FELLOWSHIP INTRODUCTION

The ArtsEquator Fellowship is a professional development programme for mid-career arts critics and journalists who are creating critical content about the arts in Southeast Asia. This unique programme aims to build and support a community of arts writers in the region. Our programme is designed to develop professional practice, encourage regional networking, connect arts writers from different backgrounds and fields, and promote the sharing of resources & viewpoints as our writers navigate their careers in this changing landscape. 

Follow the journey of our 2024 Fellows from July to December as they embark on their Fellowship projects, investigating and sharing the developments the arts landscape in Southeast Asia.

Explore our ArtsEquator Fellowship 2023 here.

2024 FELLOWS

BILQIS HIJJAS works as a creative producer and critic in contemporary dance, and manages the arts residency at Rimbun Dahan in Malaysia. Currently Secretary of MyDance Alliance, a membership organisation supporting dance in Malaysia, she is also Southeast Asia vice president of World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific. For over a decade, she lectured in dance history, culture and criticism at Universiti Malaya. As the founding editor of Malaysian online arts criticism platform Critics Republic, she believes that every audience member has the right to engage in cultural criticism; her personal mission as a critic is to enhance the audience’s appreciation of the artform.

Project Summary:
Many of the first generation of contemporary dance pioneers in Malaysia are still active in the field, navigating new paths for themselves in this artform. Bilqis’ project will trace some of their recent activity, as artistic directors, venue managers, choreographers and even as performers, placing them in a wider context, while considering issues of succession, creativity and novelty, and the practices of archiving, documentation and restaging. “I want to investigate how they operate as a model for sustainability in our arts community, and also how they widen the scope for older people in our aging societies.” 

RAKA IBRAHIM is a writer, sailor, & guerrilla curator from East Java, Indonesia. Through works of fiction & non-fiction, he explores themes such as our relationship to power, communality, & art works that pushes the boundaries of sense. His works has been published in The Jakarta Post, Portside Review, Porter Pamphlet, VICE Indonesia, Jurnal Ruang, & many more.

Since 2021, he has been part of the crew at Arka Kinari – a 70-ton sailing vessel turned floating cultural platform sounding the alarm for climate change by acclaimed artists Grey Filastine & Nova Ruth. Since joining, he has expanded his homebase on land and collaborated with cultural hubs, avant-garde artists, radical activists, & port mafias across the Nusantara archipelago.

Raka maintains a semi-published travelogue at rakaibrahim.substack.com

Project Summary:
During the Fellowship, Raka will be writing and producing a series of in-depth essays, interviews, and field recordings gathered on his upcoming voyage by sea across the archipelago. Through these works, we are invited to take a deep dive into the art scenes emerging from island and coastal communities living on the precipice of climate change and developmentalism, uncovering how their artistic practices interact with the crumbling world around them. His project will take in stories of novel artistic practices, performances, and ideas of living, in order to investigate how art persists and even blooms in communities pushed far to the fringes of existence.

ADRIAN D. MENDIZABAL is a Filipino media studies scholar, film critic, and memory worker based in Manila. As a University Research Associate at the University of the Philippines Film Institute (UPFI), he provides research support to its film archives and academic program. He also volunteers as an archival staff of the Philippine Labor Movement Archive (PLMA). His film reviews and critical essays have appeared in VCinema, Pelikula Journal, Nang Magazine, and MUBI Notebook. Recently, he completed his MA thesis on the comprehensive study of Lav Diaz’s long cinematic duration. He is currently working on a research project exploring the relationship of memory, technics, archives, and social movements.

Project Summary:
Adrian’s Fellowship will explore the diverse approaches to liberatory memory work in Southeast Asian cinema and moving image practices. Drawing inspiration from Michelle Caswell’s book Urgent Archives, this Fellowship will chart the persistence of liberatory memory work across various critical sites of mediations, documenting specificities and particularities of expressions and practices. “My goal is simply to magnify the revival of a collective radical hope throughout Southeast Asia in recent years despite the threat of censorship, disinformation, historical distortion, and systemic inequality, by capturing the vitality of resistance inherent to these audiovisual expressions and practices.”

PAULINE MIRANDA is a Manila-based writer and editor. She has been publishing theater reviews on Nolisoli.ph since 2019. On a personal capacity, she has also been a producer and co-host of the Surely Support Group Podcast, a podcast where she and fellow theater fans discuss the most recent shows in Manila’s theater scene. In 2021, she was part of the Critical Ecologies Working Group arts criticism residency under Centre 42.

Project Summary:
The Philippine theatre industry has experienced massive shifts throughout the past decade, brought about by the aggressive changes in the political and social landscape, as well as the effects of the recent global pandemic. This project, done through a series of articles, podcast episodes, and infographics, will explore and map out the trends that have emerged – and continue to emerge – in Manila’s theatre scene during these years, with the goal of identifying Philippine theatre’s current social significance and effect in Filipino’s consciousness. 

VORAKORN ‘BILLY’ RUETAIVANICHKUL, a Thai producer, director, and aspiring author, has made his mark co-producing Ron Howard’s Thirteen Lives (2022), ten years after his acclaimed directorial debut film, Mother (2012), nominated for Best International Documentary at Torino Film Festival, Italy. His unique cross-cultural narrative skills are a testament to his diverse background in international filmmaking, national politics, and academia. With a deep passion for Southeast Asian spirituality, Billy aims to integrate traditional themes with futuristic concepts, driven by his inquiry for posthumanism and queer theory. His goal is to pioneer Southeast Asian queer speculative fiction that captivates audiences globally. Billy is a current writing contributor of themissionth.co 

Project Summary:
Billy’s project Mekong Sci-Fi: A Spiritual Odyssey in the Making delves into the emerging Sci-Fi scene of the Lower Mekong Basin region, examining five Sci-Fi films from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam to reveal their cultural significance, narrative diversity, and futuristic outlook. This project spotlights Mekong Sci-Fi’s potential to shape global Sci-Fi narratives. “As a filmmaker deeply rooted in the Mekong’s rich cultural narratives, I am committed to elevating this emerging genre, offering insights for both enthusiasts and scholars, and pioneering new cinematic frontiers. My vision is to foster a community with my Fellowship project where Mekong Sci-Fi thrives, inspiring a new generation of storytellers.” Follow his Fellowship project here.

Photo credit: Shawn Chua

CORRIE TAN makes sense of art through intimate writing. She is a performance scholar, critic, dramaturg and facilitator from Singapore working at the intersection of care ethics, collaborative performance practices and new articulations of arts criticism in Southeast Asia. An arts critic for almost 15 years, she has written regularly about performance and culture for platforms such as The Guardian, ArtsEquator and The Straits Times, and is currently the arts editor of the independent digital magazine Jom. Corrie is a wayfarer between academia and journalism, and holds a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies jointly awarded by King’s College London and the National University of Singapore. She is the incoming director of the Asian Dramaturgs’ Network, and through her various creative projects and collaborations, considers the ways in which contemporary archipelagic thinking might offer us new configurations of relationality and identity formation with one another. www.corrie-tan.com 

Project Summary:
Corrie is returning to criticism after taking a detour to complete her PhD. She is invested in being a “provoking companion” (pendamping-pengganggu) to the arts ecology she resides within. A wayfarer between academia and journalism, she will be writing a series of critical responses that straddle these literary registers, paying attention to Singaporean theatre productions that toggle between the broad sweep of national and regional identity formation—and the intimacy and vulnerability of personal narratives. For her final essay, she plans on centering invisibilized labour and care ethics in Singapore theatre, featuring groups such as CITRUS Practices and Producers SG who are committed to better conditions for artmaking, and supporting independent artists and practitioners through developing communities of practice.

ARIF WIBOWO is an arts and culture writer based in Bali and Banyuwangi, East Java in Indonesia. Arif’s background in architecture has encouraged his commitment to cultural advocacy. From 2017 to 2020, he was a member of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago for the Osing sub-tribe community, actively documenting their remaining cultural heritage, including folklore, architecture, and traditional ceremonies. Currently, Arif is interested in the study of interdisciplinary performing arts as a medium for awareness and social movements, particularly in the context of post-colonial and third-world countries. While in Bali, Arif actively writes reviews of performing arts produced by young Balinese artists, which can be accessed on tatkala.co and serunai.co.

Project Summary:
During this Fellowship, Arif will explore the performing arts scene of dance and theatre in Bali and Banyuwangi. These two regions have an interesting intersection due to their long historical connections and the social and political dynamics of their communities, which need to be re-examined. While in Bali, he will write performance art reviews and gather perspectives from various young artists and directors who have produced contemporary performing arts. In Banyuwangi, the projects will deeply explore and research the lost collective memory of the folk choreography of Genjer-gender as a grassroots contemporary art movement precedent in the past.

SELECTION PANEL 2024

Linh Lê is an independent curator and researcher from Ho Chi Minh City. In 2020, she received a research grant from Dogma Collection (HCMC) to explore the cult personality of Ho Chi Minh as observed in propaganda posters, public monuments and public museums.  She considers publishing and organising public programmes as an extension to her curatorial scope. Some of her past projects include CáRô—an arts education programme for local youth (HCMC, 2020-21); Măng Ta—a self-initiated journal on Vietnamese arts and culture (2020-pending). Currently, she is a research fellow of ArtsEquator’s Southeast Asian Arts Censorship Database project, a Curatorial Board member of Á Space (Hanoi). 

Michael H. B. Raditya a is an anthropologist, book author, and performing arts critic from Indonesia. He published a book criticism, Merangkai Ingatan Mencipta Peristiwa: Sejumlah Kritik Seni Pertunjukan (2018) and republished in 2023 for the new edition. As a critic, he has been written in print and online for nearly ten years. After joining the performing arts writing coaching clinic in 2014, he started as a critic. At the program, he was lucky to be mentored from two sides of criticism by Indonesian critics Sal Murgiyanto and I Wayan Dibia as well as Indonesian journalists Ardus M. Sawega and Efix Mulyadi. From 2018-2022, he taught Performing Arts Criticism at Performing and Visual Arts Studies (Master Program), Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He also mentored emerging writers a couple of times: a dance critic workshop at the Indonesian Dance Festival (Jakarta) in 2018 and a performing arts critic workshop at the Selisik Aksara Program (PSBK, Yogyakarta) in 2021. Since 2022, he lived in Naarm (Melbourne), Australia, to pursue his PhD at The University of Melbourne.

Sharmilla Ganesan  is a media professional, writer, and culture critic from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She was previously a radio host with BFM 89.9, where she did shows on current affairs, arts, film, and books. She was also a features journalist with The Star newspaper for over a decade, where her areas of specialty included arts, books, and film. She also wrote an award-winning column on books and literature for five years. Her articles have appeared in The Atlantic, South China Morning Post, NewNaratif, ArtsEquator, and Critics Republic. Sharmilla was selected for the Global Cultural Relations Programme in 2022, and is a former Asia Journalism Fellow (2017) as well as Fulbright/Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow (2015/2016).

OPEN CALL

The ArtsEquator Fellowship 2024

Fellowship duration: 1 July 2024 to 31 December 2024
Application opens: 17 Feb 2024
Application deadline: Closed. 21 April 2024, 11.59PM (Singapore time)

ArtsEquator invites applications from Southeast Asia for the ArtsEquator Fellowship. The Fellowship is a professional development programme for mid-career arts critics and journalists who are creating critical content about the arts in Southeast Asia.

This Fellowship is conducted remotely and does not require any travel. It provides a stipend totalling SGD5,000 for the Fellowship period from 1 July 2024 to 31 Dec 2024. It is open to critics and arts journalists from Southeast Asia only.

We are looking for applicants who are interested in being a voice for their community, spotlighting artistic works in their country, offering insight into subjects that are not often explored, and being a part of the wider arts network in Southeast Asia.

Our second cycle, in 2024  is focused on theatre, dance and film in Southeast Asia. Fellows will work on 5 reviews that can be delivered in writing, video or podcast format, and 1  in-depth essay. We are looking for content that offers insights into what is happening in the arts in their respective countries.

Applicants should propose a provisionary list of the six (6)  topics/events/performances/videos/films they intend to cover during the Fellowship period in their application.

The content is NOT produced for publication on ArtsEquator.com, but to support the applicant’s own local network of publications and/or distributions.

Therefore, applicants must indicate where they are planning to publish/distribute the content. This may be  existing websites, news portals, social media accounts, substack, newsletter, blog, podcast channel or video channel that reaches their local community and beyond.

Not more than seven (7) Fellows will be selected for this cycle. Shortlisted candidates may be contacted for further interviews.

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