Working with People-centred Processes: Art, Education and Cross-sector Collaboration

Conference & workshop

Tentative dates: 15 - 17, October 2016, Bangkok

Opening Evening: 14 October 2016


14 Oct, Friday: Welcome briefing followed by presentations on practices of public

   engagement and facilitation of an open society (7pm to 9.30 pm) by  

   School of Communication Arts, Bangkok University & international

   Forum for InterMedia Art

15 Oct, Saturday: Panels (9am to 5pm)        

16 Oct, Sunday: Panels (9am to 1pm)

17 Oct, Monday (10am to 4pm): Workshops


Convener: Dr. Jay Koh (Doctor of Fine Arts, University of the Arts Helsinki), international Forum for InterMedia Art (iFIMA), author of Art-Led Participative Processes

Regional partner: BRACK, Singapore

Location: Asia Centre, Bangkok (Phaya Thai Plaza, Phaya Thai BTS), (


Conference Abstract:

Increasingly universities and institutions around the world are recognising the value of a holistic arts education that integrates a dynamic process of social engagement, public participation with others and the community. In Asia this movement of socially engaged, public participative and community art is gaining traction, albeit with different agendas at play with some universities initiating courses, the Art & Society Research Centre in Tokyo ( initiating a lab on Socially Engaged/Community Art, and the National Arts Council of Singapore creating a department for Community and the Arts. We are also seeing more cross-disciplinary research and collaboration between artists, health workers, theatre groups, NGOs and the academia on art and cultural projects.

Enhanced engagement and cross-sectoral collaborations are designed to stir civic consciousness and foster open social structures (even as possible instrumentalisation of art and domesticating activities take place) through public participation and engagement. Key to the effective achievement of such aims is the sharing of knowledge and experiences and the building of networks, and of a knowledge and experience archive or memory pool to continually build onto and draw learning from. This conference aims to convene these knowledge by bringing together practitioners from across ASEAN to share their experiences of cross sectoral collaboration and of using participative art as open and reciprocal processes for community engagement. This pooling of knowledge can foster the development of regional frameworks for community engagement that will be beneficial to arts and community knowledge creation, and to cross sector collaboration between the arts and other sectors such as health, education and advocacy in the region. Another important aspect of such activities would be on the issue of sustainability to be explored under the rubric of social entrepreneurship.


Objective: ASEAN level regional conference to share dynamic knowledge and build a comprehensive learning base on cross sector research and collaboration using art as open and reciprocal processes for social and community engagement.

This event and activities will inform a forthcoming publication in 2017.



  1. Participants will improve their capability to articulate, negotiate and critique

frameworks and processes for public engaging activities and policies.

  1. Participants will acquire additional knowledge and competence to engage

across cultures, disciplines and sectors, including acceptance of knowledge

from the vernacular and the everyday.

  1. Networks for sustainable collaborations will be constructed and strengthened

through sharing ownership of knowledge and experience.

  1. Social enterprises knowledge and fund-raising initiatives can be examined and explore to realise regional collaborations.
  2. ASEAN level research capability can be expanded to develop cross-sectors projects and know-how in the professional fields of social cross sector enterprises, such as in Arts & Health, Arts in Prison, Arts in Education, etc.



This conference aims to facilitate cross sector collaboration and thus is open to participants from various fields including arts, social enterprises and cultural groups, NGOs, theatre groups, students and artists. Speakers will present their particular experiences in engaging the public, in building a constructive praxis and cross sector collaboration using art in their home country. They will share the frameworks and methodologies used as well as the challenges they have faced in executing their respective projects.


Conference Early Bird Fee: USD 100/3,500 THB (covers venue, lunch and coffee breaks, administrative costs)

Normal Fee (after 15 July): USD 150/ 5,000 THB

Tentative panels/workshops (everything here is still evolving!)

Panel 1: Critical processes and frameworks of working with people centred processes and the public

Discussions on critical processes and frameworks in practices with emphasis on intra- & inter sector participation and collaboration by practitioners from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore & Thailand. This panel asks practitioners to discuss case studies of how they identify critical structures and processes within their contexts of work, in order to advance professionalism and provide accountability for their activities.

Contributors (confirmed):

Panel Responder/s: Dr. Jay Koh, international Forum for InterMedia


Panel 2: OPEN STRUCTURE.  Art history and criticism engaging the contemporaries of working with the public and people-centred processes.

This panel discusses how art history and criticism could evolve to engage contemporary practitioners and contribute to contemporary praxis with the public.

Panel convener: Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez, University of the Philippines, Manila


Panel Responder/s:

Panel 3: The roles of social entrepreneurship, arts management and cultural policy in facilitating sustainability

This panel discusses how art management and cultural policy can engage and support cross sector collaboration to explore alternative ways of practice in order to assist with sustainability of the work  e.g. through social entrepreneurship

Panel contributors:

Panel Responder/s:

Panel 4: Cross sector engagements, arts education & research for developing a holistic praxis


This panel discusses how cross sector engagements and art education can nurture and advance socially engaged and community art practices and create research activities to complement contemporary praxis.

Panel contributors:

Panel Responder/s:


Discussions/workshops on constructing frameworks and processes for cross sector (education, health, management and advocacy) and cross cultural participation and collaborations within regional networks.


Critical Notes

Presenters are requested to pay attention to details in the presentation of their projects/research and elaborate critically on the frameworks of their practice. Presentations that focus only on intention and passion for the work are inadequate for the purpose of our discussions. Please refrain from presenting heavily descriptive and interpretative texts. These panels lean towards short presentations and more pragmatic discussions. Information on the backgrounds and contents of the presentations are to be read in advance of the conferences so that we can concentrate on the salient points of the practices, generating exchanges and discussing possibilities.

This event on the larger level seeks to create an independent platform for a Southeast Asian discourse on social engagement that is responsive to the needs and particularities of regional contexts and experiences, as

“…a response to insight that discourses around Culture & Society has been dominated by western dictated modernity that has created a 'market society' and left a trail of poverty and social, economic and political injustice. Alternatives such as post- and alter-modernity have functioned as feeble self-critique and could not gain traction as they did not address the roots of its sickness. In the last 3 decades, there are various attempts to reclaim independence from a western-oriented modernity and to move forward. Discourses such as 'transmodernity’, decolonial aesthetics and dialogical aesthetics have gained following as viable holistic alternatives to explore independence, openness, reciprocity dialogue.” –

Alternatives to the Contemporaries, Jay Koh