Over four days, 33 arts educators, practitioners and programmers from a dozen nationalities worked alongside underserved communities of children and youth on four arts-based community initiatives as a part of the SIF’s A4G Fellowship exchange programme to Delhi.
The initiatives were designed and facilitated by this third cohort of Fellows to apply the knowledge and skills they had developed during the course of their Fellowship. They also served as a platform for the Fellows to collaborate with their international peers, while showcasing how the power of the arts can be harnessed to bring about positive social change.
The Fellows worked with four communities comprising students attending programmes by arts-based non-profit organisations NalandaWay Foundation and Slam Out Loud. The Founder of NalandaWay Foundation, Sriram Ayer, and Co-founder of Slam Out Loud, Jigyasa Labroo, are both alumni from the first and second editions of the Fellowship respectively. Each community initiative focused on a different art form such as visual arts, spoken word poetry, theatre or music to encourage the students to express themselves creatively and empower them to respond to the central question, “What do I want to tell the world?”
Singaporean Ms. Rebekah Lin, SIF A4G Fellow and Co-founder of The Social Co., worked alongside other Fellows from Hungary, India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Vietnam to create a medley of songs featuring their cultural influences with the Delhi Children’s Choir, which comprised children from low-income backgrounds. She shared, “Working with the children in Delhi has been a great opportunity; the energy in the room, the enthusiasm and sheer talent these children have is incredible. They work hard, have so much drive, learn really fast and have such a passion for music. This experience has been made more special and humbling because I was also able to connect and collaborate with Fellows from so many nationalities. There is so much talent in the room, and I have learned so much from all of them. It has been a total privilege and I can’t wait to work on a project with them in 2020.”
The medley as well as the initiative on a spoken word performance were featured as the opening acts at the concluding event of this Fellowship’s Delhi programme – the Arts for Good Forum. Held at the Indian Habitat Centre, the Forum was an international collaboration between the SIF and NalandaWay Foundation, that enabled an exchange of ideas and best practices on how to create positive social change through the arts in diverse communities. Several interactive sessions such as “artpreneurship” were helmed by the Fellows for over 50 members of the public.
Indian Mr. V Balakrishnan, SIF A4G Fellow and Artistic Director, Theatre Nisha, led a movement workshop at the Forum aimed at getting participants to practice better listening and receptiveness for a more harmonious community. He shared, “The process of creating art is a poignant tool to build resilience and empower the community. The A4G Fellowship has allowed each Fellow to engage in a communion of sharing and enhancing their teaching tools, and in the process, created a dynamic cohort capable of infusing this energy in their respective communities. I am looking forward to practise this will and purpose to make a difference in the lives of all I connect with.”
The Delhi programme marked the conclusion of the third edition of the A4G Fellowship, which included a stint in Singapore and two online webinars. The Fellows join a global alumni network of nearly 100 arts practitioners around the world.
Mr. Jaryll Chan, Programmes Director, SIF shared, “Into its third edition, our Arts for Good Fellowship brings together a community of international professionals who harness the power of the arts and culture to create positive social change in the communities they work. The Fellowship includes exchange programmes in Singapore and overseas, where these Fellows connect, engage, and learn with various stakeholders and peers, gain new skills, and ultimately, join an international Arts for Good community. To date, we are proud to have nurtured an international network of 94 Arts for Good Fellows representing nearly 20 nationalities.”
The fourth edition of the A4G Fellowship will be open for application in March 2020, interested applicants can look for updates at www.sif.org.sg/our-work/ce/afg/about.