Creative Residency

The National Library Creative Residency invites creatives from different artistic disciplines to draw inspiration from the collections of the National Library, Singapore and the National Archives of Singapore.

About The National Library Creative Residency

We are keen to collaborate with creatives who employ innovative and imaginative methods to conceptualise new works inspired by the digital and physical collections from the National Library, Singapore and the National Archives of Singapore.

Residents are encouraged to reimagine or reinterpret the collections in ways that provide fresh perspectives and make them more engaging to a wider community of users. The Residents are required to share their concepts, and this could take the form of videos, publications, literary works, artworks, musical compositions, or more. Such sharing helps to enhance or reshape public discovery, exploration, and engagement with our collections and content.


We are on the lookout for projects that make effective and meaningful use of our collections. Applicants are to propose and employ suitable methods to conceptualise new creative works inspired by the collections. The themes include but are not limited to the following:

  • Social history of Singapore through photographs, oral histories, and other relevant collections;
  • Singapore’s visual culture in design and everyday life;
  • Stories and narratives from Singapore literature.


The National Library Creative Residency is open to Singapore-based creative practitioners (individuals or collectives) working in any discipline or form of expression. This includes but is not limited to visual and digital media artists, composers, musicians, designers, writers, and creatives. We also welcome inter-disciplinary creative practitioners.

Successful applicants should possess relevant research and artistic credentials or equivalent; preferably have an established record of achievement in their chosen field of research and the potential to excel further.



The award of the Residency is for a period of six months:

  • A stipend of S$3,000 per month will be provided to help Residents meet their living and local expenses.
  • In addition to the stipend, Residents will be provided with up to S$6,000 (on reimbursement basis) for the purchase of materials for the conceptualisation, or materials that are directly related to the project and/or used for the duration of the Residency.
  • Residents shall be responsible for obtaining all required licenses, permits, permissions, and other authorisation to use any photographs, copyrighted materials or other property, or other rights belonging to third parties that are used for the project.

For further information about the Residency, please contact:

The Administrator, National Library Creative Residency
Email: NL_Creative_Residency@nlb.gov.sg



2021

Jean Tay


Playwright Jean Tay studies the history of Singapore’s approach in the containment of contagious diseases, as well as public attitudes and stigmas surrounding sickness through the histories of different hospitals and quarantine sites (such as St John’s Island, the old St Andrew’s Mission Hospital and old Middleton Hospital), in order to bring these histories to life through theatre. In doing so, she delves into oral history accounts, public histories of hospitals and quarantine sites, as well as the personal memories of individuals with unique experiences there.

 

Khairulddin Wahab

Artist Khairulddin Wahab investigates the historical process of disenchantment in the natural world through Singapore’s environmental history, working with materials related to plantation agriculture and land use in Singapore, which have informed and formed the land. He draws from natural, material, and environmental resources in the National Library and National Archives, in particular materials such as cartographic surveys, colonial representations of the island and plantation and aerial photographs, using these resources as departure points for a new series of paintings.

 

A Stubborn Bloom

The collective A Stubborn Bloom takes cues from visual and social life in Singapore in the 1990s to develop a video piece revolving around a fictional teen character. Inspired by the collections from the National Library, the National Archives and Asian Film Archive, the duo have found a multiplicity of entry points to relook Singaporean life in this period. Highlights from their research include artistic productions from the 1990s such as book manuscripts, theatre plays, music and indie films, newspaper articles on youth, architectural publications, tertiary prospectus and teen magazines. These materials provide clues to the embodied experience of teen-hood and the structural developments in place that had ushered Singapore into the new millenium.

 

Tan Shao Han

Tan Shao Han draws upon the National Library’s and National Archives’ collections of primary and secondary sources, oral history interviews, microfilms, and photos to aid in conceptualising and designing a tabletop roleplaying game (TTRPG), “Da Xia” / “大侠”. "Da Xia" is a game of historical fiction inspired by the first half of the 20th century. Players assume the titular role of “Da Xia" or "gallant” who is a desperate hero caught up in wartime upheavals. While historical imaginations of Singapore’s WWII experiences are often concerned with nations and empires' military and geopolitical objectives, “Da Xia” takes a different, more personal direction to focus on the everyday lives and quotidian heroics of civilians and survivors during WWII and the Japanese Occupation. This game draws inspiration from various Chinese literary and storytelling traditions (such as the Nanyang, gongan, and wuxia genres) to imagine shadowy worlds of danger and skulduggery during this tumultuous time.

 

2022

The National Library Board is pleased to announce the recipients of the National Library Creative Residency 2022:

Chrystal Ho

Title of project: “Where the flowers never stop blooming”

 

Fyerool Darma

Title of project: “On Sale Soon: Cloth Made in Malaya”

 

Kaylene Tan

Title of project: “The Streets On Fire”

 

Saleem Hadi

Title of project: “Hybrid Storytelling in Horror Narratives: Using films in theatre productions to inspire youths and create immersive experiences”

 

More information on the Creative Residency 2022 projects will be available at a later stage.