The Innovators and the Imitation Game

The innovators: how a group of hackers, geniuses, and geeks created the digital revolution

In October 2011, Walter Isaacson published Steve Jobs, an authorized biography based on over forty interviews with Jobs over two-year period right up until shortly before his death. The book became an international best-seller, thus it was added into the NUS Libraries collection and became a short term loan book (popular book) in 2011.

Once again, Walter Isaacson published another best seller book in October 2014 “The innovators: how a group of hackers, geniuses, and geeks created the digital revolution”. Instead of biographies, he explores the history of the key technological innovations that are prominent in the 21st century.

The book started with the story of Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter. She was often referred to as “the first programmer” as she published a set of extensive notes, simply called Notes which describe on a stepwise sequence of operations for solving certain mathematical problems. Also, she explicitly articulated her vision in having a machine that could go beyond mere calculation or number-crunching. Therefore, she was referred to as “prophet of the computer age” as well. The notion of using mathematical codes to instruct the machine to perform tasks beyond calculation derived from her “poetical science” mind-set. It was inherited from both her parents the mathematician Annabella Milbanke and the poet Lord Byron.



The innovators: how a group of hackers, geniuses, and geeks created the digital revolution by Walter Isaacson is available at the Central Library (QA76.2 Isa 2014).

The Imitation Game

During the interview with Walter Isaacson in Episode 131 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast, Isaacson mentioned that making people like Alan Turing to be famous was one of the reasons he wrote “The Innovator” book. However, the movie, “The imitation game”, starring Benedict Cumberbatch has done a better job than he ever could.

The movie was based on the real life story of Alan Turing who was a computer technology pioneer and breaker of the Nazi Enigma code during World War II (the first hacker as well?). In the movie, Alan Turing was interrogated by a detective and being questioned on a recent paper describing the “imitation game” which was known as the “Turing Test”.  The “Turing Test”, defined by Alan Turing in 1950 as the foundation of the philosophy of artificial intelligence which makes us think of the question, ‘Can machines think?’

Turing predicted that in 50 years there would be machines that could fool a human questioner 30% of the time for five minutes. Indeed, after more than 60 years, iPhone Siri could fool a human questioner most of the time longer than five minutes. iPhone Siri works as an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator as it understands our natural speech and asks questions if it needs more information to complete a task. If you want to know how Turing has demonstrated to the power of linking human creativity to computer processing power, come to the NUS library!

imitation game

The imitation game [videorecording] directed by Teddy Schwarzman; Benedict Cumberbatch is available at the Central Library CL Multimedia (Loans Desk 2 Stack# CMR5734).


Highlights from NUS Libraries’ collection – The Fabric of the Human Body

One of the prized possessions of the NUS Medical library is the, The Fabric of the Human Body, an annotated translation the 16th century book, De humani corporis fabrica by Andreas Vesalius.

The original was published in Latin 500 years ago when Vesalius, considered the father of modern anatomy, was just 28 years old. It was the most detailed and accurately illustrated atlas of the human body of its time because very few physicians dissected human bodies before the late 15th century.

It is extolled as “probably the most influential of all medical works” by The Oxford Medical Companion and “the greatest medical work ever printed by Sir William Osler.

In today’s era of highly precise medical illustrations and digital cadavers, this book still resonates with readers in the 21st century for many reasons.

It is now available in English for the very first time so knowledge of Latin is no longer required. The translation of the book is hailed as a scholarly achievement in itself and is largely a result of twenty years of painstaking work by Northwestern University Professors Emeritus Daniel H. Garrison and Malcolm H. Hast.

Vesalius was a courageous and unconventional man who obtained bodies of executed criminals and robbed graves for dissection. He questioned the authority on anatomy then, Galen, whose text was largely based on the dissection of animals. The dialogue and footnotes in the translation preserves Vesalius’ account and captures the tensions inherent in describing science in 16th century Renaissance when scientific advances were made in many fields.

The illustrations provided by the more than 200 woodcuts in the original are now available in the new book as high-resolution digital scans which have unprecedented clarity.

The book looks like a modern textbook with easy referencing to previous chapters and editions and has explanation for all its diagrams. Weighing a massive 16 kg, this two-volume tome is the heaviest book in the Medical Library collection.


The frontispiece On the Fabric of the Human Body: Dissection by Vesalius as his students observed.


The 2014 edition in English with annotation is in two volumes and weighs 16kg.

The fabric of the human body: an annotated translation of the 1543 and 1555 editions / by Daniel H. Garrison, Malcolm H. Hast is available at Medical Reference 7 Call No: QM25 Ves 2014

R Sukanya Naidu

Medical Resource Librarian

NUS Libraries 110C team

Japanese and Chinese comparative Literature Series (In Japanese)

This set of series was compiled and edited by the Wakan Comparative Literature Association, Japan, and published by Kyūko Shoin. It consists of scholarly essays as well as reference bibliographies and collection catalogues.

The Wakan Comparative Literature Association mobilized all members to source for the research materials necessary for this series, hence making its compilation possible. At the same time, 150 members were involved in the writing of this series. It took the Association eight years to publish this series.

The publication of the series takes place in two phases. Phase I (volumes 1 to 8) comprises comparative literature from ancient times to the early modern period, whereas phase II (volumes 9 to 18) comprises comparative literature of various genres.

You may like to click on the following links to view the bibliographic records and the table of contents of this series:

Wa-Kan hikaku bungaku sōsho / Wa-Kan hikaku bungaku gakkai hen. – Tokyo : Kyūko Shoin, 1986-1994. (18 volumes)

v.1. Wa-Kan hikaku bungaku kenkyū no kōsō – v.2.Jōdai bungaku to Kanbungaku  – v.3-4.Chūko bungaku to Kanbungaku – v.5-6. Chūsei bungaku to Kan bungaku– v.7.Kinsei bungaku to Kanbungaku – v.8.  Wa-Kan hikaku bungaku kenkyū no shomondai – v.9.Man’yōshū to Kanbungaku – 10.Kiki to Kanbungaku – v.11. Kokinshū to Kanbungaku– v.12. Genji monogatari to Kanbungaku – v.13. Shin kokinshū to Kanbungaku – v.14. Setsuwa bungaku to Kanbungaku – v.15. Gunki to Kanbungaku– v.16. Haikai to Kanbungaku – v.17.Edo shōsetsu to Kanbungaku – v.18. Wa-Kan hikaku bungaku no shūhen









和汉比较文学丛书 / 和汉比较文学会编. — 东京:  汲古书院, 1986-1994. (共十八卷)
v.1. 和汉比文学的构想 – v.2.上代文学与汉文学 –v.3-4.中古文学与汉文学 – v.5-6.中世文学与漢文学– v.7.近世文学与漢文学 – v.8. 和汉比较文学研究的诸问题 – v.9.万叶集与漢文学 – 10.记纪与漢文学 – v.11.古今集与漢文学– v.12.源氏物语与漢文学 – v.13. 新古今集与漢文学 – v.14. 说话文学与漢文学 – v.15.军记与漢文学– v.16.俳谐与漢文学 – v.17.江户小说与漢文学 – v.18. 和汉比较文学与周边

Celebrating NUS110 & SG50 through music


As NUS celebrates its 110th year of founding and Singapore’s 50th year of independence, we are proud to display the musical works of local composers and performers in the Music Library. Among the many talents, musicians described here are only some examples like many others who have contributed to teaching, composing and performing through their music. Zubir Said, Leong Yoon Pin, Margaret Tan, Lynnette Seah, Goh Soon Tioe and Vivien Goh, among others, received the Cultural Medallion in recognition of their services and contributions to the community.


Zubir Said

Zubir Said was primarily remembered for composing Singapore’s national anthem, “Majulah Singapura” (“Onward Singapore”). His songs were traditional and patriotic, and his music evoked a sense of national pride. In recognition of his contributions to the State, Zubir was conferred the Sijil Kemuliaan (Certificate of Honour) on 16 March 1963 and the Bintang Bakti Masyarakat (Public Service Star) in the same year. In 1971, he received the Jasawan Seni (Cultural Medallion) award from eight Malay cultural organizations. He also received the Asean Cultural and Communications Award in 1987. In addition, the Amalgamated Union of Public Employees (AUPE) awarded him the Certificate of Commendation for composing the AUPE song. In 1995, Zubir was posthumously given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS). The address of the permanent campus for the School of the Arts, 1 Zubir Said Drive, is in honor of the late composer.


Leong Yoon Pin

Leong Yoon Pin started his career as an educator at the Teachers’ Training College in 1951. He held various positions, as lecturer and later as Head of Music, when the College was renamed the Institute of Education. Through his roles as Arts Advisor to the National Arts Council, National Institute of Education and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, he was involved in charting the course of the local music and music education. Though he took on many roles namely as composer, educator and conductor, Leong was mainly known as a composer.  As a conductor, Leong founded and conducted the Rediffusion Youth Choir in 1951, and later the Metro Philharmonic Society in 1959. He was appointed Resident Conductor of the National Theatre Orchestra in 1969 and was Resident Conductor of the Singapore National Theatre from 1977 until 1979. In 2000, he was the Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s first Composer-in-Residence. Leong was honored with the Cultural Medallion in 1982, the Bintang Bakti Masyarakat (BBM) in 2005 and the COMPASS Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.


Lynnette Seah

Lynnette Seah was only 21 when she joined the newly formed Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) in 1979 as a violinist. She rose from deputy leader to associate leader and finally co-leader. In 1987, Lynnette, together with three other SSO violinists, formed the SSO String Quartet. When the SSO celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2009, Lynnette took center stage with her solo performance of German composer Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. She serves as an ambassador for classical music in Singapore and is also involved in nurturing the next generation of musicians, conducting masterclasses for violinists of all ages. Lynnette was presented the Cultural Medallion in 2006 and honored with the inaugural Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame Award in March 2014.


Margaret Tan

The Singapore-born but New York-based Margaret Tan has established herself as a major force in the American avant-garde through her boundary-defying contributions on both the piano and toy piano. Hailed as the “diva of avant-garde pianism” by the New Yorker magazine and the “queen of the toy piano” by The New York Times, she is also a renowned John Cage interpreter.  Margaret became the first woman to receive a Julliard doctorate in 1971, and is a leading figure in experimental music.  She has accompanied the New York Philharmonic, is the first Singaporean soloist to play at Carnegie Hall and received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the State University of New York in 2011. Like Lynnette Seah, Margaret was also inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014.


Goh Soon Tioe

Musicians Goh Soon Tioe and his daughter, Vivien, were also honored for their services and contributions to music. In his illustrious teaching years, Goh Soon Tioe produced Singapore’s musical prodigies like Dick Lee, Lynnette Seah, Kam Kee Yong, Seow Yit Kin, Melvyn Tan, Choo Hoey and Lim Soon Lee. He had a successful musical career as Conductor of the Singapore Youth Symphony Orchestra between 1971 and 1975, and founded the Goh Soon Tioe String Orchestra. He was awarded Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Meritorious Service Medal) for his achievements and contributions to Singapore.


Vivien Goh

Much like her father Goh Soon Tioe, Vivien is an accomplished violinist.  She too played a key role in the development of classical music in Singapore. She is best known for her contributions to music education during her time as music director and conductor of the Singapore Youth Orchestra. For her contributions to Singapore’s classical music education, Vivien was awarded the Cultural Medallion for Music in 1983.


Do check out the works by these musicians and more in the library as we celebrate NUS110 and SG50!


~NUS Music Library

Rounding Up — NUS Libraries’ Scholarly Communication Events (Semester 2, Academic Year 2014/2015)

NUS Libraries supports Green Open Access, one of the two common open access options through which researchers can freely share their scholarly work. Last year, we wrote about open access and introduced our institutional repository ScholarBank@NUS in celebration of the seventh international Open Access Week.

As part of the Library’s continuous efforts to encourage knowledge sharing and open access, our Scholarly Communication team regularly organizes academic publishing talks to support the University in its research initiatives. Here is a summary of the events that have taken place in Semester 2.


  1. Publishing in peer-reviewed journals (5 January 2015)

Professor Philip H. Phan, Vice-Dean of Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and NUS Visiting Professor at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

Professor Phan introduced the fundamentals of writing quality research papers and shared the dos and don’ts of getting published in peer-reviewed journals. His talk included topics such as:

  • Positioning the research question
  • Preparing the manuscript for initial review
  • Using proper language in writing the manuscript
  • Knowing the basic ethics in publishing
  • Conducting a review
  • Getting your research paper noticed



  1. Workshop on writing and presenting quality conference papers (16 February 2015)

NUS Visiting Associate Professor Joseph Kasser

This is the first full-day writing workshop organized by the Library. Professor Kasser demonstrated the step-by-step process of writing a good conference paper and presenting it effectively at symposiums. Participants in this workshop were actively involved in the various hands-on exercises, including forming their own teams in discussions, and coming up with their own presentations during the event. Professor Kasser even shared real-life examples of good and bad writing in conference papers, as well as his own experiences and tips in producing quality papers for reading and presentation at the symposiums.



  1. An inside guide to publishing in academic journals (10 March 2015)

Dr. José Oliveira, Editor-in-Chief of Wiley Publishing



[Dr. José Oliveira giving the audience an insider’s guide of the different roles in academic publishing]

This was an event that presented the academic publishing process from the publisher’s perspective. Dr. Oliveira provided an insight into the academic publishing industry, including the different roles of the editorial and production structure, the peer review and technical workflows, what editors look for in manuscripts, and how to get your paper accepted by editors. He also shared tips on what to do with reviewer comments and how to find the right journal to publish your papers in.



  1. Research data management using figshare and Altmetric (13 April 2015)

Dr. Daniel Hook, Director of Research Metrics for Digital Science


[Dr. Daniel Hook sharing with the audience the benefits of using figshare and Altmetric to enhance their research output]


In this talk, Dr. Hook introduced the audience to figshare and Altmetric, and the benefits of using these two tools to share their academic works. For example:

  • As a digital repository, figshare allows researchers to quickly upload and share their research output in any format, including datasets, images, audio and videos freely online. They are also credited for all forms of their research, including the unpublished portions.
  • As a tracking and impact analysis service of scholarly articles on social media, Altmetric measures the impact of individual articles, including the use of citation data, as well as the quality and quantity of scholarly articles based on three main factors: the number of online mentions, who has mentioned them, and where those mentions took place, thereby showing how much an article is personally impactful on the readers.


NUS Libraries organizes such talks to help the NUS community in its research endeavors, so do keep a lookout in your emails, our library portal or our social media channels for more of such events!

Raven Sim

NUSL Scholarly Communication Promotion & Publishing Advisory

Ah Ku and Karayuki-San: Prostitution in Singapore 1870–1940

First published in 1993, Ah Ku and Karayuki-San explores the life of prostitutes in pre-war Singapore. Together with James F. Warren’s other book, Rickshaw Coolie: A People’s History of Singapore 1880–1940, both books ventured into the social histories of Singapore’s past that has long been neglected by official discourse and by other historians of Singapore.

In Ah Ku and Karayuki-San, Warren studied the lives of two groups of prostitutes, the Ah Ku, which refers to Chinese (mostly Cantonese) prostitutes, and the Karayuki-san, the Japanese prostitutes. Using an impressive array of sources such as newspapers, oral histories, photos, newspapers, police and government documents and particularly, the coroner’s reports, Warren traced the life, or rather, the tragic deaths of these prostitutes. He divides the book into two sections: “Brothel Prostitution in Singapore” focuses on the institutions of prostitution and the city of Singapore, with chapters on migration, patriarchy, hierarchy, procurement, followed by a section “Ah Ku and Karayuki-San”, which focused on the individuals, bringing forth the life stories of the prostitutes who worked in Singapore. In the latter section, the chapters include the life-cycle of prostitutes and the concept of a brothel ‘family’.

This book represents an important attempt to write an ‘alternative’ history of Singapore, where the testimonies and narratives of the subaltern, the invisible and the powerless has a place in Singapore history despite the hegemonic dominance of a history writing that only records for posterity, those who are articulate and powerful.

More importantly, Warren reminds us of the human cost and the underside of Singapore’s economic success. Vice was part and parcel of Singapore’s histories, and as students of history, we should be sensitive to sacrifices made by people who got the short end of the straw of life.





Photo of a newly-arrived karayuki-san circa 1900s, from p. 209 of the book.




Ah Ku and Karayuki-san: Prostitution in Singapore, 1870-1940 by James F. Warren [Call no. HQ 255.12 War 2003]. See

Rickshaw Coolie: A People’s History of Singapore (1880-1940) by James F. Warren [Call no. HD8039 Ric.W 2003]. See



Han Ming Guang.

History Resource Librarian

NUS Libraries 110C team

Highlights from NUS Libraries’ collection – Singapore’s landscape transformation and urban planning

For anyone who has lived in Singapore for any number of years, it is difficult not to have an opinion of the relentless change in the physical landscape. There are 3 ‘must-read’ books if you want to understand the rationale that lies behind Singapore’s landscape transformation and urban planning. The first two books are Urban Planning in Singapore: Transformation of a City (1999) by Ole Dale, and The Politics of Urban Development in Singapore by Robert Gamer (1972). Both books will give you a historical perspective of the early days of urban planning during the ‘self-rule’ years (1958–63) and the period immediately after Independence (1963–80).

Ole Dale traces the work of urban planners in Singapore from the colonial period to post independence. A newly-elected government of an aspiring new nation faced pressing and complex issues as there were a large number of squatters in the city because jobs and employment opportunities were concentrated along the Singapore River. Living conditions in Chinatown and central areas such as Beach Road and along the Kallang River were overcrowded and unsanitary. In addition, these places were fertile for vice activities involving drugs, robbery and gambling. Not surprisingly, public housing and building infrastructure to connect the ‘New Towns’ dominated the planner’s agenda for more than 25 years.

There was also the difficult job of convincing society of the government’s intentions to improve living and working conditions in the effort to ‘modernise’ Singapore, as demonstrated in Gamer’s case study of Kallang River Basin in the second book. Resettlement of a significant number of people is never popular or easy thing to do at any time, and on more than one occasion, the government had to backtrack or slow certain plans in order to deal with the citizenry’s accusation of the government’s discrimination and hidden agenda.


p46(2008) e


The third book, Singapore: an atlas of perpetual territorial transformation by Rodolphe de Koninck, Julie Drolet and Marc Girard (2008) provides a visual view of the effect of state planning from the self-rule years until 2006. Despite the slim volume, the geographer’s perspective of land use and landscape transformation due to human activity is profound and goes beyond the physical boundary of the Singapore city state.

From the 1960s, urban planning was primarily used by governments around the world to control and regulate the land use in its cities and urban areas. In Singapore, an island-nation of 720 km2 (increasing every year due to reclamation), urban planning was employed extensively during the nation-building years to expedite the singular goal of modernising the city, promote the nation’s economic competitiveness and international image to attract investment capital. And it succeeded beyond all expectations.

Urban Planning in Singapore: Transformation of a city [call no. HT169.12 Dal], The Politics of Urban Development in Singapore [call no. HT175.12 Gam], and Singapore: an atlas of perpetual territorial transformation [call no. G8040 Kon 2008] can be found in the Singapore-Malaysia collection in Central Library.


Winnifred Wong

SDE Resource Librarian

NUS Libraries 110C team

“Guangxi Bookshelf” Project Book Donation Ceremony

On 19 January 2015, NUS Libraries was honored to welcome a big group of local and foreign guests to the Central Library to attend the “Guangxi Bookshelf” Project Book Donation Ceremony event.


Academic Talk by Professor Hu Dalei

The first programme on the menu of the day was an academic talk on “The Use of Allusions in Six Dynasties Poems” by Professor Hu Dalei from Guangxi Normal University. Professor Hu’s in-depth knowledge of ancient literature certainly captured the attention of our graduate students and even teaching staff from the Department of Chinese Studies.

book jan2015 1



At the end of the talk, we were pleased to invite Head of NUS Chinese Library, Dr. Sim Chuin Peng, to present Professor Hu with a token of appreciation for his presence and of course his engaging presentation. With that, the next programme in line was the highlight of the day – the “Guangxi Bookshelf” Project book donation ceremony.




What is the “Guangxi Bookshelf” Project all about?


book jan2015 2This project is a collaboration between the Federation of Literary and Art Circles of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the Association of Guangxi Studies. It aims to donate 400, 000 Yuan (approximately S$85,000) worth of Chinese books to a national library and a university library of every country across 10 ASEAN nations. NUS Libraries is honored to receive this huge donation of books for a span of 5 years from 2014 to 2018. The first batch of books worth over Two Hundred Thousand Yuan has arrived in our library in mid-December 2014. These titles, mainly related to Buddhist studies, are now available for use in the Chinese Library. To quote Professor Kenneth Dean from the Department of Chinese Studies, these books are valuable materials that will help support related research in NUS as well as out of NUS.



The Ceremony

book jan2015 3The book donation ceremony saw many prominent guests, including Professor He Linxia, Chairman of Guangxi Normal University Press as well as Vice-President of Association of Guangxi Studies; Professor Kenneth Dean, Head of Department of Chinese Studies, NUS; Mr. Seng Lup Chew, President and Permanent Honorary President of Guangxi and Gaozhou Association, and of course NUS Libraries’ senior leadership, namely Mrs. Lee Cheng Ean, Ms. Ng Kim Leong and Miss Kan Sok Cheng.


The exchange of newly donated books and the certificate as well as token of appreciation between Mrs. Lee and Professor He Linxia marked an end to the ceremony. But how could this significant event be complete without a sumptuous meal?


We could not thank Guangxi and Gaozhou Association enough for the splendid lunch they sponsored. Guests, lecturers and students bonded over lunch and it was definitely a heartwarming sight to see everyone enjoy themselves tremendously!

book jan2015 4

Sonnets from the Singlish

What’s a good book to kick off a social media campaign in celebration of NUS’ 110th anniversary? Well, finding one is akin to locating a needle in a haystack for a variety of reasons. One, you’re simply spoilt for choice. Two, I feel obliged to pick a book that highlights the English Language and Literature collection (ELL) since I am the resource librarian for this area after all, and three, I am still overwhelmed by the number of possibilities.


A little book of 44 poems, Sonnets from the Singlish written by local poet Joshua Ip, is entirely about Singapore. If you were born and bred in this country, you should recognize Ip’s anecdotes within his witty sonnets. It is a good book to represent the ELL collection because you could study the language used in the poems, analyze the iambic pentameter in the sonnets, or as Ip suggests, perform a reading of the poems using a Singaporean accent.


Don’t expect to read 44 poems written in Singlish, or 44 Singlish sonnets. In fact, Ip has described the book as “riffing off Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese (also 44 sonnets).” But Ip does better. He mixes pop culture — mostly local, and some international with a local twist — while discussing local issues, and subtly expressing his opinions about local affairs; matters that are often uniquely Singaporean.


I found myself turning the pages to catch on as many of Ip’s references as possible, and sometimes try to guess what exactly he is referring to in the poetry. One of my favorite poems is how he has transformed all four books of Twilight into a four-part horror poem about a female jiangshi, the vampire or zombie in Chinese folklore. Here is an excerpt tickled me:


i write your name upon the yellow charm

and press it to your forehead with a kiss –


come, we move by night. i dare not stop

till dawn. we have a thousand miles to hop.


I was able to catch some other references in his book, namely the local ice-cream man (not the owner of the fancy ice-cream franchise at the mall, but the guy ringing his bell at his mobile cart), gambling, BGR (boy-girl relationships), traffic conditions, online gaming, government scholars, wedding banquets, and of course, a token sonnet written entirely in Singlish just to satisfy readers’ expectation.


For those who are not local, fret not! Ip has kindly provided notes on the Singlish or colloquial terms he has used in his work.



Sonnets from the Singlish (call no. is PL5150 Ip.S 2012) is available at the Central Library at the main shelf and the Singapore-Malaysia collection.


Raven Sim

ELL Resource Librarian

NUS Libraries 110C team

Hashtags, Selfies, and Emoticons

Education has always been position as a cognitive enterprise, focusing on intellectual development and knowledge-production. This is especially so in the context of Singapore, where education is positioned as being paramount to producing human resources to drive the economy. Thus, it is unsurprising that with the focus on what is in the ‘mind’ in the realm of education, the function of the body and bodily sensations are often neglected. However, much as we are ‘minding’ education, most of us are also ‘feeling’ it in many ways. If you are to reflect on your memories of your first day of school, of making friends, and of studying really hard for your exams- these are experiences that are very emotionally situated.


Thus, this project is very much about emplacing ‘feelings’ in the middle of education. But how does one ‘do’ something as fleeting and as elusive as emotions? While scrolling through the ‘popular/suggested feed’ on the social media application, Instagram one day, I realised that secondary school students are uploading photos documenting their schooling and social lives on the app. I also discovered that it is not uncommon for each of their pictures to receive more than a hundred ‘likes’. Looking at their pictures, I was inspired to use Instagram as a platform to conduct a collaborative project so as to understand their schooling lives better.


Participatory and collaborative work is not something new, especially in the realm of social sciences or developmental studies. In particular, participatory research using images, such as inviting participants to draw pictures, or maps, or even taking photos are common methodologies so as to spread out the ownership of the research to encompass both research participants and the researcher. My methodology builds on these existing work by seeking to dismantle the power-relations between myself and the students. Furthermore, Instagram is also more cost-effective than traditional methods (without having to buy and distribute cameras to the students), and allows the students a greater sense of control because they are using something they already know.


This exhibition is a provisional attempt to showcase some of the pictures submitted by the students, with cost and technical challenges. All of us had fun thinking, photographing, curating, and discussing about the photos. I hope you will too!


Hashtags, Selfies, and Emoticons-2 edit


For feedback regarding the showcase, please contact Clara at:

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