Singapore's first arts university, formed by NAFA and LASALLE alliance, to welcome students from 2024
The University of the Arts Singapore will award degrees offered by both institutions.
SINGAPORE: Singapore’s first government-supported private arts university will welcome its inaugural cohort of students in August 2024.
The University of the Arts Singapore (UAS) is being formed by an alliance between the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and the LASALLE College of the Arts.
Applications will open in the third quarter of 2023, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Tuesday (Aug 30).
The setting up of the university was first announced in 2021 by then-Education Minister Lawrence Wong at the Committee of Supply debates.
UAS will validate, confer and award degrees offered by NAFA and LASALLE, as well as provide “some centralised services” to both schools, said the Education Ministry in a press release.
The university will offer an expanded range of programmes in fine arts, design, media arts, performing arts and arts management, as well as in new and upcoming areas in the applied arts, said MOE.
The slate of offerings for the 2024 academic year as well as the tuition fees will be announced later. There will not be a new campus for the new university, MOE confirmed in a briefing on Tuesday.
“Students can look forward to a common UAS student experience which builds on their LASALLE and NAFA experiences, more learning opportunities through a wider range of cross-college modules, joint electives, enhanced student support services, and new access to shared resources and facilities,” said MOE.
Currently, LASALLE and NAFA award degrees in partnership with well-known overseas universities such as Goldsmiths and the Royal College of Music and the University of Arts London, and these programmes are subsidised by MOE.
Under the alliance, LASALLE will award students with a degree from the University of the Arts Singapore from its 2024 intake, instead of one in Goldsmiths’ name.
For NAFA, the final intake of students under the degree programmes validated by the University of Arts London and Royal College of Music will be admitted in the 2025 academic year.
NAFA also plans to announce new degree programmes under the UAS name closer to 2024.
The name of the new university was jointly decided on by NAFA and LASALLE after “extensive consultations” with stakeholders including staff, alumni and students.
LASALLE and NAFA each have about 2,500 students currently enrolled, across degree and diploma programmes.
DIVERSE PATHWAYS FOR THE FUTURE ECONOMY
Singapore’s future economy will need talent beyond the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, disciplines including those from the arts and humanities, said MOE at the briefing on Tuesday.
The Education Ministry also recognises that there are pathways for people in Singapore with different aptitudes, and having diverse pathways is important, it added. The ministry also said that the employment outcomes of graduates from the arts institutions are strong.
From Sep 1, 2022, the UAS board of trustees will be led by Mr Jose Isidro Camacho. The board has appointed Professor Kwok Kian Woon as the university’s first vice-chancellor and chief executive.
Mr Camacho is the managing director and vice chairman of Credit Suisse Asia Pacific, based in Singapore, and was conferred the Public Service Medal in 2021 for his service to the National Gallery and the promotion of arts in Singapore.
He and his wife are avid art collectors who have accumulated one of the most important private art collections in Asia, said the Education Ministry in the press release.
Prof Kwok is currently associate vice president for well-being at Nanyang Technological University and has previously served in various capacities on the National Arts Council and National Heritage Board.
“The UAS can be a very special institution of higher learning, transforming arts education and energising our cultural landscape and the creative economy,” said Prof Kwok.
“Our artists, who are also educators at the same time, have much to offer to our next generations of artists and creative citizens.”