Principal Investigator


Dr. Muzaini is a cultural and historical geographer with strong interests in social and spatial theory particularly as applied to heritage, memory and remembrance. His primary research area centres on how heritage associated with the Second World War is currently (and historically) commemorated in Singapore and Malaysia, conceptualised around postcolonial theory, materiality, cyber-memorialisation, transnational deaths, the immanent past, and practices of power and resistance in everyday spaces.

His current research looks at the phenomenon of ‘heritage-from-below’ or forms of (non-state) memory and heritage produced and consumed on the ground or within more intimate spaces that are not highly visible and so very much at risk. This will be empirically accomplished through his (field)work on/with war memoryscapes and cultural theme parks within the region, as well as migrant Southeast Asian communities in Europe and elsewhere.



Dr. Creighton Connolly received his PhD in Geography from the University of Manchester in June, 2016, where he was a member of the European Network of Political Ecology (ENTITLE). His research focuses on cultural politics, urban political ecology, and contestations over urban development in Malaysian cities. His dissertation, A Landscape Political Ecology of ‘Swiftlet Farming’ in Malaysian Cities considers these themes through an ethnographic analysis of the contested emergence of swiftlet farms (structures for the harvesting of edible birds’ nests) in Malaysian cities such as George Town, Penang and Malacca, and the socio-ecological transformations involved. His previous MA research was conducted at the Memorial University of Newfoundland which focused on Singapore’s role in the global trade and traffic in electronic waste (e-waste). He has published this work in various journals, including the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR), Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, Journal of Political Ecology, Cultural Geographies and Geoforum.


Dr. Padawangi is a senior lecturer at the Singapore University of Social Sciences. Previously, she was Senior Research Fellow of the Asian Urbanisms cluster at the Asia Research Institute (ARI), National University of Singapore (NUS). She received her PhD in Sociology from Loyola University Chicago, where she was also a Fulbright Scholar for her master of arts studies. She holds a bachelor of architecture degree from the Parahyangan Catholic University. Her research interests include the sociology of architecture and participatory urban development. She is a member of the collaborative Southeast Asia Neighborhoods Network (SEANNET), a four-year initiative for urban studies research, teaching and dissemination through the prism of the neighborhood, funded by the Henry Luce Foundation through the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS). Her upcoming publications are the Routledge Handbook of Urbanization in Southeast Asia and Cities by and for the People in Asia. 



Dr. Lam received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Oxford for her work on Hong Kong politics and contemporary youth activism in the city. Her current research interests builds upon her doctoral research by continuing to look at the socio-political ambiguities and tensions that have emerged in Hong Kong after 1997, and the way in which they manifest on the urban landscape. While at ARI, she will examine heritage preservation schemes initiated by the government and by grassroots actors, especially how they interact with the demotic sentiments of nostalgia and with everyday acts of remembrance among the wider population. Special attention will be paid to the discrepant definitions and manifestations of various ‘sites’ of memory, along with themes of materiality, consumption, and self-fashioning.


Dr. Sham obtained his PhD from Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London. His research interests are postcolonial studies, heritage preservation, the city and arts, and cultural policy. During his appointment at ARI, Dr. Sham is undertaking a research project titled “Politics of Postcolonial Heritage-Making in East and Southeast Asian Cities”. The project will analyze how the dynamics between the state, capital and civil society shapes the process of heritage-making in East and Southeast Asian cities, with specific reference to Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The project also aims at analyzing how the preservation of cultural heritage may provide “spaces of hope” in the neoliberalization era.

 Research Assistants


Grace is a full-time RA in this project. She has recently graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor in Environmental Studies (Hon) degree specialising in Geography. She has travelled broadly in Southeast Asia and is interested in bridging and communicating the culture and environmental issues in these areas. Her honours thesis explored the effect of the composition and configuration of the landscape on the land surface temperatures in Yangon, Myanmar. Prior to joining ARI, she interned at the Office of the VicePresident (Campus Infrastructure) (NUS) and the National Biodiversity Centre (Coastal and Marine Branch).

While at ARI, she will be working on the ‘Mapping the Southern Islands’ Heritage Landscapes: Integrating Culture and Nature in Heritage Conservation’.