On Friday 17th February the Singapore Research Nexus (SRN) was delighted to host a fascinating symposium titled ‘Creativity in Singapore’. The afternoon provided a unique opportunity for local celebrated writers and researchers to discuss Singapore and how it fares as an environment for creative writers and those researching creativity Singapore.
First up was the premiere screening of the FASS-produced documentary film ‘Writers Engaging the Social’ which is now available for viewing via NUS YouTube. Please click here to view: http://youtu.be/yxggMumdQnU
The 40 minute film, directed by the poet and critic Gwee Li Sui features four writers, all FASS alumni, who write in each of Singapore’s four official languages. They are Rasiah Halil, Lee Tzu Pheng, Ting Kheng Siong and Vadi PVSS. Each of the writers shares with Gwee their take on the meaning of literature, poetry and theatre and on how Singapore wrestles with its own historical and social constraints in relation to the literary arts.
Following the screening the audience enjoyed a ‘Post-Screening Conversation’, chaired by the playwright Huzir Sulaiman who helped to field questions from the audience about creativity and writing in Singapore.
After the afternoon break it was the turn of our own FASS Faculty to present their papers on how our research ‘engages the creative’. First up was A/P Lonce Wyse from the CNM department whose talk on ‘Creativity, Interdisciplinarity, and the New Relevance of the Arts’ showed how it is really a false dichotomy to uniformally separate the two and view each as an equal and distinct means or end. Rather, Prof Wyse showed some intriguing recent examples of how the two can meet to create extraordianry pieces of hybridity.
Second to present was A/P Maria Kozhevnikov (Department of Psychology)who shared her findings on the relationship between creativity and visualization. The study showed that ‘object visualization’ relates to artistic creativity, and ‘spatial visualization’ relates to scientific creativity, while both are distinct from verbal creativity.
The third speaker was Dr John DiMoia, Assistant Professor in the History Department, who looked at the historical example of Stanford University compared to the case of what Singapore as a country has done and might do to encourage attributes and practices of creativity among the members of its scientific community.
Last to present was A/P Ho Kong Chong (Department of Sociology) who looked at the wild and unruly side of the creative economy and how work-styles associated with this form of production are closely tied to particular types of urban environment, for example parts of Little India and Geylang. These ungentrified portions of Singapore enjoy low rents and centrality while offering a vibrant and more liberal and hence ‘creative’ environment.
The second session concluded with a vibrant Q&A session leaving many to agree that the symposium offered a diversity of perspectives on Singapore and its evolving relationship with the creative.
For more information on the speakers and particpants please click here to read their bios and abstracts: Creativity in Singapore Symposium booklet