative dialogues, community and professional connections and more.


NTU CCA Singapore will serve as a connector and positive catalyst between all stakeholders and will provide mentorship and guidance to the selected artists in developing and realising their work and projects.


At the end of their residency, NTU CCA Singapore and the EU host institution will continue to provide the artists with feedback and support. NTU CCA Singapore’s curatorial team will also work closely with them on an exhibition or presentation in Singapore to showcase the body of work pursued whilst in Europe. Furthermore, they will share their process of artistic enquiry with the public via a range of public programmes.


See Annex A for more information about SEA AiR—Studio Residencies for Southeast Asian Artists in the EU.


Since its inception in October 2013, NTU CCA Singapore has successfully conceptualised and administered an extensive residencies programme, supporting artists, curators, and scholars alike by offering them time and space to pursue their research without the pressure of deadlines and production commitments.


The Centre’s residencies programme is dedicated to working with established and emerging artists and is recognised as a platform for critical exchange in Southeast Asia. Its studio-based programme values the open-ended nature of artistic research and embraces multiform expressions of creative enquiry. This approach is of particular importance, allowing for free expression and giving artists latitude to question society in its plurality.


NTU CCA Singapore’s expertise in the selection of artists, its network of international host organisations, and experience in the administering of artists’ residencies makes it the ideal organising institution to launch SEA AiR.


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