Ms Yvonne Tham

Chief Executive Officer
The Esplanade Company Ltd

The Arts, Vulnerability and Resilience

In times of global upheavals, economic uncertainties, or major social movements, the arts have either reflected and helped society and individuals navigate the changes, or artists and the arts have themselves been at the forefront of instigating change. Yvonne will share some observations on the changing contexts for visual and performing arts practices in Singapore. She will touch on three broad areas:

  • the practice of socially engaged arts and the impact of the arts on well-being;
  • the artistic developments around the region and its relationship to Singapore’s cultural identity and place; and
  • the influence of digital media and increasing digitalization on our arts and cultural life.

The presentation will reference more recent implications of COVID-19 and the “New Normal” for the arts.

The aim of outlining these developments is to tease out what are the opportunities and priorities for the arts in schools and in a young person’s development. This presentation will also aim to pose a series of questions and provocations for educators and policy makers. To acknowledge that we do not have all the answers – not yet or not always – is a fact that today’s COVID-19 situation has relentlessly placed before us.

Yvonne is the Chief Executive Officer of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, having first joined Esplanade in 2014 as the Assistant CEO, where she oversaw Esplanade’s strategic and social objectives as a performing arts centre for everyone.

Prior to joining the Esplanade, Yvonne was the Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the National Arts Council, and Director of Arts and Heritage Division at the then-Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (now Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth). Yvonne has also worked at the Ministry of Manpower and taught literature at the Raffles Junior College.

In addition to her role at Esplanade, she serves on the Board of Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Pte Ltd as well as on the Singapore Film Commission Advisory Committee and Urban Redevelopment of Authority's Heritage and Identity Panel.

Dr Edward P. Clapp

Principal Investigator
Project Zero,
Harvard Graduate School of Education

Participatory Creativity and the Arts: Provoking New Perspectives for the Future

When innovation takes place in our deeply connected, interdependent world, it is almost always the result of the collaborative efforts and insights of a variety of individuals. Despite the prominence of socially emergent invention and innovation throughout most every facet of life and work, many educators and school leaders still retain traditional, individual-based understandings of creativity.

While arts educators around the world attempt to leverage creativity to prepare their students for the lives they are likely to live tomorrow—too often a traditional understanding of creativity hampers educators’ best efforts—or even limits their students from reaching their full potential.

During this keynote address, Project Zero researcher Edward Clapp will provide a counter-narrative to the traditional creativity story by introducing participants to the concept of participatory creativity - a radical reframing of invention and innovation as an educational experience students participate in, rather than something one either is or has.

Reframing creativity as a participatory process may relieve the stress of fostering creativity within individuals that many educators now face, and allow for the emergence of new pedagogical practices aimed at developing teaching and learning environments where creative ideas—and the broad spectrum of individuals who participate in those ideas—may flourish.

Educators and school leaders will come away from this session with a basic understanding of the core tenets of participatory creativity—along with thoughts and ideas about how the arts may particularly support them in making creative learning experiences more inclusive and accessible throughout their schools and classrooms.

Edward P. Clapp is a Principal Investigator at Project Zero interested in exploring creativity and innovation, design and maker-centered learning, contemporary approaches to arts teaching and learning, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in education. In addition to his work as a researcher, Edward is also a Lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Edward’s most recent books include Participatory Creativity: Introducing Access and Equity to the Creative Classroom (Routledge, 2016) and Maker-Centered Learning: Empowering Young People to Shape their Worlds (with Jessica Ross, Jennifer Oxman Ryan, and Shari Tishman, Jossey-Bass, 2016).
ico tw@edwardpclapp