Research in Education and Arts Practice (REAP@NAFA) Issue 3 - Living in Liminality

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Research in Education and Arts Practice @ NAFA: Living in

Limina ity

REAP Series Issue 3

R.E.A.P. at

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts

REAP Issue 3 (2022) REAP Series REAP is an acronym for Research in Education and Arts Practice. Editor

Rebecca Kan

Project Manager

Jonathan Chng

Designer and Illustrator

Nandy Rhea

Editorial correspondence can be addressed to: Pedagogy and Research Unit 80 Bencoolen Street Singapore 189655 Issue 3: Published in January 2022 © Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts All rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

Research in Education and Arts Practice @ NAFA: Living


REAP Series Issue 3

Limina ity


As educators in the arts who cultivate imagination in ourselves and the lives of our learners, the challenges of 2021 have brought about further disruption, chaos and conflict that reflect on a necessary discourse about discursive practices in higher education. Living in Liminality celebrates these unknown moments as NAFA undergoes periods of transition. These are rites of passage that recognise the need for change, and celebrate those who are not afraid to engage in new ideas, practices and innovations that could be even beyond the reach of their glance. The form and content in this publication explore diverse themes of research amidst the pandemic. The definition of liminality is reflected in the narratives in this issue, where questions are invited over answers, and process is preferred over product. In this issue, we explore how technology could enhance the education of artists and designers in a recent book publication with Springer. We continue to explore how NAFA seeds a culture of research in processes that support research and professional learning. Chapter 3 features programmes with international partners from Singapore, United Kingdom, Norway and New Zealand. Chapter 4 highlights projects that were peer-reviewed and published in 2021.

Another highlight in this issue is the collective output of 10 NAFA colleagues in A/R/Tography as a Creative Research Methodology. As we reflect on the diverse ways of approaching arts and adding value to arts education, this experience leads to the recognition of new identities that becomes the starting point of another liberating experience or adventure. The delight of stepping into a threshold through research holds the key to liminality. In the words of John McQuiston II:

We must be on guard against despair, against fear, against bitterness, against self-seeking, and have the tenacity and courage to think optimistically and act affirmatively We invite readers to take a deep breath, and relish the providence of a liminal space!

Rebecca Kan Pedagogy and Research Unit Office of Academic Affairs




Our Book Publication Teaching and Learning the Arts in Higher Education with Technology: Vignettes from Practice pg 1


Our Programmes with Partners Internationalisation of the Curriculum with Technology-enhanced Learning and Teaching (TELT) pg 8 Educational Inquiry Using a Data-Driven Approach in Differentiated Instruction pg 10 Action Research for Technology-Enhanced Learning pg 11 Signature Pedagogies in Education and Arts Practice pg 12 Envisioning Inclusivity in Arts Practice pg 13 Artistic Research as a Seminal Series (ARSENAL) pg 14 DAR:E Diversity in Artistic Research: Exposition pg 19

in Liminality


Our Processes Research Ethics Applications in 2021 pg 4 Improvements in Research Processes pg 6 Research Development in Ethics and Professional Learning pg 7


Our Projects Research on Narratives in Community Engagement through Service Learning pg 20 Research in Creative Engagements on Learning Communities pg 26 Action Research Chronicles 2021 Showcase pg 31


Our Profiled Highlight A/R/T/ography pg 37 Renderings of Arts-Based Methodology pg 39 Reprising Diversity in Artistic Research pg 41 Closing Note from the President pg 60

Ch 1 Our Book Publication

Teaching and Learning the Arts in Higher Education with Technology Vignettes from Practice Teaching and Learning the Arts in Higher Education with Technology was released by Springer Singapore in 2021. This book is an inquiry about the possibilities of using technology to support the education of artists within higher education contexts. Even though technology-enhanced learning and teaching may seem incongruent with the long-established studio-based cultures of making and performing, it is increasingly becoming a pivotal point to connect artistes to potential audience and markets. It draws upon the experiences of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), a pioneering arts institution in Singapore with over 80 years of institutional history. Through 9 vignettes in the performing and visual arts, this book illustrates technology-enhanced pedagogical practices that have been implemented in different artistic learning spaces including classroom, studio, and stage as well as institutional support strategies.


There are four parts in this book, covering a range of perspectives through practice, theory, design products and institutional contexts. Topics include video-based peer critique in theatre practice, mental practice in gamelan performance, metacognitive awareness among students in fashion studies, an online package for dance production, artistic self-awareness through an OPINE thinking processes, Studio Habits of the Mind in an integrated arts curriculum module, supportive structures for design rationalisation, feedback and improvement in ePortfolios, and the importance of NAFA’s EdTech Unit as an institutional gatekeeper for technology-enhanced pedagogical practices.

With a naturalistic stance, these chapters seek to illuminate realistic pictures of teaching and learning that are being uncovered by artist educators as they sought to integrate technology within teaching practices using available technologies and within the classes that they are teaching. Contributors to the book publication: Grace Leong, Gillian Tan, Alicia de Silva, Jacinta Freeman, Winson Ho, Jerry Soo, Tan Choong Kheng, Tay Pei Chin, Sumaiya Binte Mohamad Ali and Georgette Yu. The book is co-edited by Associate Professor Joyce Koh Hwee Ling (Otago University, Higher Education Development Centre), and Dr Rebecca Kan (Pedagogy and Research Unit).

Profiles technology-enhanced pedagogies and implementation outcomes in different contexts in higher arts education

Written by artist educators for artist educators

Discusses institutional support strategies for technology-enhanced pedagogies

Contents Part I Arts in Practice Foreword Jerry T. K. Soo 1 Educating the Artist with Technology? Joyce Hwee Ling Koh 2 Articulating Theatre Students’ Conceptions of Movement in BodyTime- Space Through Video-Based Peer Critique Grace Yit Ming Leong 3 Supporting Mental Practice with Digital Resources in Gamelan Performance A—Personal Narrative Alicia de Silva


Part I Arts in Practice 4 Supporting Fashion Design Students’ Metacognition During Patternmaking with Canvas Tools Georgette Sy Yu

Part II Conceptual Understanding 5 Understanding Dance Production: Blending Learning from Online to Classroom to the Stage Gillian Ai Gek Tan 6 Culture, Media, and Self-identity – Supporting Students’ Expression of

Part III Products in Design 7 Developing Design and Media Students’ Capacity for Design Rationalisation with Electronic Portfolios Winson Khoon Sung Ho

8 Creative Inquiry in Graphic Design: Studio Habits in an Integrated Arts Project Tan Choong Kheng and Rebecca Kan

Thinking with the OPINE Framework Jacinta Freeman

Part IV Institutional Contexts 9 A Professional Development Workshop for Supporting Artist Educators’ Creation of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge Joyce Hwee Ling Koh 10 Creating Institutional Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge — Case Study through the Eyes of an Educational Technology Support Unit Joyce Hwee Ling Koh, Pei Chin Tay, and Sumaiya Binte Mohamad Ali

11 Educating the Artist with Technology: COVID-19 and Beyond Joyce Hwee Ling Koh and Rebecca Kan

QR Code Link to the online publication


Ch 2 Our Processes to Support Research at NAFA Research Ethics Applications in 2021 pg 4 Improvements in Research Processes pg 6 Research Development in Ethics and Professional Learning pg 7

Research Ethics Applications in 2021

A total of 17 research ethics applications were received and approved in 2021.


Principal Investigator/ Co-Principal Investigator

Art Matters, You Matter: What were You Going Through?

Sharon Choo (Programme Leader, Fine Art)

None to Nur 3.0: The Skin, The Feminine

Muhammad Noor Iskandar (Adjunct Lecturer, Fine Art)

Making Reading Visible

Tan Choong Kheng (Programme Leader, Fine Art)

Provoking Curiosity: A Teacher’s A/R/ Tographic Investigation of Prompting Students’ Curiosity and Creativity

Shin Jung Hoon (Senior Lecturer, 3D Design)

Learner Profiles and the Need for Differentiated Activities in the Design Studio

Seah Hui Ling (Lecturer, 3D Design)

Integrating Social-Emotional Learning into Curriculum to Nurture Holistic Learners with Different Cultural Background

James Sin (Senior Lecturer, Design & Media)

Digital Storytelling: Crafting Story Content with Moving Images across Multiple Platforms

Peh Mei Lian (Programme Leader, Design & Media)




Principal Investigator/ Co-Principal Investigator

Can Experiential Learning supported with MIRO foster Visual Literacy Learning Process for Improved Design Outcomes?

Rachel Lim (Lecturer, Design and Media) and Winnie Tan (Programme Leader, Design and Media)

A/R/Tography in Pattern Making

Chew Han Lim (Programme Leader, Fashion Studies)

A Pilot Study on the Behaviour and Emotional Response of Dancers in Singapore after Sustaining Injuries

Filomar Tariao (Senior Lecturer, Dance)

Drawings Rendered during Vocalization: The Prospect of Image Creation as a Vocal Pedagogical Tool

Daniel Fong (Adjunct Lecturer, Music)

Disembodiment from Embodiment

Nellie Seng (Head of Keyboard, Music)

Composing Out: Creating a Gamelan piece and Unfolding its Concepts through It

Alicia De Silva (Adjunct Lecturer, Music)

Students’ Perspectives of their Learning Methods with regards to Solfege Application in Music Education

Lim Tee Heong (Senior Lecturer, Music)

Analysing the Use of TELT-led Approaches on Creating Interactive Lesson Videos for an Online Preparatory Course

Jeremy Wong (Adjunct Lecturer, Music)

Feedback Literacy In The Music Conservatoire: A Case Study of Instrumental/ Vocal Teaching Students in Singapore

Evangeline Ching (Lecturer, Music)

Envisioning an Inclusive Arts Academy

Rebecca Kan (Vice Dean, Pedagogy and Research) and Jonathan Chng (Assistant Manager, Pedagogy and Research)

Improvements in Research Processes

Research Ethics Application Updates

New Research Ethics Guidelines

The research ethics application form has been streamlined in aspects concerning the research project’s purpose, background, significance as well as how participants will provide consent and be debriefed.

As a good ethics application lays a foundation for sound research design, new guidelines have been created for Principal Investigators, and Reporting Officers involved in approving ethics applications.

The approval period for each research ethics application will be extended from a default of one year to a minimal 2-year period. Extension can be requested if the project exceeds two years.

A new list of researcher protocols is available inform researchers on how to complete the research ethics application form. These include ethical application procedures, full disclosure of information, research methodology and design, efforts to minimise risk to participants, and researcher responsibilities. A new checklist for reporting officers has also been introduced. As a general guide, applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

• • • • • • •

Research merit and plans Participant recruitment Benefit and conflicts of interest Risk minimised Consent or withdrawal rights Data confidentiality Accountability in dissemination


Research Development in Ethics and Professional Learning

What is Research Ethics? As part of the movement to create more awareness on ethical questions in artistic research and educational research, a series of workshops and conversations on research ethics commenced in August 2021. Titled What is Research Ethics (WIRE), this series of workshops and conversations served to improve professional conduct in ethical practices of research and raise ethical awareness. At the inaugural W.I.R.E. series of workshops, Dr Helen Kara covered research ethics in creative contexts. She discussed potential ethical pitfalls at each stage of the research process, from question setting to aftercare, with reference to arts-based research. Helen is the author of Creative Research Methods: A Practical Guide (Policy Press, 2020) and Research Ethics In The Real World: EuroWestern and Indigenous Perspectives (Policy Press, 2018).


In October 2021, Professor Melanie Nind (Professor of Education at the University of Southampton) covered the ethics of doing research inclusively, particularly focusing on researching with people with learning (intellectual) disabilities. In November 2021, Associate Professor Ben Motidyang (Head, Higher Education Development Centre, University of Otago) covered an overview of what constitutes ethics in educational research, and explored critical ethical dilemmas that researchers face when engaging in educational research, including action research.

Ch 3 Our Programmes with Partners Internationalisation of the Curriculum with Technology-enhanced Learning and Teaching (TELT) pg 8 Educational Inquiry Using a Data-Driven Approach in Differentiated Instruction pg 10 Action Research for Technology-Enhanced Learning pg 11 Signature Pedagogies in Education and Arts Practice pg 12 Envisioning Inclusivity in Arts Practice pg 13 Artistic Research as a Seminal Series (ARSENAL) pg 14 DAR:E Diversity in Artistic Research: Exposition pg 19

Internationalisation of the Curriculum with TechnologyEnhanced Learning and Teaching (TELT)

August 2020 to May 2021

Internationalisation of the Curriculum with TELT supports excellence in teaching through equipping and mentoring lecturers with the skills to harness technologies for student-centred learning. Through the documentation of best practice cases, the project adopted a research-led approach to capture exemplars of excellence in technology-enhanced teaching. Initiated by the University of Otago, this project involved technological mentoring of NAFA colleagues. Colleagues participating in this project included Jeremy Wong and Alicia de Silva (Music), Tan Choong Kheng (Fine Art Teaching), Abraham Lim Geng (Design and Media), Wang Ming Shan and Jennifer Chor (Library).


Colleagues were supported to develop instruments for student feedback, formative and summative assessments, and to consider the use of learning analytics to capture various aspects of the student learning experience where appropriate. There were individual mentor-mentee discussions to review lesson implementation. As part of the project, colleagues documented their online curriculum deliverables, and gathered for circles of practice on 24 March and 5 May 2021 to share their TEL pursuits. Participating colleagues exchanged views about how they had become more informed on instructional content, and more open to embrace technological devices. They also learnt about online pedagogical knowledge and the importance of planning lesson materials/ strategies from the students’ perspectives. The TELT mentors Associate Professors Ben Daniel and Joyce Koh Hwee Ling from the Higher Education Development Centre at Otago commended NAFA colleagues on the work, thinking, planning and experimentation involved in the documentation of technology, and encouraged NAFA to further consider how technology can be enhanced to stimulate the emotional intelligence of our learners.

“The online course was well

structured and paced, with sufficient ‘space’ that the facilitators have created for everyone to discuss, reflect, and create. The sessions had a clear learning trajectory with each session focusing on specific content objectives. When applying to my own teaching, ID enables me to re-examine my own theory lessons through the different factors and processes that affect the students’ learning experience. As a result, it allowed me to further reflect on my teaching strengths and weaknesses. The different online learning activities suitable for remote learning were very useful to support specific teaching situations and desired learning outcomes. In summary, the course was able to strike a useful dialogue and balance between TEL and my own teaching practices.” Jeremy Wong Adjunct Lecturer, School of Music


Educational Inquiry Using A Data-Driven Approach with Differentiated Instruction

January to July 2021

A comprehensive programme was offered to provide participants with research skills to identify a research problem, design a research study, and gain more experience in commonly-used research methods. Participants learned about basic statistics and qualitative coding to analyse research data, and how to interpret results from data analysis.

Collectively, the trio worked from February to August 2021 with independent research consultant Dr Yang Chien Hui to present qualitative research findings on socioemotional learning, music theory pedagogy and differentiated instruction respectively.

The workshops culminated in a virtual seminar in August 2021, featuring a keynote on qualitative interviewing and researcher reflexivity by Dr Stefanie Reissner (Reader, University of Newcastle), along with three research presentations by James Sin (Design & Media), Lim Tee Heong (Music) and Seah Hui Ling (3D Design).


Action Research for Technology-Enhanced Learning

June to December 2021

This programme focussed on evidencebased approaches to measure aspects of technology-enhanced learning that are effective, and to identify aspects that can be improved. This was the third cycle of action research at NAFA, facilitated by Associate Professor Joyce Koh Hwee Ling from Otago University, Higher Education Development Centre.

Colleagues were encouraged not to imagine innovation as a theory of relativity to change the world, but to seriously think of a clear idea about the strategies that one could explore to solve pressing problems in studio practice. Through a robust research process, one would be able to unravel a systematic method to collect data, and collect evidence to investigate whether pedagogical

The workshops offered broad strokes about how to formulate an innovative blended/ technology-enhanced learning strategies for the arts, and various kinds of blended learning models.


Signature Pedagogies in Education and Arts Practice

Since November 2020

not “empty rhetoric” but “prophetic ministry”

“The way we teach will shape how

(Shulman, 2005) NAFA continues to explore innovative pedagogical and assessment practices in the education of arts professionals, combining new and classical ideas in the context teaching and learning the arts in higher education. Since November 2020, a group of colleagues have been gathering monthly to share empirically-led reflective accounts on their teaching and learning, and how we are preparing students for productive careers in the arts.

professionals behave – and in a society so dependent on the quality of its professionals, that is no small matter.” Shulman, 2005

Together with Associate Professor Christopher Khoo (Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) colleagues examine the tensions embedded within the surface, deep, and implicit structures of pedagogies in higher arts education, and possible solutions to address them at the micro- (e.g., classroom or practicum), meso- (e.g.,program), and macro- (e.g., institution) levels.


Envisioning Inclusivity in Arts Practice

February to September 2021

As part of the movement to embrace diversity, an inclusive service programme was co-designed by Rainbow Centre Singapore and NAFA for academic colleagues to build awareness of inclusion and inclusive pedagogy.

The paper offers an opportunity to think deeply and creatively about what it means to envision inclusive practices in higher education of the arts, and to explore alternative models of evaluating professional development to bring about resilience, collaboration, empathy and an ethics of care.

The concepts of human-centred design, disability through the lens of inclusion, and principles of Universal Design for Learning were examined in the context of inclusive arts education to prepare NAFA educators to deep dive into designing inclusive curriculum for students of all abilities. A joint research study on faculty perceptions towards an inclusive educational community was presented at IAFOR International Conference on Arts & Humanities in Hawaii (IICAH2022).


“Diversity ignites creativity, problem solving, and innovation. This transcends ability, goes beyond gender, beyond disability and dives into feelings, awkwardness, aspirations. The everyday vernacular of life.” Tan Yeok Nguan Head of Inclusive Design Rainbow Centre Singapore

Artistic Research as a Seminal Series (ARSENAL)

ARSENAL: Making Meaning of Artistic Research

10 February 2021

Professor Tone Pernille Østern

NAFA inaugurated the first session ARSENAL (Artistic Research is Seminal) series with Professor Tone Pernille Østern, an active Artist/Researcher/Teacher with a special interest in socially engaged (dance) art, dance in dialogue with contemporary contexts, choreographic processes, performative research, and bodily learning. In this session, Professor Østern shared her perspective of artistic research, its key characteristics, and defined the paradigm of performative research with reference to a forthcoming publication. Building on the writings of Haseman, Bolt and Arlander, Professor Østern discussed at length about performative research as a paradigm, challenging the traditional ways of qualitative and quantitative research. This led Professor Østern to share her own choreographic self-study which culminated in two outputs – one artistic, by way of a

toddler performance called “Oranges and Lemon"(2001), and the other, a reflection based on the choreographic self-study conducted. As the inaugural kick-off to ARSNEAL, the broad strokes in this seminar would set an intonation for the performative paradigm to provide a space and framework for subsequent sessions that would explore the different facets of artistic research.


ARSENAL: Dis/Entanglements of Research with the Arts in Multi-Professional Teams

23 April 2021

Dr Sofia Jusslin

In the second session of NAFA’s ARSENAL series, Dr Sofia Jusslin, a postdoctoral researcher in education shared the outcomes of her recent dissertation Dancing/reading/ writing: Performative potentials of intraactive teaching pedagogies expanding literacy education. The session was organised in two parts: first, covering the context of the research (which Jusslin loosely called disentanglements), and the entanglements that were experienced by those involved in the research. Sharing from her past experience with Education Design Research (EDR), Dr Jusslin likened the researcher to “a fly on the wall”, like an outsider, while the educator that implemented “the design and doing the teaching” (Iverson & Jonsdottir, 2018). This led her to explore the possibilities of artsbased research (ABR) as an alternative. As Dr Jusslin combined both research methodologies in this research, she was also conscious that she lacked the formal training of an artist, a dancer in this case. This naturally led to the question: who may conduct ABR?


Dr Jusslin found her assurance in Patricia Leavy’s opinion that if one were to embark on ABR, and does not have the formal artistic training, one can immerse oneself in the craft through various ways – through literature review, examples from the field, taking classes, and/or collaborating with artists (Leavy, 2020). Dr Jusslin shared her experience of dis/entanglements to highlight "the entanglements are also entangled with each other, affecting each other in multiple ways”, a manifestation of agential cuts, a concept by Karen Barad. Concluding the session, the Q&A segment had a myriad of questions ranging from Dr Jusslin’s research, ABR itself and how it can further impact teacher education. In light of the current pandemic, there was also a question on whether such (embodied) research can be done in a virtual space.

ARSENAL: Performative Autoethnography

21 May 2021

Runa Hestad Jenssen (Nord University)

The third instalment of NAFA’s ARSENAL series saw Runa Hestad Jenssen take a more performative, and multidisciplinary approach in her sharing. The session opened with a performance of two traditional pieces on the Hardingfele (or hardanger fiddle in English), a traditional Norwegian instrument. The performance provided an insight to a slice of Runa’s identity and heritage, providing the springboard for the seminar. Runa weaved together words and pictures (mostly drawn by her friend Ingvild), in a story-telling fashion, providing an added dimension to allow her attendees to be part of her world. Starting with her research interest as soprano, she shared a series of drawings to connect between being a soprano and moving into her researcher voice. By so doing, she expanded her ways of knowing – a knowing through being. In turn, such insights offered epistemological and ontological ways of thinking for those experiencing similar encounters.

“I was sitting reading about how to

do research, how to do interviews, how to transcribe, how to organize and make categories. It was so difficult for me. I was reading about I needed to be objective researcher. Is that even possible? I was having worries about representation, what experiences could I represent? But I was really sure that I wanted to challenge the dominant approach to teaching and researching the singing voice.” Runa Jenssen


ARSENAL: Learning to unlearn: failing with arts-based participatory research

27 May 2021

Gry Ulrichssen

Failures offer a possibility to unlearn, to learn how to learn again. In this seminar, Gry traced her own research practice in a process of un-learning from an individual self-reflexive approach to one of diffractive practice, where different knowledges and different knowledge resources are explored and developed. As one strives to unlearn, the possibilities of unlearning gives one the chance to interrogate one’s own positionality, and to disrupt from a eurocentric, theoretical, epistemological and methodological aspects of science and of art itself. This allows us to critically scrutinize the complicity, practices, theories and methods within the arts and the arts education embody. As an artist-researcher, she struggled to find methodologies, frameworks within methodologies, scientific methodologies that goes hand in hand with how the artist works, and still being applicable. She shared how an arts-based methods can hold the potential to


lower hierarchies, increase multi-vocality, and develop new and more transparent forms of participatory research and interventions in the field. In her own words: “It is a continuous struggle to develop other mediating knowledge resources to link the material, the discursive, the practical, and the reflexive. And to develop methods that emerges from the Arts, and from the discipline that are being investigated.” Gry’s striving towards the participatory paradigm turned her attention to the relational aspects between people, materials, discourses. And in the process of trying to build the collective, she struggled with the co-construction of knowledge. She reminisced that in the discourse on art- based participatory research, there is somehow a naive and romantic approaches to the use of terms, like participants as coresearchers, non-hierarchical relationships, people’s pedagogy, public scholarship, equal collaboration with non-academic participants, and co-constructing knowledge.

ARSENAL: Engaging with a Reflective Matrix for Artistic Research

4 June 2021

Dr Danielle Shannon Treacy (University of the Arts, Helsinki)

In the fifth session of NAFA’s ARSENAL series, Dr Danielle Shannon Treacy, provided an overview of a reflective matrix that focused on ensemble practices, teamwork and collaborative learning in the arts, and its potential for artistic research. The matrix was developed based on the recognised need to reimagine and deepen reflective practice in higher arts education as explicit, collaborative, and integrally connected to artistic practice. It was created through an extensive critical analysis of literature on ensemble practices and teamwork in dance, music, theatre, and visual fine arts, and refined against interviews with twelve University of the Arts Helsinki professors and lecturers.

how the matrix was constructed to take into consideration other artistic context beyond music. Others felt that with this matrix, reflecting in a collaborative project could be "well structured and meaningful”, where “re-thinking that could be exemplified into useful actions later on”. Colleagues saw the possibility of encouraging students to use this reflective matrix while embarking on research projects, or even as a checkpoint for collaborative learning.

Dr Traecy delved into the rationale and process of developing the matrix, highlighting that with collaborative ways of working on multi/inter/transdisciplinary levels being prevalent, it is crucial that artists are able to develop reflective skills not just in their own practice, but with other practices too. This would facilitate specific observations from artists that could translate into meaningful exchanges between disciplines. The matrix could also be used for pedagogical purposes, where it could be used as a tool/extension to enhance pedagogical approaches for teaching team work and collaborative learning in higher arts education. A post-ARSENAL survey conducted at the end of the session conveyed that colleagues had developed valuable insights and potential on the uses of the matrix. Some were taken by


DAR:E Diversity in Artistic Research: Exposition

Arising from 10-months of work by colleagues in the faculty research series on “A/r/tography as an Arts-Based and Creative Research Methodology” with Professor Rose Martin (Professor of Arts Education, Dance and Multiculturalism, Norwegian University of Science and Technology), DAR:E was a three-day exposition to dive into curiosities as artists, researchers, and teachers. The performative presentations involved a diverse range of products including performative talks, dialogues with epistemic objects, video creation, and graphic essays. Reverberations of being / knowing / doing were prepared by Sharon Choo, Kimberly Shen, Noor Iskandar, Noor Effendy (Fine Art); Daniel Fong, Nellie Seng, Alicia de Silva (Music); Ethel Chong (Arts Management); Chew Han Lim (Fashion); and Shin Jung Hoon (3D Design). Joining the exposition as panel discussants were Gry Ulrichssen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), Dr Helen Kara (Independent researcher and researcher), Dr Susanna Hast (Visiting Fellow, UniArts Helsinki) and Professor Rose Martin (Norwegian University of Science and Technology).

23, 25 and 27 August 2021

The series focused on unpacking the reflective, reflexive, recursive and responsive acts that form the practice of a/r/tography, in relation to individuals’ (or small collectives) own research projects:



Exploring A/R/Tography



Planning A/R/Tography In Action







A/R/Tographic Explorations



Presentation of A/R/Tographic Explorations








Developing an Individual/ Small Group A/R/Tographic Exploration

Personalising A/R/Tographic Practices

Ch 4 Our Projects Research on Narratives in Community Engagement through Service Learning pg 20 Research in Creative Engagements on Learning Communities pg 26 Action Research Chronicles 2021 Showcase pg 31

Project 1

Research on Narratives in Community Engagement through Service Learning Background •

This research captures the voices of six student musicians and one artist-educator in their engagement with an indigenous community in Sabah. It seeks to understand how student professionals in the arts benefit from learning experiences outside of studio spaces.

The findings in this case study capture specific skills that tertiary music students learnt through a regional community outreach programmes with Jesselton Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO), Sabah.

August 2018 to August 2019


Research Investigators •

Foo Say Ming (Head, String Studies)

Rebecca Kan (Vice-Dean, Pedagogy and Research Unit)

Tan Jeng Suan (Student Research Assistant, Pedagogy and Research Unit)

Student Participants •

Koh Cheng Ya (Violin), Saenghaengfah Tosakul (Violin), Yap Qin (Violin), Chen Tian (Violin)

Thantakorn Lakanasirorat (Viola)

Tan Xiao En (Cello)

Overview Service learning is a form of experiential education that integrates meaningful community service into the curriculum. Through comparative studies in experiential education, this study uncovers how service learning effectively takes

Such mutual partnerships have also “encouraged the expansion of notions of viable field placement settings, reflective practice, and habits of inquiry”

place at NAFA’s School of Music (Bringle & Hatcher,

(Burton & Reynolds, 2009, p. 30).

1995; Preradović, 2015). Service learning fosters altruism, civic virtue, conscientiousness, courtesy and sportsmanship. Service learning teaches participants the real transfer of learning from classroom theoretical knowledge to real-life practice (Myers, 2020). Working within a service learning paradigm allows us to see how the multiple stakeholders are “valuable resources for their communities” (Burton & Reynolds, 2009, p. 18).


Kaye’s (2004) service-learning model of investigation, preparation, action, reflection and demonstration is operationalized through a project at the School of Music.

Focus of Study The Jesselton Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO) is a community orchestra based at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Founded in April 2007, the JPO aims to provide outreach and training initiatives to more than 200 youths in underserved communities throughout Malaysia and the ASEAN region. As part of JPO’s outreach program, an Annual Gala Concert was organised for students from schools, orphanages and halfway houses in Sabah. NAFA students were invited to Kota Kinabalu to coach, rehearse and to co-stage a Celebration Gala Concert for the program’s sponsors, donors and the general public. International performers were also involved in solo and operatic highlights at the Classical concert. The Finale of the programme culminated in participants performing a medley of famous international and local Malaysian tunes, under the direction of Maestro Yap Ling. As part of the Festival preparation, NAFA students were involved in coaching indigenous young musicians from various schools, to prepare them for the final event. Students were also given the opportunity to mentor, and facilitate in operational and logistical matters at the event. They worked not only with the youths, but also with their supervisors, the organising committee of the festival, and members of the board of

committee. Additionally, NAFA students staged their own performance in a solo and chamber capacity with the students participating in this programme.

The following questions were posed in this study: 1.

What kinds of experiential education does NAFA offer outside of classroom or studio practice in performing arts?


What do students gain from the experience of service learning through this project?

Data was collected through student reflections, pre- and post-surveys.


Key Findings

There were mutual gains for both the beneficiary and benefactors. Evidently, service learning participation augments the heart to serve and give back, advocate music to remote areas where people have limited access, and spawn deeper thought about learning through a profession in the arts.


Giving to the community

This service-learning project facilitated a greater sense of “giving”. In the student reflections, it is notable that they were thankful for the opportunity to give back to the community. One student saw this project as an opportunity to “reach out to underprivileged individuals”, while another used this opportunity to “bring music to areas where people have no access to music”. It made the students realize that one of their critical responsibilities was to “bring our music to the general public”.


Growing in learning

Service learning provided a platform for students to apply theoretical knowledge into real-life situation, specifically in group teaching, teaching children, and improvising. Through this, students were able to realise the potential challenges and learnt to cope with them spontaneously. Students shared in their reflections that they have gained improvement in different competencies such as “problemsolving skills to overcome problems in teaching at a level suitable for amateurs”. Besides, they also learnt to take ownership of challenges, instead of “sitting there waiting for answers to come”. Not only was this an opportunity for students to overcome their fears such as “stage fright”, it was also useful for them in developing their personal skills such as “communication” and “thinking skills when coaching” the students. Other growth areas included values such as “patience when speaking” to students, and “confidence when leading the class”.



Gathering of people

Gathering is defined by the physical grouping of people, and the building of relationships. This service-learning programme saw a large group of different people from different places coming together as one to make music. Such gatherings built relationships along the way, including “building strong bonds between friends”. It made students realize that “musicians of different [skill] levels can still gather and work together”, suggesting that music is a language that transcends cultural and linguistic boundaries.

Research-Led Recommendations for Consideration Curriculum

Enhance arts-based service-learning projects and provide support for civic engagement Service learning in the arts lends support to the integration of civic engagement into arts courses. A 2018 report by the US National Education Association revealed that at-risk youth who have access to the arts in or out of school tend to have better academic results, better workforce opportunities, and more civic engagement (Catterall et al., 2018). Research also attests that academic courses and co-curricular service-learning would further engage at-risk youth. While there are tangible benefits in organizing such projects, colleagues who are interested in initiating or deepening their work with community partners would also require support to do so. With the prevalence of the pandemic, there could be new ways to organize such projects, and provide the necessary support to encourage greater civic engagement.

Foo Say Ming (Head, String Studies) accounts for changes in the landscape following this music project:

“For recommendations Covid-19 and beyond, I

would say that JPO’s programme has evolved and sprouted beyond outreach programmes, but also in servicing to the local music community. We would keep abreast with their online activities with regards to the outreach programme, but we would want to reestablish connection with them to see how physically we can be not just of service, but an operational partner in their endeavours, which I hear is expanding beyond Malaysia (to Indonesia), and beyond music (also via medicine and other avenues) to bring basic living standards up in rural areas in Sabah.” Foo Say Ming Head of Strings, School of Music 24


Prepare and engage students for more advocacy experiences Motivating students to recognize arts participation as a civic responsibility should be an important component of higher arts education (Jacoby, 2019). Providing such experiences enable students to deepen advocacy of the arts beyond their intended disciplinary track. Such advocacy experiences not only broaden understanding into industry-current processes, but also influence collective student action in art-making for common good.

Conclusion This music project provided a unique opportunity to combine professional learning with service learning through the arts. Music students gained valuable teaching and performance experiences while being exposed to a diverse and often underprivileged community of youths. This experience makes us think deeply about the benefits of service learning, and how students generally experience growth in personal skills, civic responsibility and contribution to the community. Implications for further research include a continued exploration of how a service learning framework can be developed for the arts, and specific areas for growing in professional learning, giving to the community, and gathering of diverse communities to resolve social and cultural challenges in the post-pandemic era. Findings of this research were presented at the 4th UniTWIN Symposium, International Arts Education Conference, 25-26 May 2021 and NAFA’s Pedagogical Praxis Sharing on 7 June 2021.


Research in Creative Engagements on Learning Communities “Schools tend to ‘control through

the narrowing, trivialization, and decomposition of full participation’ [that] paradoxically, [causes] learning by participation (which brings about transformation and builds identity) to ‘most likely .. fail’.” Lave and Wenger, 1991, p. 78

Background This study follows from an earlier study on narratives in creative engagements at the School of Music. While the academy has a responsibility to prepare students for a lifetime of specialised work requiring multiple advanced skill sets, there is limited documentation about how these students develop beyond their areas of specialisation. Hence, research is needed to explore how students encounter learning, beyond traditional or expected spaces of teaching and learning.

Principal Investigators • •

Rebecca Kan (Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts) Rose Martin (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

November 2018 to August 2020

Overview This study explores the interstitial spaces in higher education of the arts. These are spaces where conversations emerge in a space where creativity can occur, without the formality of institutional learning. In the context of music, this research examines how such spaces offer special moments in which students see themselves in new ways, and how interstitial practices contribute to knowledge and creative interactions in higher education of the arts. Drawing from Lave’s theory of Situated Learning (1991), communities of practice are located “interstitially in institutional settings (both schools and workplaces) that prescribe their own versions of organization and proper practice” (pp. 79-80). Considered “a new phenomenon”

(Webb et al., 2019, p. 588), an interstitial space may be interpreted as a position where complex connections, transformations and even transpositions arise.

Student Participants from School of Music •

Chew Kai Xin (Clarinet), Ong Kai Wei (Violin), Tan Jeng Suan (Piano)

Key Findings


Research Question

What do interstitial spaces look and feel like in higher music education for students?

Key Findings 1.

Extending Spaces of Learning at the Academy

Experiences shared by the three students convey intersecting spaces where self-identified ‘newcomers’ can complement the practices of existing ‘old-timers’. There was a noticeable engagement between students from different years of study at the institution. The students saw themselves as professionals in these interstitial moments; they did not just consider themselves functioning as students in a community who are making music. This includes taking discussions to different levels, initiating engagement with their peers, feeling involved, excited, comfortable to take on leadership positions, self-regulating, while also expressing enjoyment in the process of musicking, and complimenting and complementing one another’s artistic points of view. Student participants conveyed a strong sense of positivity towards such moments of learning, seeing them as helpful and wanted in their education. It was also clear that they saw this work together as an opportunity to develop as artistes. It seems that being a member of the group did not make experiences any less impressionable. Instead, new participants engage in self-governance to assimilate into the collective practice and expectations of the wider group.



Tensions as Opportunities for Transformative Learning

Tensions arise when there are differences in opinion. Giving opportunities to engage with formal classes, rehearsals, informal practice settings open possibilities for students to work in sections. Student participants cited these tensions not as conflicts but ‘discoveries’. The notion of dialogue is a point raised by students in regard to navigating tensions. Drawing from Mezirow (2000), dialogue fosters opportunities for transformative learning. When tensions brush up against each other, identities and disciplinary boundaries move, and students begin to dispense with singular disciplinary attitudes. The dialogues do not take place as verbal conversations, but rather embodied through ‘hearing’ someone perform, ‘seeing’ how someone might be playing their instrument, or ‘feeling’ in a moment of rehearsal or practice. Encouraging these pocket conversations, corridor chats, and moments of dialogue that operate within interstitial spaces may indeed provide higher music education institutions the key to unlocking the full potential of both their students and their curriculums.


Co-existence of Interstitial Communities of Practice in an Institutional Context

Interstitial practices are spaces that bridge learning environments. Such spaces found in the institution appear to be highly valued by students. Students can occupy spaces where what is ‘other’ is also within. That is to say, students can continue to sustain an individual practice according to their disciplinary expectations, but also encounter collective practice and opportunities to interact with colleagues. These interstitial spaces offer scope for what Foucault (1972) refers to as discursive practice. Student engagement with others - especially the junior-senior encounters - in their learning as indispensable, but yet underplayed in the institutional context.




Newer students who are epistemologically aware of the benefits of such collective encounters could both support their development as artistes and also assist the peers that they would then have the opportunity to engage with. It could be argued that a stronger emphasis on the episteme where students may have the opportunity to step into interstitial spaces, engage in dialogue, and in turn experience possible transformative moments in their music education, needs to be considered by the institution where the students are situated.

Alternative spaces for discovery

The learning environment can be re-purposed to make way for alternative spaces of learning. If well cultivated as part of the institutional cycle, such spaces may complement how students may actively add value and flavour within an existing institution, to collectively re-generate experimentation, discovery, and artistic confidence. This notion permits us to appreciate how students live in the space between the curriculum and the teacher, or one vantage point and another, to unpack some of the spontaneous practices that are located in the periphery. The advent of technology in COVID-19 times, self-actualising, selfisolation and remoteness in the pandemic creates new intersection points through which knowledges can be transmitted. Yet, there is minimal acknowledgement that students could generate an excellent quality of artistry independent of the educational setting. Legitimising interstitial spaces allow students to transit from one space of learning to another in a hybrid modality that allows for new identity formation.


Reflective practices and slow practice

There is space for further exploration of what slow practice might offer within higher education in the arts. As shown in the case study, there are transformative learning potentials of slow practice in music. Literature also suggests that there is space for ‘a-ha’ moments of transformation to take place through slowness, where habits and patterns could be unravelled (Mezirow, 2000). Critical reflection on engagement in learning communities from the students is an interesting point for additional investigation in future studies focused on tertiary education. An examination of the three student views show that there is value designing critical reflections that help students to articulate exactly what might be taking place within their interstitial spaces of learning, as part of a process to develop a continuous self-reflective approach to their artistic practice.

There must be pockets of space that you can be free, but you are still within the structure. So that structure is school I would say. So, in a school, I would, of course, follow what is needed and do what I need to do to become a professional, but I wish there were places where I can explore.” This study has been published in Kan, R. & Martin, R. (2021). Shifting lights through the interstices: Extending notions of what it means to learn in higher music education. Research Studies in Music Education.


Action Research Chronicles 2021 Showcase Addressing the attention span: does bite-sized lesson structure facilitate better attention span for students resulting in better learning and lesson engagement?

Chu Meng Chan Nicholas and Foo Liang Kee Matthew

This research uses design thinking principles to re-design lesson plans for screen media programme. Using a masterclass format of lesson delivery, the research explores how bite-sized lesson structures result in improved learning engagement. There were 27 second-year screen media students participating in this research. The students experienced bitesized modules comprising of a mini-lecture, followed by video segments and break-out room consultations during the first semester of AY20/21. Results show that such lesson structures increase attention span, and smaller break-out discussions lead students to demonstrate learning.

Does the use of visible thinking and virtual instructional based learning routine improve students’ creative expression and competency during virtual learning? This research examines ways of expressing ideas and the effectiveness of learning outcomes during virtual learning through the use of Visible Thinking Routines and Instructional Based Routines. A comparison of students’ cognitive and engagement presence was made between the physical learning routines (in Weeks 1 and 2) and virtual learning routines (in Weeks 3 to 12). Results show that there was a slight increase in thinking and engagement using Visible Thinking routines in the virtual learning environment. Students were also able to understand the perspectives of their peers in the online environment.


Fadzli Jamil and Ng Soon Kiat

How does design thinking cultivate creativity and effectiveness in communication campaigns?

Guo Yi Xian Yix

With a focus on empathy, design thinking lends an opportunity to gather relevant and important consumer insights for creative briefs. This research examines how design thinking enhances students’ creative process from research, strategy, conceptualization, and execution in communication campaigns. Two ideation methods were used in terms 1 and 2 of the first semester respectively. Design thinking as a methodology was used in the second term assessment, In general, performance was observed in AY20/21 with the application of Design Thinking. In general, the 25 second-year advertising students showed an improvement in copywriting and art direction.

Investigating the effect of joint-assignment with theatre and screen media students in the interdisciplinary lab

Leong Yit Ming Grace

Interdisciplinary Lab is a module for second-year theatre students to equip them with the fundamentals of interdisciplinary practice, and prepare students to work with various disciplines in the visual and performing arts. In this research, a joint-assignment with Screen Media students was designed to investigate the creative impact of such assessments. In the course of the semester, data was collected through interviews, pre- and post- surveys to understand the students’ levels of confidence with interdisciplinary learning, levels of creative expression. Findings indicate the importance of socio-emotional preparation, lecturer preparation (by way of assessment briefs) and communication strategies to help students overcome challenges in inter-disciplinary learning assignments.


Monitoring students goal orientation and motivation for dance creation blended learning module

Gillian Tan

This study examines the learning strategies and motivation of dance students in a second-year course on dance creation. An adapted Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) was conducted to explore students’ motivation for learning, including goal setting, monitoring, and reflection and reaction. Students generally had positive self-perceptions about their abilities for goal setting and goal setting. Local students reflected a higher degree of anxiety compared to international students.

Developing Critical Thinking through Problem Based Learning (PBL)

While design thinking is commonly used in design education, this research seeks to explore if there are other ideation methods that can be used to develop skills in team-working, and individual design outcomes. Problem-based learning (PBL) approach was implemented over one semester to 32 second-year students in Interior and Exhibition Design. The study used a mixed method approach, including a quantitative survey and qualitative reflections to evaluate critical thinking and problem solving. Findings demonstrate that the test group where PBL was being applied achieved better grades in project work. Results of this study propose that maintaining uncertainty in nonroutine problem-solving processes can help design students enhance critical thinking and encourage effective learning.


Veronica Yew

Action Research Chronicles

26 July to 26 August 2021 Tower Block Level 5 Gallery

A phygital showcase was held during NAFA’s Learning Festival to feature NAFA’s journey in research on educational practices for teaching and learning of the arts. Action Research Chronicles 2021 celebrated a medley of posters and eZines created by colleagues in in the performing and visual art disciplines. In this inaugural phygital space, the collective journey of 32 colleagues who have embarked on deep inquiry about teaching and learning practices in higher education of the arts were showcased. Together, they represent a collage of curriculum, pedagogy, assessment literacies in higher education of the arts.



Research in Situ An iPAD Showcase •

Factors that Influence Students’ Engagement Level in Online Learning Christabel Teng (Design & Media)

Understanding Fine Art students’ experiences of online learning w.r.t. the Community of Inquiry framework Tan Choon Ying (Fine Art)

Self-Regulated Learning in 3D Design Park Hye Young and Kwek Sin Yee (3D Design)


Narratives in Creative Engagements Ernest Lim Hung Choong (Music), Georgette Yu (Pedagogy and Research Unit) and Rose Martin (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Self-Regulated Learning in Music Performance and Instrumental Practice Rebecca Kan (Music), Georgette Yu (Pedagogy and Research Unit), Leong Wei Shin (Ministry of Education, Singapore)

Technological Enhancements for Critical Thinking in Design Exploration Anthony Tan and Gary Goh (Fashion)

Drawn from the Latin phrase in-situ (literally in-position), this showcase refers to place-based research that is specifically made at NAFA.

Understanding Students' Self-esteem and Coping Mechanisms in 4D Art Studio Geraldine Kang (Fine Art)

Visit the ARCH Exhibition Website

Ch 5 A/R/Tography as an arts-based and creative research methodology A/R/T/ography pg 37 Renderings of Arts-Based Methodology pg 39 Reprising Diversity in Artistic Research pg 41 Closing Note from the President pg 60

A/R/Tography asks for an engagement with the practice of art doing and making, within any artistic discipline, and an inquiry that entangles artistic practice with reflective, pedagogical and research considerations. The projects that colleagues have developed take this idea in a wide range of directions, and also layer narrative, auto-ethnographic,

performative, visual, and theoretical elements in diverse ways. The work shared from this series can be viewed as continually evolving, and prompt questions to propel future research forward.


ARTography is an ABR methodology of living inquiry. Loss, shift, and rupture are fundamental concepts or metonyms for ARTography. They create presence through absence, become tactile, felt, and seen.

Educational and Artistic Research






There is no clear categorical distinction between “educational” and “artistic” research as there are overlaps and commonalities. Artistic research strives for a felt knowledge - knowledge that is acquired through sensory and emotional perception.

divides/creates double words; expanded combinations to enable branching out


A/R/T o graphy





ARTographers are interested in intersections and spaces in-between. The idea of living inquiry that is continuous, is a way of life and becoming for Artist/ Researcher/ Teacher. It is relational, interconnected, and multidimensional and is thus fluid and flexible. A/R/Tography, an arts-based research methodology, emphasises the process (praxis)

through which practitioners draw upon their Artist, Researcher, and Teacher identities to artistically engage (poesis) in research and (re) question their understandings (theoria). The A/R/Tographer is interested in the interstitial spaces of known that lie between, the liminal amidst outsider/insider or artist, researcher, teacher, and writer. A central focus of A/R/Tography involves practitioners reflecting on tensions during the process of artmaking and research, honouring and critically writing about these moments as they emerge.

is: y g o l odo h t e ing ed M s w o a n B dK n a Arts g kin a M , Doing


Renderings of Arts-Based Methodology

Research, is a state of not knowing – or even better, not yet knowing along with a desire for knowledge. Thus, it is important to keep the view of Artist, Researcher and Teacher in how outputs are emerging.



It is a nonlinear pattern of inquiry. It consists of folding and unfolding the fabric of experience in a process of differentiation

It is the act of unsettling all points of tension and allows for slippage in praxis, unsettling the points of tension

“These were all wonderful presentations and I enjoyed seeing them. What really struck me was how impactful your projects were. They all attempted to develop something concrete: develop new pedagogy, help students in their learning, develop yourselves as teachers, create value and change. You can be really proud of this!” - Dr Susanna Hast, Uniarts Helsinki

Read more DAR:E in the issuu catalogue


Metaphor and Metonymy Through metaphors and metonymic relationships, we make things sensible— that is, accessible to the senses

Openings Openings promote dislocations and displacements in research

“A beautiful, inspired, provocative, critical, creative, honest, and needed week of sharing through DAR:E. I applaud the effort you have put into this work, the leaps made, the realizations, and the ‘ah-ha’ moments along the way.” - Professor Rose Martin, NTNU


Living Inquiry

Excess refers to writing from within and through the body. It is the intersection of facts, figures, and image into language

Here, written, and performative processes are enacted as a living practise in art making, researching and teaching


None to nur 3.0: the skin, the feminine by No Iskandar Bin Othman

Can losing be beautiful? Must losing be beautiful? Combing fissures of loss within sacred spaces from my MA Thesis, None to Nur 3.0: The Skin, The Feminine attempts to artfully extrapolate a new tapestry of the female identity by necessary retelling of lived experiences through poetry, performative gestures and text, both spoken and unsaid. The study disentangles the metaphorical void through exercises of participatory collaboration with my students, as they respond through the philosophical strands and material archive dislodged from my own work wherein tropes such as “unmosquing” and “carrying the sacred house within you” became complexes of imagination. These preoccupations echo Rosi Braidotti's Nomadic Theory (2011) that summons us to “organize from our locations, our here, the fleeting present” of that urgent migration- to womb wounded feelings into corporeal home-bodies. This critique/creation methodology within this paradoxical, mutating, nonlinear age, draws me to the positionality of the errān -sprawled into symbolic wanderings within the feminine corpus-


both exposing and gathering insights into its diverse fragments, fractures, disruptions, multiplicities, solidarity. I remain curious: where does the thirst of such tenderness borne out from- divine immanence, a radical resistance, an act of survival, a multi-belonging? What gaps will be stitched up, what other wounds will the body relearn, unlearn and participate in through these exhalations? Through these excavations, a conscious and intentional reflexivity of the ‘I’ as the auto-ethnographer, the pilgrim poet, the artist-educator emerged, allowing for cyclical subjectivity and fluidity of voices and memory to scatter without refrain. The encounters had turned out to be rather ritualistic in ways the body hold words as chants, as deep meanings- fragments loaded with visual, aural, conceptual threads for my auto-ethnographic installation. The process is akin to floating islands with amorphous borders, enabling me to shift the margins of embodiment and disembodiment- giving power to gendered imagination.

Like the word ‘Nur’, meaning ‘Light’ in Arabic, and often used as a female first name within the Malay Archipelago, this study proposes a re-flowering of conversations of Art and Faith while simultaneously sketching vignettes of A New Sacred Feminine, in its choreography of new subjectivities and countercartography.

“Thank you for the evocative Performance Lecture (PL). I was deeply touched by it – in many ways.” Gry Ulrichsen NTNU


Art matters, you matter the connection between mood disorders and artistic ability by Sharon Choo

Have you ever felt dissatisfied after teaching a class you intently prepared for? If so, I feel for you, because I go through periods of self-doubt, left in a limbo wondering if I am competent enough to be an art and design educator.

Art Matters, You Matter is bi-directional. You refers to both the student and the educator. The student’s well-being is priority and so is the educator’s well-being. Art Matters, You Matter serves as a channel for me, as an educator to be reflective and reflexive, allowing myself to practice – Mindful teaching. Growing up, when I think back fondly of the teachers who made an impact, they are not the ones who were the most knowledgeable, nor the ones who had the best teaching methods. The ones who made the greatest impact were the ones who genuinely cared, about me. At present, as an educator teaching in an art academy, I am often reflective upon my teaching methods, influence and impact I have upon the students. Am i worthy to be a “role model”? What sort of values is important to inculcate to my students? Do my students trust me to guide them in their learning and aspirations?


Art Matters, You Matter will serve as a personal evolving guide, to consciously recalibrate my wondering thoughts and regaining perspective of my purpose as an educator. From this exploration two outputs have emerged – a game focused on mindful teaching and an artwork in response to the topic of the project. Awaken to is a work-ofart I that serves as an open space for me to regulate my thoughts, visually represented with layers built upon layers, responding and corresponding to each other. The main textures and colours are overlapping coats of paint, leaving one to imagine the original intent. Cracks of paint, strokes of painterly textures crossing over, embodies the unknown gaps of change, the fluctuation and instability one experiences. Within the chaos, seated is a solid yolk, a stable form, bringing viewers to a focal point, a standstill, to be awakened to, to recalibrate, to be reflective and reflexive, mindful, holding fast the pureness, the original intent amidst the chaotic surroundings. As a liberating exercise, this exploration reels me in, to the reality of being an artist, researcher and teacher.

"Must I care so much to be a good teacher I get those headaches losing my self I think I am a better teacher now than when I cared so much? too much? for whom? better for me or the student? now I hardly remember their names can trusting the relation relive me form the part of caring that annihilates me? -

- Grappling with how to enhance my own (and others) awareness of how feelings of doubt, anxiety, vulnerability, shame, guilt etc. should become a crucial part of the teacher-student relation and therefor also a crucial part of the professional teacher role." Gry Ulrichsen NTNU 44

Practising feminism by Kimberly Shen

The project Practising Feminism seeks to actively reflect, reframe, and question knowledge-making through embodied and lived experiences. Drawing from acts of curating and teaching, the project acknowledges that the work of feminism is ongoing and requires constant negotiation – “To become feminist is to stay a student” (Ahmed, 2017, p. 11). Feminist scholarship argues that sources of knowledge are neutral, and it is the political act of who we read, write, cite and speak about that makes visible certain histories and narratives. Taking personal encounters in pedagogy and curatorial practice as points of departure, I engaged in reflective autonarrative writing. Questions of the regimes of power, positionality within institutional frameworks, politics of care, notions of the gaze, and representation of feminine spaces surfaced persistently, to which I had neither concrete answers nor resolutions to. These ruminations also dovetail into my current artistic inquiry of mediating feminine narratives and subjectivities. The “feminine” is not purely gendered, but rather alludes to an “other” which is not prevalent or dominant, but


A/R/Tography as Post-Qualitative

has two sub theories of note:

Post-humanism : of decentring the subject Non-Representational Theory: not only

about think but thinkfeel. This state of

understanding is fluid and in flux. Research becomes embodied.

favours heterogeneity, diversity in form, and recognises embodied experiences. By presupposing heteronormative structures and expectations hinged on our roles as women, especially within the cultural context of Southeast Asia, how do we shift or subvert modes of power? To further ground these questions, I engaged in discussions with artists and writers who identify as female or have a female/ feminist-centric practices, and organised informal reading groups with peers, looking at texts by feminist thinkers Audre Lorde and Bell Hooks. This project presents an opportunity to reflect on my role as an educator and curator – how does feminist thinking inform ways I approach knowledge production and facilitate holistic, introspective, and critical dialogue about artistic practice in the classroom? What are the strategies when organising and curating projects with female artists and their culturally situated practices and narratives? By adopting a feminist consciousness, this project is an ongoing inquiry: to navigate and re-engage a world within teaching and curating that is assembled to accommodate specific bodies of knowledge, institutions, and systems.

“The task of bringing the invisible to be more visible is clear in your strategies, and I appreciate the work you have done to dive into your own teaching and creative practices to explore how this is unfolding. Grounding the work in your own lived experiences, the auto-narratives, and the reflections of these encounters give real power to your work.” Professor Rose Martin NTNU


Mapping violence in the tender domestic by Noor Effendy Bin Ibrahim

“I found the combination of the mapping of your journey manifested through a timeline and the live performance completed each other in a very precise manner. The timeline gave a significant important backdrop for the scene playing out in the live performance. The presentation allowed me to move between two complementary modes of perception activating me in totally different ways and allowing me to grasp some of the very complex issues at stake. I found the performance lecture a significant contribution to a relatively new but emerging manner of disseminating knowledge in academia.”

Quantitative Research

Gry Ulrichsen NTNU

Qualitative Research 47


Performative Research

Haseman’s (2006) manifesto for performative research stands as an alternative to the qualitative and quantitative paradigms.

Performative Research


A/R/Tography in pattern-making as creative exploration by Chew Han Lim

This research project aims to explore opportunities for teaching and learning creativity through a series of patternmaking activities using A/R/Tography as a research methodology. This research focuses on engaging with threshold concepts, stop moments and qualitative research focused on liminary processes. The liminary process from unknown to known facilitates students from basic pattern-making skills and thinking to more creative pattern-making skills and thinking through the class activities.

A/R/Tographic Stop Points The stop point is a moment where we take pause,

question, and reflect. It is

a moment where we find an

idea, provocation or prompt.

The class activities included two stages of pattern-making processes. These pattern-making processes were intended to raise awareness of emotion, reflection at the end of each stage of the process and interaction between the student’s prior knowledge, resources, and the lecturer. The two stages of processes were completed in three weeks facilitated by the myself as their lecturer.

Stage two was recreating a variety of designs using the process from stage one. In the facilitation processes, spontaneous interactions were identified between a student and notes that the lecturer had given, a student and prior knowledge, a student and the lecturer, the lecturer and notes, creative exploration and stage one study, and the lecturer and facilitation method. The interactions took place spontaneously where the lecturer as a facilitator was constantly negotiating the scaffolding of the class and students’ self-exploration. One opened-ended question was used at the end of each stage, with the purpose of acting as a stop moment for students to reflect and consider their emotions. Key words were identified from the reflections done by the students to highlight the objectives of risk taking and emotions involved in the exploration process for students as learner and the lecturer as an A/R/ Tographer.

Stage one was studying an interesting pattern design and identify the key pattern making principles applied.

It is hoped that this process of uncovering and embracing the element of risk and failure through reflections


The subject is decentered

may be able to fuel creativity and accelerate the designing process. In conclusion, in this research it is viewed that the A/R/ Tography research process can potentially support students and lecturers to reflect, identify and embrace failure, and in turn seek improvement with a disposition of endless learning through failure, confusion, and exploration.

The researcher-body is entangled and affected

Research is a


creation of difference

“I found these aspects particularly interesting. One is the acceptance of the discomfort of uncertainty. This is not so unusual for an artist, but it is still quite unusual for a researcher, yet it is as important in research as in art because both are about moving from the known to the unknown. The other is the explicit inclusion of emotion. Again, this is still quite unusual in research, even though no researcher can do their work without emotion.” Dr Helen Kara Independent Researcher


Provoking curiosity: a teacher’s A/R/Tographic investigation of prompting students’ curiosity and creativity in the design class by Shin Jung Hoon

This auto-ethnographic research focuses on my teaching practice as a spatial design lecturer, where I piloted a pedagogical model that I call “Curiosity Practice”. This “Curiosity Practice” uses a hybrid method of intermingling what is required in the curriculum with other topics of interest, with the intention of motivating students and kindling curiosity in learning. These sessions of “Curiosity Practice” also sought to prompt students to ask questions and ignite self-reflexivity, while supporting students in a creative mindset that may spark interest to apply creative approaches into their work. The beginnings of the research stem from the frustrations I faced as a lecturer with what I perceived to be ‘uncreative’ students in my class. During honest and open dialogues with students, it became clear that there was a misalignment of the students’ creative skills in the classroom and outside of it. I found it difficult to motivate students to work on


design projects with passion, curiosity and creativity. Yet I noticed that the students were displaying these qualities in platforms such as social media, in their ways of talking, and habits. Hence, the purpose of this research has been to reflect on my experience as a teaching professional, through my observations and work with students on their process of attaining curiosity and creative mindset. Through the “Curiosity Practice” sessions, students are encouraged to think critically, focusing on the process, behaviour and the artistic exploration technique. Consequently, it is hoped that from these sessions the sparks of creativity that are developed might transfer to their design projects. I worked with a group of 12 degree students who spent one hour per session for three weeks using “Curiosity Practice” in their design studio before each of the actual lessons began.

Instagram by Hong Weiming, BA Spatial Design 2021

Instagram by Aaron Yuri, Diploma in Design (Interior+Exhibtion), 2018

Results of the research focus on my reflections as a teacher. I unpack how I see that the students who attend the “Curiosity Practice” sessions seem to have a unique point of view toward certain phenomenon, actively participate in discussions and also express creative mindsets. The findings and active interactions with the students have allowed me to reflect on my teaching methodology as an educator. I have arrived at the understanding that preconceived and outdated method of teaching will not work in this era, especially in a design school environment. Students are now required to produce high level of creative output, participate in multidisciplinary and trans-disciplinary contexts and developing their skills at a fast pace. This auto-ethnography strives to illustrate my pursue of creative ways of teaching, through a dialogue with the students’ about their creativity.

Curiosity Practice-Screenplay by Sharon Arulkumar, BA Spatial Design 2021

“I really appreciated the honesty and vulnerability in this research project. The self-reflection, even selfcritique, admitting to failure was great… Maybe we need to fail, maybe failure shows us something we would not otherwise see?” Dr Susanna Hast Uniarts Helsinki


Reflexing on community-based projects by Ethel Chong

Performative Research

From meaning to

In the Arts Management Programme, the Project Management for Arts Events module aims to teach students how to do a simple analysis of the external environment to manage an arts project. The module takes place in the January to April semester of each academic year in NAFA, which has an advantage. Singapore Art Week (SAW) takes place in January for about 10 days annually. Hence, students taking the module would have to attend any activity in the SAW and then do a 5-minute individual presentation of how they think the event was organised. This activity ensures that students participate in an arts activity in the physical space and prepares them for the final group presentation. As part of the teaching process, there are 2 interventions to help students think of projects that engage the community. As the module is preparing students to work as arts managers in the industry, they need to know the process of applying


meaning making

government grants for arts projects. More often than not, the government’s preference has been to award grants to arts projects that engage the community. The first intervention is inviting an experienced arts manager to talk to students about local and overseas arts projects he had organised. The second intervention is to use National Arts Council (NAC) case studies to enable students to see what community-based projects have been state-funded. Before the talk, students are already grouped (6 to 8 per group, and grouping is decided by students themselves) to brainstorm possible projects. In conclusion, out of the 9 final projects among the 3 classes, 6 are communitybased. One project promotes sustainable fashion among consumers. 2 projects are visual arts exhibitions, one showcasing artworks on the theme of mental health, and the other exhibits artworks by children with autism. Teaching the

Language to

module over 14 weeks, I am glad to have helped students to scope their projects based on the industry’s standards with a better focus if the projects were to apply for government funding. This research showcases 2 methods in which students’ learning processes can be streamlined when they are exposed to real-world information, and not having students plan arts projects in a silo, as they need to understand how their involvement in the arts can affect the community. The artistic impetus happens when the art of crafting projects become more relevant to Singapore and the current context in which the arts are placed in terms of importance. My research will offer insight to teachers who may be teaching a similar module and the motivations involved to help students think of projects that are more community-focused.


“I really liked the idea of teaching outside the classroom in a real-life situation. This is such a valuable pedagogic tool.” Dr Susanna Hast Uniarts Helsinki


Drawing for singers: drawing as an alternative vocal pedagogical tool by Daniel Fong

“Your study challenged the positions of the teacher and the student with the method of drawing, which was really interesting. You discussed knowledge beyond language, ways to communicate but also ways to discover knowledge about the self, the unknown.”

Dr Susanna Hast Uniarts Helsinki


Disembodying from the embodiment : a research into music performance and its physical dramatisations by Dr Nellie Seng

This research has sought to raise awareness of the alignment between physical embodiment being action, and sound. Quite often, one hears the comment: “looks so musical” in a concert or in a performance class. In short, the embodiment of a feeling; the act of musical performance has become a physical manifestation of that feeling which has eventually been taken to the forefront of the stage. It could be said that an audience now expects visual excitement, but visual excitement may detract from the focal point of music being a highly auditory sense. Ironically,

Performative Research discusses the transition:

From what research is

audiences no longer listen but rather, they watch music. As a musician and teacher, I have often commented that students have not “embodied a musical work and its meaning”. However, is it not odd to ask for music to be embodied since the auditory sense is essentially invisible? In this research project a black screen was put up to block the performer from the audience. Therefore, the audience could not “watch” the performance during performance class, they could only listen to the performance. When students were asked to comment on

To what research does 56

From (centered) subjects to relations

what they heard, their reply was they felt the performance was musically ‘bland’, or that they heard aspects that were not desirable. Yet the actions that might have ‘caused’ these undesirable aspects of sounds were deemed to be visually exciting. The intent of this exploration is to bring students’ focus back to listening, and through that focus bring about an awareness of their physical movement as a platform for sound production and to consequentially think further about embodiment.

“Nellie’s work has links with concerns in the wider research world about embodiment and sensory methods. Researchers are becoming interested in different kinds of sensory data such as by using soundscapes to study urban life.” Dr Helen Kara Independent Researcher


Composing out: unfolding basic gamelan concepts through collaborative composition by Alicia de Silva

Composing is often viewed as an important activity in music education. It can allow students to be creative and expressive and could be used to encourage collaboration and participation in a classroom. It also works as an avenue for students to explore musical meaning, and even develop their own artistic voice. In most instances, the immediate goal with composing is to be about the creativity, compositional process and/or the final product. These are important, and good starting points when using composition as an educational tool. However, I believe more attention could be given to composing as a teaching tool. Jackie Wiggins’ (1990) book, Composition in the Classroom: A Tool for Teaching is an early publication on this. Though a large part of the compositional approach that Wiggins writes about stems from a more traditional/classical Western music approach, which differs from what I

did in this project, it reinforces a personal theory I hold: that through the process of composing a piece of music, or even just creating a small fragment/motif, students can be made aware of some basic music concepts, develop a basic proficiency in playing an instrument, and perhaps most importantly, cultivate a sense of ownership in their learning. With this context in mind and using A/R/ Tography as a framework, this presentation details my reflections and observations of a group of first-year music students. These students were required to work as a group to compose a piece of music for a culture that they had minimal knowledge of (in this case the Javanese Gamelan), and have it performed after a period of about ten weeks. In this project, I decided to put my personal theory to the test. I questioned whether these students were able to deepen their knowledge and understanding about the Javanese Gamelan and its key concepts


through the process of composition. Would this process of composing, and ultimately (public) performance allow these students to play these instruments better? Would this process of composing, and performing together deepen their awareness of ensemble playing?

Trying out motifs and ideas

Hearing the group composition

Through these questions, observations, and reflections, I also discuss some strategies formulated to make the act of composing more intentional for the students. Finally, through this presentation I hope to share how as artists-teachers, we may use our creative practice to delve deeper into learning and shape the learning environment in our classrooms.

“I particularly appreciate your own reflections on your pedagogical approaches and research choices. This self-reflective and reflexive view will serve research pursuits well.” Professor Rose Martin NTNU


Closing Note It has been engaging to see how arts practice and education has taken flight through NAFA’s practiceoriented research efforts. I’ve had the pleasure to read about your explorations, and I thank colleagues for making the effort to pursue this path of deep inquiry. For me, good art is not the same as good artistic research. Good artistic research does not necessarily lead to good art. But artistic research has to be done. Because without research, we cannot uncover deep insights that have not been previously known, and we cannot create new knowledge nor develop fresh perspectives that will shine the light for new possibilities. Artistic research becomes especially important when it touches you, shakes you and offers many alternatives to what you already know. This demands courage and risk. This adventure that you have taken, has provided you with this opportunity to set aside time to think, make the intuitive explicit, to learn and to unlearn, to provoke and to stimulate interaction through your research. This spells great courage and your passion to bring the arts to a higher level. Now that you have gone on this wonderful journey and experienced the fulfillment of engaging in research, I hope you will encourage other colleagues to join you on this journey, and that you will continue to make artistic research a key part of your professional work.

Mrs Tan-Soh Wai Lan President Nanyang Academy of FIne Arts Singapore




REAP Issue 3 Pedagogy and Research Unit Office of Academic Affairs Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts 63