Student Showcase: An Exploration of Identity, Agency and Representation at NUS Central Library

Step into the NUS Central Library, and you’ll catch some arresting exhibits, put up by students and faculty from the NUS Communications and New Media’s (CNM) Cultural Communication and Creative Expression module. Emerging from a 13-week course that got students visiting cultural spaces, museums and media organisations to understand the variety of mediums through which culture is portrayed, the exhibition showcases several important themes:

  1. Singapore Identity and Representation
  2. Story Telling through Culture, Agency, Structure
  3. A Woman on Strings
  4. Vietnamese Woman: Painting Augmented Reality

1. Singapore Identity and Representation

A combination of field trips, library resources and classroom learning on concepts such as Representation, Agency, Power, Structure, Othering, Identity, Erasure, Voice and Perspective guide students to create a compelling vehicle for communication. The resulting exhibition, immediately available at the lobby of NUS Central Library, demonstrates the students’ creative interpretation of the different cultural facets of Singapore, all done through storytelling, visual art, film, photography and the interactive technologies of web 2.0.

The things that people pay attention to when looking at Singapore

2. Story Telling through Culture, Agency, Structure

The exhibition is fundamentally an exercise in storytelling in which students produce a customised experiential Digital Book from start to finish. Students weave together key milestones like story development, text design, editing, proofreading, page layouts, colour correction, cover design, photography, art direction, and creating the Digital Ready-to-Print File.

Because CNM has always focused on real-world impact and community development, students undertake intensive research into cultural identities and the impact that policies have on them. Eventually, such research are compiled into a storytelling format for the digital book medium, where innovative multimedia can be added to increase engagement.

Multi-ethnic Singapore represented in four tiles

3. A Woman On Strings

Amrita Deshpande’s photo exhibit, uniquely dangled from the ceiling, tackles the issue of women’s identity. Women are often labelled in terms of their looks and judged from the clothes and ornaments they put on. These symbols may go on to define the woman’s character and identity. Most of these symbols are culturally-rooted. Some are cultivated by -isms. A few are her own confused symbols while others are blindly inherited. Her identity is thus built on an other’s perspective.  The exhibit questions if there is a space in the contemporary world for her to be her own self? Or will she always be on strings that will define her at the expense of her own voice?

4. Vietnamese Woman: Painting Augmented Reality

With the rapid advance in mobile technology, handheld devices are set to replace clunky computers. The wide and often free availability of apps makes it easy to create new media for new purposes.

The Painting AR experiment showcases one such application. It allows media producers to tell a story using multimedia connected via mobile technology. The painting, which is a traditional medium, thus comes into the context of new medium via this experiment.

Augmented reality in action

The thought-provoking exhibit seeks to combine diverse elements of storytelling, a painting and a mobile augmented reality app into a unified experience.


Engage With CNM Students During Lunch Breaks and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Open House

Hear directly from the students’ inspiring experience in developing their projects during Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Open House on 20 May.

Students will also be available at Lunch Breaks on the following days:

watch this space for more information