The arts, culture and heritage have been used from time immemorial to bring a society together and instil a sense of rootedness, national identity and pride in a people.

Has this great role of the arts and culture changed in the new normal, and can it bring back solidarity, social cohesion, care and confidence in societies which exist in a globalised, volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world?

Join our eminent speakers as they explore the role of the arts and culture in a more diverse, divisive, depressed and disillusioned COVID-endemic world.

Prof Audrey Yue

Head, Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore

Audrey Yue is Professor and the Head of the Department of Communications and New Media (CNM) at the National University of Singapore. She is also Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Her research covers cultural policy development, urban communication, transnational Chinese media cultures and Asian sexuality studies.

Audrey’s recent essays appear in International Journal of Cultural Studies; International Communication Gazette; International Journal of Communication; Inter-Asia Cultural Studies; Urban Studies and International Journal of Cultural Policy. She has conducted research with arts councils and culture ministries in Australia, South Korea, and Singapore, and received more than SGD8m in competitive research grants internationally.

Audrey has also published more than 8 scholarly books and 110 refereed journal articles, book chapters and commissioned reports. She is currently completing research on the impact of COVID-19 on the arts; the foundations of home-based work, and; indicators of digital wellbeing.

Ms Shubigi Rao

Artist, Writer, and Curator for 2022 Kochi-Muziris Biennale

Shubigi Rao is currently representing Singapore at the Pavilion in La Biennale di Venezia (Arte) from April to November 2022 and is the Curator for the 2022 Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Her art, texts, films, and photography look at current and historical flashpoints as perspectival shifts, examining contemporary crises of displacement, of people, languages, cultures, and knowledge bodies.

In 2020, the second book from Shubigi’s current decade-long project, Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book, about the history of book destruction and the future of knowledge, won the Singapore Literature Prize (non-fiction), while the first volume was shortlisted in 2018. She also won the 2018 APB Signature Prize Juror's Choice Award for the first exhibition of the project, Written in the Margins.

Shubigi has also been featured in the 10th Asia-Pacific Triennial, 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale, 10th Taipei Biennial, 3rd Pune Biennale, 2nd Singapore Biennale, and the Singapore Writers Festival (2013, 2016, 2018, 2021).

Ms Yvonne Tham

Chief Executive Officer, The Esplanade Company Ltd

Yvonne Tham is the Chief Executive Officer of The Esplanade Company Ltd and she is responsible for the overall management and programming direction of The Esplanade.

Yvonne was formerly the Deputy Chief Executive of the National Arts Council as well as the Director of the Arts and Heritage Division of the then-Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. Between 2002 to 2009, she was involved in the development of policies such as the Renaissance City plans, and the setting up of the pre-tertiary School of the Arts, the Design Singapore council, and the National Gallery.

Mr Paul Tan

Fellow, Culture Academy, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth

Paul Tan is currently a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at the Nanyang Technological University and sits on the boards of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, the Singapore Symphony Group and the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre.

Paul joined the National Arts Council in 2011 as the Festival Director of the Singapore Writers Festival and Director, Literary Arts, and helmed four editions of the popular literary festival before serving as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the Planning and Corporate Development Group until August 2021.

Paul has also published five volumes of poetry and writes the occasional opinion piece for The Straits Times.