Looking to The Past for The Future | Arts Festivals in Context

Joe Sidek, Festival Director, George Town Festival & Venka Purushothaman, Vice President (Academic), LASALLE College of the Arts

Moderated by Mary Loh, Festival Director, NUS Arts Festival (NUS Centre For the Arts)

Tue 24 Jan | 7.30pm | NUS Museum | Free admission with registration


NUS Centre For the Arts presents a candid conversation about the role of history and heritage in directions to festival-making. From two different perspectives gleaned in two geographical places, Mr Joe Sidek and Mr Venka Purushothaman share their unique insights, experiences and thoughts about the future of festivals.

Mr Joe Sidek is the Festival Director of George Town Festival, an annual, month-long celebration of arts, culture, heritage and community in Penang. Inaugurated in 2010 in honour of George Town’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Festival transforms the city into a global stage, showcasing world-class performances, installations and collaborations from international and local artists alike. With over one hundred unique events each year, the Festival seeks to create new and vibrant connections between the traditional and the contemporary, the past and the future.

Mr Venka Purushothaman is the author of Making Visible The Invisible: Three Decades of Singapore Arts Festival, a seminal book which contains to date the most comprehensive study of the development of the Singapore Arts Festival. Lived experiences in Singapore, Toronto and Melbourne coupled with extensive travel across the globe – researching the cultural differences in the management of arts festivals and biennales –has provided him with a rare insight into the world of cultural flow and sensitivity to the place of art in societies and communities. He is also the Vice President (Academic) and Provost of LASALLE College of the Arts, where he leads arts in higher education.

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