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Singapore's Intervention on arts and culture

Statement by Ms Low Yen Ling, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth & Trade and Industry at the inaugural Joint Meeting for the Ministers of Culture in the sidelines of the G20 Summit

Distinguished Delegates

  1. Let me begin by thanking the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Highness Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al-Saud, Italy and His Excellency Dario Francheschini for convening the inaugural G20 Cultural Ministerial Meeting.
  2. I am Low Yen Ling, Minister of State for Singapore’s Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. I am delivering this intervention statement on behalf of Minister Edwin Tong, who is in Parliament right now. He looks forward to seeing all of you soon and would like me to send his warmest regards.
  3. Arts and culture play a crucial role in Singapore, and I believe in your respective countries as well.

    a. The diversity in our multi-cultural society contributes to the richness in our art forms and heritage.
    b. The arts and culture express who we are as a people, build social cohesion, and inspire communities, especially in these uncertain times.
  4. The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, like many of you have shared, with massive impact to public health and global economies.
  5. As mentioned by the various speakers, the arts and culture sector, which traditionally relies on live experiences, has been hit hard too.

    a. It is timely that we gather for this inaugural meeting to share our collective experiences and ideas on how the arts and culture can continue to thrive, and inspire our peoples.
  6. We will help our artists and arts groups tide through these difficult times in the immediate term, while also helping the sector develop new capabilities to adapt to the new normal.
  7. The Singapore Government launched a S$55m Arts and Culture Resilience Package to protect livelihoods, enhance capabilities, encourage digitalisation and defray costs so that the sector can emerge stronger from the crisis.

    a. Through the package, we have generated 10,000 work and training opportunities for arts and culture practitioners, and supported close to 1,200 digitalisation projects and programmes.
  8. We are gradually resuming live activities and performances with the necessary safe management measures in place. I think you will all agree that nothing beats a live performance, which adds buzz to the society and the community. I believe we all yearn to be a part of such live performances again.

    a. The response from arts groups and audiences have been very positive.
  9. There is also a growing realisation of the need to transform how the arts and culture should operate in the new normal. Digitalisation provides new platforms and creates new experiences for audiences to enjoy arts and culture content. 

    a. Many arts groups in Singapore have embraced this opportunity to experiment new ways of reaching out to audiences, including through a blended “phygital” approach, a combination of the words “physical” and “digital”.

    b. We have enjoyed online concerts in the last few months, browsed digital exhibitions and attended webinars, and were impressed by the quality and innovativeness of these works.
  10. Moreover, a blended or digital performance allows us to watch the performance over and over again.
  11. Amidst ongoing travel restrictions around the world, Singapore remains committed to continue contributing to the global exchange of arts and culture, like today’s meeting.

    a. In the spirit to go digital, we are organising a virtual Cultural Leaders Summit later this month with participants from Australia and Asia, with the theme “Cultural Leadership in the Phygital World”.

    b. Through a Fast Lane arrangement with China, our Asian Civilisations Museum has also travelled and presented the Tang Shipwreck Collection in a special exhibition at the Shanghai Museum.
  12. Let me conclude by reiterating our heartfelt appreciation for the invitation to participate in the meeting today. We are very honoured to contribute to this very important discussion. We look forward to learn from and also to work more closely with the members of the meeting. Thank you.


Last updated on 05 November 2020