ArtsEquator’s Burning Questions

In a matter of just months, the making, distribution and audiences’ experience of arts has undergone rapid changes. From abrupt cancellations of major festivals, to shuttering of galleries and theatres, new online avenues emerged to make and share arts.

At the same time, COVID-19 has exposed the extreme precarity of the arts sector. As arts workers face a real existential threat, it is society at large that will be impoverished if artists can no longer make and present their work. Now more than ever, we need artists to challenge assumptions and imagine new futures.

This series of four talks, organised by ArtsEquator, attempts to ask some big questions. Being in the middle of an unpredictable global crisis precludes easy answers. Burning Questions offers a space for regional voices to dialogue and discuss some of the unasked questions facing the arts community.


Tech in Performance: The Great Leveller or The Great Unequaliser?

Date: Tuesday, 14 July 2020, 7.30-9.30pm (GMT +8)

Using technology in performance isn’t new, but COVID-19 has forced more artists to explore the digital medium, dealing with lag, latency and liveness while rethinking audience engagement and accessibility. Are we witnessing a new renaissance in the performing arts or an undoing? Is digitalisation just a boogeyman in place of a more difficult conversation? Join speakers Madeleine Flynn (Australia), Elizabeth Kow (Singapore) and Brandon Tay (Singapore) in exploring these issues. This panel is moderated by Felipe Cervera.



Traditional Arts: The Forgotten COVID Casualty?

Date: Tuesday, 21 July 2020, 7.30-9.30pm (GMT +8)

While the pandemic has resulted in losses of jobs in the arts, less has been said about the fate of craftsmen, artisans and masters of intangible heritage and traditional arts. Artists Khin Maung Htwe (Myanmar), Alena Murang (Malaysia) and Jacob Boehme (Australia) will share their experiences in activating tradition and heritage in their work, and discuss the role of traditional arts in a post-COVID world. Or is contemporising the traditional arts an inevitable way of ensuring its survival? This panel is moderated by Soultari Amin Farid.



Is There Hope for Integrity & Intimacy in Online Performance?

Date: Tuesday, 28 July 2020, 7.30-9.30pm (GMT +8)

Artists today have to grapple with being true to their creative integrities while dealing with the limitations of tech platforms and live delivery methods. With social distancing and restrictions on travel worldwide, is there a way to keep the intimacy alive between artists and their audiences in a way that doesn’t compromise the work? Join Bernice Lee (Singapore), Katrina Stuart Santiago (Philippines) and Maria Tri Sulistyani (Indonesia) as they discuss possibilities for and challenges to connection and creativity online. This panel is moderated by Corrie Tan.



Can Critics Criticise during a Pandemic?

Date: Tuesday, 4 August 2020, 7.30-9.30pm (GMT +8)

As the work of artists evolve with the restrictions of COVID-19, do critics also need to reassess how they look at performance? Four critics, Loo Zihan, Teo Xiao Ting, Jocelyn Chng and Germaine Cheng discuss their responses as more and more performances go online, and whether it has led to a recalibration or softening of their critical eye. What really is the role of the critic during a crisis? Do we put criticality on pause, in favour of a more empathic, care-centred approach as other pressing issues loom large? This panel is moderated by Nabilah Said.


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