Meet Team ArtsWok. Each of us has a personal stake in the vision of ArtsWok Collaborative:
hear the stories of our ArtsWok voyages here.
Co-Founder | Executive Director
Su-Lin has been active in the Singapore arts scene for more than two decades, specifically in the areas of education, community, creative producing, and interdisciplinary collaborations. She has worked with various arts organisations before co-founding ArtsWok in 2013.
Su-Lin produces community theatre and festivals in collaboration with the public, people and private sectors, and has worked with numerous schools, social service, community and health organisations to incorporate arts processes and approaches into their programmes, including the development and writing of training toolkits. She also develops and facilitates capability development programmes and initiatives on arts-based community development.
A theatre studies and psychology graduate, she also holds a Master of Arts degree in Research (Drama-in-Education) and two other post-graduate degrees in Counselling and Theological Studies, respectively.
“Co-founding and managing ArtsWok has been such an adventure and meaningful journey. It is a deeply felt, humanistic and spiritual response to the desire to create, and bridge communities, in order for all of us to have opportunities to relate authentically, to fulfil our potential, and co-create the society in which we exist. Tackling thorny social issues, and collaborations can be challenging and requires time but is essential if we want real change, if we want different ways of being and relating. The arts provide meaningful and powerful ways to ask critical questions, to reveal truths, to generate and deepen relationships, and to imagine, rehearse and create new realities. I am so grateful for this space ArtsWok occupies to experiment, play hard, collaborate and contribute towards community development in Singapore.”
SEAH SZE YUNN
Director, Strategy and Capability Development
Sze Yunn is a design practitioner and researcher. In her 20 years of experience, she has brought her design perspective to diverse areas of work, such as co-curricular learning, visual arts, branding, and marketing. Her research interests include the management of design processes and collaborative practices. Prior to joining ArtsWok, she was engaged in the strategic design and development of co-curricular learning at Singapore Management University. In 2007, she co-founded Perception3, an interdisciplinary art duo that produces artistic projects and arts-based learning experiences. She is a recipient of the LASALLE Scholarship for MA Studies and holds an MA in Design, with Distinction, from Goldsmiths, University of London, as well as a degree in advertising from RMIT University.
“I first came to know of ArtsWok back in 2017 at a conference presentation, and later became acquainted with the Both Sides, Now project through their public programmes. While my encounters with ArtsWok were brief, they impressed me with their arts-based approach towards community engagement and development. As someone who is a part of an art duo that creates art installations in public spaces, I have an interest in observing and articulating how artistic processes and interventions can be well-suited and valuable to engage communities meaningfully, to imagine and construct shared narratives of how we live together, and to recognise the ripple effect of our individual actions.”
Angie has worked in the government and community sector for more than 15 years which includes Ministry of Community Development (now known as Ministry of Social and Family Development), Central Singapore Community Development Council and the Centre for Non-Profit Leadership (now subsumed under National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre). Trained in social work & theatre studies, she is curious to see the impact when arts, community and social work intersect. This curiosity started her volunteering journey with Both Sides, Now in 2014. She has been Volunteer Manager for the project since 2017, before eventually joining ArtsWok as a staff member. She has also previously co-facilitated several design thinking projects in the government and social service sector.
“I saw a volunteer call for Both Sides, Now in 2014 and was immediately intrigued to find out more about the project. Firstly because of the nature of the topic of end-of-life, and secondly I was curious about how this could be explored in a palatable way through an arts-based approach. The intermediary place that ArtsWok occupies resonated with me instantly! “That’s what I have always wanted to explore as a job!” I thought. The opportunity came when both Su-Lin and Huey asked whether I was keen to consider a contract position as a volunteer manager of Both Sides, Now in 2016. And eventually, when a position came up, I decided to join the ArtsWok team in 2018.
Arts-based community development work is still relatively nascent in Singapore, despite many success stories in other countries. This keeps me motivated in this field – to unearth and share this exploratory, experimental, co-creating work with the community.”
Durrah holds a BA (Hons) in Arts Management from Goldsmiths, University of London. Trained in visual arts and arts management, Durrah believes in the significance of the arts in communicating, engaging and reaching out to underserved communities. With her skills and knowledge in arts management, she aims to advocate for the role of the arts as a catalyst for social change and for creating inclusive spaces. As part of her art collective NAYA, Durrah served as an artist-in-residence at The Artground, to create an immersive play space for babies and young children.
“I first came to learn of ArtsWok through Both Sides, Now. It inspired me to take up the opportunity to embark on a traineeship with them. The meaningful experiences I gained along the way motivated me to continue on this journey with the team. I’m hopeful for the future of arts-based community development! And look forward to co-creating more projects which empower communities and strive for social change.”
Board of Directors
KO SIEW HUEY
Co-Founder | Treasurer
Huey is active in the sustainable finance sector. A Master’s graduate in public policy from Harvard Kennedy School, Huey has an abiding interest in connecting people and ideas across different disciplines. She began her career producing social documentaries after studying directing at Beijing Film Academy, before joining WorldVision China to do international development work. At the China National Office, she pioneered the use of performance management tools, taking quantitative and qualitative data gathered from the field through household surveys and focus groups discussions to inform programme design and organisational strategy. She remains an avid amateur street photographer and personal portrait photographer for her beloved cat.
“The work of change starts with the ability to imagine the world as otherwise. The arts play such an integral role in helping us see alternative possibilities to our current condition and they offer tools for devising pathways to turn them into reality. In reminding ourselves of our creative potential, we participate in our own liberation. That is the power and promise of arts-based community development.”
DR. JUSTIN LEE
Dr. Justin Lee is Senior Research Fellow at Policy Lab, Institute of Policy Studies. Given his interest in community development, mutual aid and worker-owned/platform co-operatives, Justin runs policy experiments to test ideas such as interest-free loans to the community, time banking and community circles. He has created a wiki platform that allows mass participation in the mapping of social needs and co-founded a skilled volunteer matching platform, and serves on the Board of Trampolene as well as the Research Committees of Singapore Children’s Society and SINDA. He has a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
“I didn’t know much about the arts, much less arts-based community development before I signed up for a Greenhouse Session simply because it sounded interesting. That’s when I first got to meet the dynamic duo Su-Lin and Huey, the co-founders of ArtsWok. The first thing I realised about ArtsWok is that when they facilitate a dialogue, they really facilitate. Subsequently I helped with training and kept attending ArtsWok productions until they had to invite me to the board. What I learned along the way is that the artful building of communities can make a lot of difference. Cheers to all socially engaged artists!”
DR. CHARLENE RAJENDRAN
Dr. Charlene Rajendran is a Malaysian theatre educator, researcher and practitioner, currently based at the National Institute of Education – Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She researches issues of identity and culture in urban multicultural contexts, where questions of difference pertain. Her work also involves developing arts-based dialogic pedagogies that draw on contextually-based knowledges to deepen critical and aesthetic thinking. This includes examining pedagogies of play in arts education, and developing conversational approaches to teaching theatre as an integration of theory and practice. She has been involved as director, performer, writer and dramaturg in a range of performance projects.
“Working with ArtsWok Collaborative is enriching and exciting. It provides opportunities to understand and expand arts-based community development, raising important questions about life in the 21st century through critical dialogue and creative engagement. Contributing to a process of advancing and deepening artistic engagement through aesthetic interaction and participation, I learn about the complexities and challenges of the work. I also appreciate the potential for strengthening human connections and nurturing respect, empathy and beauty. The aspiration for the future is to enlarge how else this work can grow to become a crucial part of the urban landscape, while enhancing modes of play and artistry that restore something vital to the human condition – a joy of living and the value of justice.”
Patsian is the Vice President of Inclusive Impact & Sustainability for Asia Pacific at Visa. She brings with her over 20 years of work experience from private and civic sectors, crossing the fields of CSR, sustainability, social finance, social entrepreneurship, impact philanthropy and non-profit leadership. She recently ended her tenure as Chief of Staff of AVPN, where she started the thematic programmes and policy portfolio for the organisation. Before that, she was Senior Vice President in DBS Bank, where she was head of DBS Foundation and DBS CSR, leading their work in championing social entrepreneurship. Prior to this, Patsian was the Director of the Philanthropy division in Singapore’s National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC).
Patsian has also conducted training across Asia in Social Entrepreneurship, Assessing Social Impact, New Social Trends, Microfinance, and Human Capital Development. She has contributed to and co-written research papers and case studies on the same topics.
“I first met ArtsWok through a philanthropic connection, but came to appreciate their work when I was face to face with conversations about end-of-life during Both Sides, Now held in Toa Payoh. There, in the middle of the Heartland, I could see, despite the different work we do, that Artswok has created this amazing equalising platform to use art to bond people closer around a deeply personal matter. It was my first and most transformative experience in using art to create this opportunity for dialogue and development, and ArtsWok’s work continues to inspire me to think creatively and expansively as we strive hard to build better and stronger communities around us.”