Cultural diplomacy can be broadly defined as the exchange of ideas, information, and art and culture among nations, their organisations and their people that furthers mutual understanding. These exchanges are often carried out with the goal of diplomacy, though cultural diplomacy can be the result even when it is not an intended objective.
In Singapore, cultural diplomacy is carried out at one level by government or quasi-government bodies including the ministries and agencies such as the National Arts Council, the Esplanade, the museums, the Singapore International Foundation, and Singapore Tourism Board. One major example is the Cultural Diplomacy Fund (with $20 million from the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and $5 million from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) launched in 2014 to promote Singapore’s arts internationally over five years.
At the grassroots level, artists, arts groups and other organisations also engage in cultural diplomacy (often with government funding) with activities such as organising or attending festivals and residencies, or via artistic collaboration.
This roundtable will discuss the impact of cultural diplomacy in Singapore. It will examine what has been done, what more needs to be done, what the challenges, successes and failure are, and what the benefits and possible drawbacks have been for artists and the nation.
This is the eighth in a series of roundtable discussions jointly organised by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) about cultural policy in Singapore. To allow for free and frank exchange, this will be a “closed-door” roundtable held under the Chatham House Rule.
About the IPS-SAM Spotlight on Cultural Policy Series
The IPS-SAM Spotlight on Cultural Policy Series is a space for frank, robust and collegial discussion of the issues and challenges related to arts and cultural policy in Singapore. Each discussion will gather members of the arts and creative community, policymakers, academics and other stakeholders working across different fields, to discuss a specific, timely topic about the arts and cultural policy landscape in Singapore. The goal is to assess current policies and offer recommendations for the future. The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is the venue sponsor for the 2015–2018 series.
Since 2015, seven roundtable discussions have been held. The seminars in the series are:
The reports of the first six roundtable discussions have been published online.