5 October 2016
University Cultural Centre, National University of Singapore
by Yang Yilin, Year 2, Yale-NUS College
On 5 October 2016, NUS held the inaugural ArtsConnect – Careers & Networking Event at the University Cultural Centre. The event was jointly organized by the Centre for Future-ready Graduates, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Yale-NUS College, NUS Centre For the Arts, supported by the Office of Alumni Relations and was targeted at students interested in pursuing careers in the local Arts and Culture scene. Unlike the plenitude of networking events available that are geared towards the fields of business consulting and entrepreneurship, ArtsConnect provided an unparalleled platform to connect undergraduates with the elusive and commonly misperceived Arts and Culture scene in Singapore.
Given the full house turnout for the event, it was evident that there is a high level of curiosity and concern with regards to post-graduation career prospects. The event kicked off with a comprehensive keynote address by Ms. Yvonne Tham, Assistant CEO from The Esplanade. As a veteran in the local Arts and Culture scene, she shared with us her valuable experience of working in both public and private organizations in the sector. In her keynote address, Ms. Yvonne Lim highlighted the ample and often overlooked opportunities available for graduates in the booming Singapore’s Arts and Culture sector in recent years. It is no longer a niche that attracts specifically skilled individuals, but it has also become an increasingly competitive territory which requires the inter-connectedness of a multitude of talents to sustain itself both regionally and globally. In other words, there is definitely a place for every interested and passionate individual to be part of within the Arts and Culture scene.
With this new knowledge on the multitude of opportunities available, the next burning question raised by attendees during the event was “What exactly does the Arts and Culture sector look for in a fresh graduate?” This concern was well addressed during the panel discussion by prominent representatives from respective fields in the local Arts and Culture scene. The panelists included Ms. Yvonne Tham from The Esplanade, Dr. Danny Tan from Odyssey Dance Theatre, Mr. Steven Chia from Channel NewsAsia, Ms. Hoon Jia Jia from National Arts Council, and Mr. Gaurav Kripalani from Singapore Repertory Theatre. With their light-hearted and whimsical sharing, all panelists affirmed the one crucial quality they look for in a fresh graduate – passion! Given the multi-faceted and bustling Arts and Culture scene, embodying a passionate stance is essential for one to sustain and thrive with a positive attitude as he or she embarks on this journey.
After the insightful panel discussion, all panelists and attendees enjoyed light refreshments during which they had the opportunity to network and engage in more intimate conversations. Apart from the panelists, there were also other networking representatives present during the event. They included organizations and corporations such as NUS Museum, ArtScience Museum, National Gallery Singapore, National Library Board, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Checkpoint Theatre, Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Centre For the Arts (CFA) and Asian Film Archives.
ArtConnect was truly an engaging and enlightening event that broadened my perspective on Singapore’s emerging Arts and Culture scene. I left with interesting anecdotes and advice from prominent leaders who have helped to shape the local Arts and Culture scene into the lively platform for creative thought it is today. The event also served as a reminder for the increasing need for young talents like us in this booming sector, which is set to grow and develop further in the years to come. ArtsConnect equipped students with the knowledge and empowered them with the passion to continue their pursuit in the Arts and Culture scene, and we all look forward to the next instalment of ArtsConnect!