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NUS and National Gallery Singapore collaborate in new Minor in Art History to groom young arts professionals

07 April 2017 | Education
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Lessons to be co-taught by practising curators; Internship opportunities with art galleries and museums

Students at the National University of Singapore (NUS) will now have the opportunity to discover what goes into the making of a national gallery, attend classes within museum galleries, and also go behind the scenes of curating an art exhibition. These activities will form part of the curriculum of a new Minor in Art History programme that is jointly offered by the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and National Gallery Singapore, in which students could gain an in-depth knowledge in Art History. This programme, which is offered by the NUS Department of History and supported by NUS Museum, will be taught by NUS faculty and practising curators. The Minor is open to all NUS students. 

Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, launched the new programme today at National Gallery Singapore, together with Professor Robbie Goh, Dean of the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and Dr Eugene Tan, Director, National Gallery Singapore. 

Prof Robbie Goh, Dean of the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, said, “Singapore’s arts and culture sector continues to grow as more people show greater appreciation for the arts. Our new Minor in Art History contributes towards Singapore’s plan to transform the nation into a distinctive global city for the arts, by grooming young arts scholars, professionals, audiences and custodians of world heritage. We are delighted to partner National Gallery Singapore, which oversees the largest public collection of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia, in offering this unique programme. NUS students will benefit greatly by picking up industry knowledge and skills from professional curators from the Gallery. In addition, students could also choose to do internships at the Gallery and other state-of-the-art museums in Singapore to gain practical work experience.”

“The Gallery is focused on furthering the understanding of Singapore and Southeast Asian art histories through education, scholarship and research. We were pleased that NUS shares our dedication in promoting art history as a field of study and research when we first proposed this idea to them. In addition to having NUS modules related to art and visual culture recognised as part of this programme, our curators have also been working closely with NUS to develop new electives related to their expertise in Southeast Asian art history, as well as modern and contemporary art. We look forward to cultivate the next generation of art historians, trained in the region and committed to furthering the understanding of our art,” said Dr Eugene Tan, Director, National Gallery Singapore.

Art history: Interpreting arts and heritage

Introduced in January this year, the new Minor in Art History programme is designed to help students cultivate the analytical skills to interpret a wide range of arts and heritage: from painting, sculpture and architecture to contemporary installation art. The programme aims to prepare students for a specialist or managerial career in universities, museums, heritage spaces, statutory boards which engage with arts and culture, art galleries, and auction houses.

Students who declare Art History as a Minor will have to read a minimum of six modules. These students could choose to read interesting modules such as “Collecting Art in Europe and Asia”, “Empire and Art in India, Singapore and Malaya” and “Time Traveller: The Curatorial in SEA”. Students will also be exposed to many different types of Art spanning across different cultures and eras, such as Japanese woodblock prints, visual arts of China, poetry, painting and photography, as well as the more modern digital culture and art. 

More information on the Minor in Art History can be found at 
http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/oop/ah/ah_index.htm

Experts discuss pitfalls and potentialities of Art History in Asia

In conjunction with the launch of the new programme, NUS and National Gallery Singapore organised a panel discussion titled “Does Art History Matter?”. Distinguished speakers with rich experience in art practice, art history and curatorship – namely Ms Aimee Lin, Art critic, Co-founder and Editor, ArtReview Asia; Ms Mami Kataoka, Chief Curator, Mori Art Museum; Mr Tan Guo-Liang, Artist; – shared insights on the application and teaching of art history, and its pitfalls and potentialities in Asia. The discussion was moderated by Dr Eugene Tan.

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