APAF-SEA Arts Festival Launch Round Table: Cultural Brokering through Singapore in Southeast Asia

Friday Oct 11 2013, 5 pm

Centre for Creative Collaboration, C4CC, 16 Acton Street (King's Cross, London)

Asian Performing Arts Forum presents:

Festival Launch Round-Table - Cultural Brokering through Singapore in Southeast Asia

Speakers include:
Dr Shzr Ee Tan, Royal Holloway University of London (Chair)
Dr Lorraine Lim, Birkbeck College, University of London
Dr Alexandra Green, British Museum
Ms Mok Cui Yin, Director & Creative Producer, Platform 65; Co-producer, SEA ArtsFest
Dr Nick Gray, School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)

Singapore has often been described as the gateway to Southeast Asia, not just on account of its status as an international trading port. And yet the prosperous city-state has not so much been famed as a travel destination in itself than a luxe transit lounge beckoning the visitor unto the more exciting locales and cultures of Bali, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and more. Who and what passes through this gateway, and how? With recent heavy investment in arts infrastructure such as the Esplanade arts complex and the advent of regionally-focused platforms such as the rebooted Singapore Arts Festival and TheatreWorks’ Flying Circus Project, Singapore has increasingly been marketing itself as a broker of the arts in Southeast Asia. Of course, underlying state agenda have ultimately set targets beyond Southeast Asia per se in the deliberate positioning of such curatorial drives on the larger international stage; Singapore's Southeast Asian-ness is necessarily hinged upon its branding as a global city of the arts and longer-term development plans. How and where do different Southeast Asian artists fit into the changing landscapes? Thai academic Pawit Mahasarinand prefers the word 'Gatekeeper' to 'Gateway', commenting on the marshalling of specific cultural resources within Southeast Asia made to the tastes of curatorial elites traversing transnational circuits via affluent Singapore. At the same time, the resulting financial boost to local economies is undeniable, even as monetary impacts on communities remain asymmetrical. This panel puts together academics, artists and curators in an investigation of cultural brokerage - drawing on the expertise of the Singaporean-heavy production team of London's first Southeast Asian Arts Festival.

Free Admission

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