To centralise information about attacks on freedom of expression of arts and culture in Southeast Asia, into a fully searchable database.
To identify recurring patterns and common features in the ways that arts and culture are challenged or censored in Southeast Asia.
To produce visual data, articles, podcasts and other content which will be shared with artists, rights groups and the public.
The Pilot focused on Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, documenting challenges and obstacles to artistic free expression from 2010 – 2022.
Database: We have collected rich, granular details about each of the 677 cases documented in a private access database. A small selection of this data is available on a public access database which is fully searchable. To explore the database, please register here.
Reports: To read the reports produced by the research team go here.
Content: To access a collection of articles, videos, quizzes and other content produced by the research fellows, to engage and inform the public about the challenges faced by artists in the six countries in the pilot, go here.
The project is ongoing.
Reaksmey Yean, Co-Researcher, Cambodia
Reaksmey Yean is an art curator, writer, and researcher; and a program director of Silapak Trotchaek Pneik (STP Cambodia), a contemporary art space by YK Art House, based in Phnom Penh. He is also a part-time art history lecturer at CamTech University. Yean is an Alphawood scholar (SOAS, the University of London for Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art). He was an exchange scholar at the ISEAA, Chiang Mai University, and an inaugural SEAsia Award Scholar (2017), an Asian Cultural Council fellow (2018) and a beneficiary of Dr. Karen Mcleod Adair grant for MA in Asian Art Histories at LASALLE College of the Arts.
To read the articles Reaksmey Yean produced as part of this project, go here.
Kai Brennert, Co-Researcher, Cambodia
Kai Brennert is the Founder of edge & story, an evaluation, research and policy consultancy at the intersection of culture and sustainable development. Currently based in Cambodia, he has worked in more than 20 countries across four continents on partnerships, strategy and evaluation in arts, culture, and the creative industries. Kai is also the author of curious patterns, a monthly newsletter that explores current issues and policies in the field of arts, impact, international cooperation and sustainable development.
To read the articles Kai produced as part of this project, go here.
Adrian Jonathan Pasaribu, Researcher, Indonesia
Adrian Jonathan Pasaribu is the co-founder of Cinema Poetica—a collective of film critics, activists, and researchers in Indonesia. In 2013, Adrian participated in Berlinale Talents as a film critic, and since then regularly organised or mentored film criticism workshops. He has also curated several film festivals, including Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival and Jakarta Film Week. In 2020, as part of Cinema Poetica, Adrian contributed several writings for Antarkota Antarlayar: Potret Komunitas Film di Indonesia (Between Cities and Screens: Film Communities in Indonesia), a book published by Jakarta Arts Council. Since 2022, he’s been a part of the research team for Apresiasi Film Indonesia—a collaborative project to map the roots and branches of Indonesian film culture.
To read the articles Adrian produced as part of this project, go here.
Muhammad Zikri Bin Abdul Rahman, Researcher, Malaysia
Zikri Rahman has consistently embarked on collaborations with educational and cultural activist groups in various socio-political projects through Buku Jalanan, a rhizomatic network of street library movement he co-founded in the year 2011. Other than that, he is also affiliated with Pusat Sejarah Rakyat, independent archival research and documentation focusing on Malaysia and Singapore’s people’s history. With LiteraCity, he initiated a literary and cultural mapping project in the city of Kuala Lumpur. Zikri is also a writer, independent researcher, translator and curator for multiple diverse productions.
To read the articles Zikri produced as part of this project, go here.
Katrina Stuart Santiago, Researcher, Philippines
Katrina Stuart Santiago is an essayist, cultural critic, opinion writer, and book author from Manila, with a decade of work in print and online. Her role as critic has fueled her activism, which cuts across issues of cultural labor, systemic dysfunctions, and institutional crises. She is a teacher of writing and criticism at the College of Saint Benilde, a book maker at small press and bookshop Everything’s Fine, and is a contributor to the International Association of Theater Critics’s online platform, Critical Stages. She founded People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action-PAGASAph that seeks to provide the space for political action from younger civil society actors. She is part of the 2021 cohort of the Feminist Journalist Project of the Association of Women’s Rights in Development, is a 2023 Public Intellectual of the Democracy Discourse Series of the De La Salle University, and is part of UNESCO-Germany’s Fair Culture Movement. She has been writing at radikalchick.com since 2008 and is @radikalchick online. **
To read the articles Katrina produced as part of this project, go here.
Le Thi To Linh (Linh Le), Researcher, Vietnam
Linh Lê is an independent curator and researcher from Ho Chi Minh City. Her current curatorial and research endeavour explores the (im)possibilities of the archive and its other alternatives. With the local art community at the centre of her work, Linh also expands her curatorial scope to publishing, discussion and workshop. Some of her past projects include CáRô—an arts education programme for local youth (Ho Chi Minh City, 2020-21); Măng Ta—a self-initiated journal on Vietnamese arts and culture (2020-pending). She is currently a visiting lecturer at Hoa Sen University.
To read the articles Linh Le produced as part of this project, go here.
Kathy Rowland, Project Founder and Director, ArtsEquator
Kathy Rowland is the co-founder of ArtsEquator Ltd in 2016, a charity dedicated to supporting arts criticism in Southeast Asia. Kathy has worked in the arts for over 25 years, running arts and culture programs and arts media platforms. She has written extensively on censorship of arts and culture in Malaysia. She was a member of the International Programme Advisory Committee of the 8th World Summit on Arts and Culture, held in Kuala Lumpur in 2019.
Joses Ho, Data and Technical Consultant
Joses Ho is trained as a neuroscientist. He curates twice-weekly reports and online data visualisations to track emergent covid-19 mutations across the globe. He has also developed robust and elegant estimation statistics for data
analysis. Joses also archives and visualises the poetry posted on SingPoWriMo (the largest online month-long poetry-writing activity in Asia). He has been featured as a performer in Sing Lit Body Slam (the world’s first spoken-
word / pro-wrestling show), Spoke and Bird, and the Singapore Writers’ Festival (2015, 2016, 2019).
Jun Kit, Designer
Jun Kit is a graphic designer and illustrator whose work merges digital precision with analog sensibilities. He has contributed to a range of projects within the realms of art, theatre and activism, and has exhibited drawings and photographs in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Tokyo.
Ivy Josiah, Collaborator, Five Arts Centre
Ivy N Josiah is a women’s human rights advocate. She is the former President and Executive Director of Women’s Aid Organisation which opened Malaysia’s first shelter for survivors of domestic violence. Her involvement in the arts began in the 80s as a costume and wardrobe person, then going on to produce plays for various theatre companies. With Five Arts Centre she began as a dancer with Marion D’ Cruz and Dancers. Presently she manages FAC’s digital archival project My Art Memory Project, http://myartmemoryproject.com/. She is currently writing stories about the women’s movement in Malaysia and remains active in civil society.
Mark Teh, Collaborator, Five Arts Centre
Mark Teh is a performance maker, researcher, and curator based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His diverse, collaborative projects take on documentary, speculative and generative forms, and address the entanglements of history, memory and counter-mapping. His practice is situated primarily in performance, but also operates via exhibitions, education, social interventions, curating and writing. Mark graduated with an MA in Art and Politics from Goldsmiths, University of London.