SINGAPORE: A national resource centre will be set up for freelancers in the arts sector to allow them better access to resources, training at networking.
Speaking at the Committee of Supply debate for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), Parliamentary Secretary Baey Yam Keng said the centre will exist in “both physical and digital forms”. MCCY will be consulting potential partners to secure a suitable space for the centre.
“The centre will conduct training programmes, as well as provide resources and services on individual rights and responsibilities, career development and finance,” he said. The centre is expected to provide freelancers access to job opportunities as well.
Addressing Dr Lim Wee Kiak’s question about Government support for arts freelancers, Mr Baey said: “We agree that more can be done to enhance professional support for independent artists.”
In the National Arts Council's 2016 Arts and Culture Employment Survey, nearly half of the respondents indicated that they work primarily on a freelance basis.
Mr Baey said a support framework that fosters fair and progressive employment conditions and meets freelancers’ professional development needs has been developed.
The National Arts Council (NAC) and the National Heritage Board will be early adopters of Ministry of Manpower's Tripartite Standard for Contracting Self-Employed Persons, he said.
"We will also encourage arts groups and institutions within the wider culture sector to implement these measures."
LOCAL MUSIC TO HIT DIGITAL WAVES
In a further push for the local arts scene, from next month, members of the public may listen to local music on a new digital platform, Hear65, Mr Baey announced.
The digital platform will allow the public to listen to Singapore music from different genres, languages and decades, he said.
“Hear65 will therefore be a platform that appeals to both the young and old,” he added. There will be songs by Huang Qing Yuan and Poon Sow Keng,that will resonate with older Singaporeans and songs from Kit Chan, Rahimah Rahim and Taufik Batisah for others.
A national music movement that will be launched in April in collaboration with local music media company Bandwagon, will profile homegrown music talents to Singapore and international audiences.
Hear65 will feature access to music on streaming platforms and crowd-sourced reviews of the featured content, and will also partner private and public sector stakeholders such as the Esplanade to “create more buzz” around Singapore music, Mr Baey added.
MORE SPACES FOR PUBLIC ART
In commemoration of Singapore’s Bicentennial next year, two new signature public artworks will be commissioned in community spaces, Mr Baey said.
This follows the commission of three public artworks in the Civic District under the Public Art Trust for SG50.
“We will continue to commission one signature public artwork per year thereafter, under the Trust,” Mr Baey said, adding that MCCY “would like the public to enjoy our artists’ work as part of daily life”.
In addition, NAC has freed up more sites for artists to create public art in neighbourhoods. To date, more than 30 sites have been secured, including spaces in town centres and sports centres in Bedok, Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Panjang, Woodlands and Clementi.
The initial list of sites will be released in the middle of this year, he said.
“I encourage interested venue owners to get in touch with NAC (National Arts Council) if you have suitable spaces that can be included. Likewise, we encourage artists to consider these sites, and submit proposals through the Public Art Trust website,” he said.
NACwill also launch public art trails and guided tours beyond the Civic District and Central Business District. For example, there will be more public art programmes as part of the Arts in Your Neighbourhood series, he said.
Meanwhile, local literature in vernacular languages will get a boost, when primary and secondary schools are gifted a set of SingLit books for their libraries. SingLit refers to a movement to get more people to discover and embrace Singapore’s literature.
The literary works, written in the four official languages, include those from local writers Francis Wong, Huang Shu Jun and Ai Yu.