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About 2018 Artist-in-Residence




The 2018 Artist in Residence programme aims to generate critical ways of thinking through research, discussion and shared experience. Convening practitioners and thinkers from various fields, the residency programme invites Residents to carry out field work and develop new perspectives based on their individual practice for a period of six months.   

This residency cycle lasts six months. It is structured around a specific research enquiry or transdisciplinary research scenario that runs parallel to the main theme running through the year. 

The residency involves a Lead Resident and a Resident Group of 3-4 people. The Lead Resident works with The Substation team to develop the blueprint and thematic focus of the residency. A Resident Group, consisting of 3-4 other professionals from both arts and non-arts backgrounds, is then formed via an Open Call and nomination process. Each member of the Resident Group should have an individual project that they wish to pursue or develop during their time in residence.

The Residents will share the use of the residency studio, as well as come together regularly for creative exchange.

To learn more about the Lead Resident and Resident Group for 2018, see here.




Developed with Chua Ai Lin, Lead Resident
Closing date: 10 November 2017

The Substation is seeking to assemble a group of approximately 3-4 creative people working on individual projects, who also wish to participate actively in discussion and creative exchange.

The residency group should comprise of individuals with unique perspectives on space/ the environment/ the landscape, with an interest in:

  • Vernacular landscapes, including traditional knowledge of nature and the environment
  • Psychogeography
  • Selfhood and identity
  • Plurality of historical consciousness

Other than this Open Call, candidates may also be selected through specific nominations sought from the fields of : Geography, Sociology, Environmental Studies, Architecture, Urban Space, Anthropology.


About the residency theme

The Singapore landscape is constantly being reshaped by successive waves of development. However, the traces of what existed before often remain, perhaps in the form of unexplained empty grass patches, steps that lead nowhere, edible plants or cash crops subsumed into the forest, or as place names -- official or even less tangibly as unofficial vernacular names. The current landscape also includes many informal footpaths that have developed and are used in parallel to the explicit design of the built environment. Where do they lead? Who uses them and for what purpose? How do the Past and the Present intersect in the form of these unseen paths?

This residency will take the form of a series of on-site experiments or explorations in specific locations, with all participants contributing and gaining from each other. Over the course of the residency, Chua and the residency group will examine different ways of mapping and re/presenting not only the visible and the historical, but also sensory, imaginative, emotional and spiritual landscapes. Explorations can approach the city and history on different scales of distance and time, and from different perspectives.

This residency is multidisciplinary: applications are welcomed from anyone with relevant experience and interests. Practitioners of differing ages and experience levels are welcome to apply, but should have a demonstrated level of competency (inc. non-formal experience) in a relevant field. Each member of the group is welcome to lead an action/inquiry that offers insight into their background, interests or methodologies.



Period of commitment: January 2018—May 2018

The Group will be expected to come together at least once a week for the duration of the residency for focused peer-to-peer research. At the start of the residency, participants will be invited to make a presentation, informally introducing themselves and their practice to the rest of the group.

Other key milestones include:

  • 3 walking explorations -- each at a different site, to be decided by the Resident Group
  • 3 public seminars -- sharing the personal reflections of Residents following each walk and to discuss how the different perspectives speak to each other
  • 1 public talk/sharing -- presenting closing reflections of the Residency

Applicants who are unable to commit to the full six months are still welcome to apply. Each application will be judged on a case-by-case basis.



November 10, 2017
Open Call closes

November 20–24, 2017
Interviews with shortlisted applicants

December 5, 2017
Residency Group announced

January 2, 2018
Residency commences



All residents are given a modest stipend. Participants will be given a small budget to work with to cover research/material costs. Participants will work together to determine the allocation of this budget amongst their projects, with the advice of the lead resident.



Some texts that have inspired this residency:
Alexandra Horowitz, On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes (2013)
Janet Pillai, Cultural mapping:  a guide to understanding place, community and continuity (2013)
Keri Smith, How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum (2008)
Lynda Barry, What It Is (2008)
--- Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor (2014)
Atelier Hoko, HABIT©AT (2014)
Rodolphe De Koninck, Singapore's Permanent Territorial Revolution: Fifty Years in Fifty Maps (2017)
Victor Savage and Brenda Yeoh, Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics (2013)
Dept of Chinese Studies, NUS, Singapore Historical GIS,
Singapore Land Authority, Historical Maps 1954-2009,
--- One Historical Map,


About the Lead Resident

WhatsApp Image 2017-10-09 at 1.17.51 PM.jpeg

Chua Ai Lin is the Vice President of the Singapore Heritage Society, having served as its president (2013-2017), and a member of the Society since 1996. She holds a PhD in History from the University of Cambridge (UK) and was previously an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the National University of Singapore, specialising in Singapore social and cultural history. Currently, she serves as a member of the National Library Advisory Committee, and in the past has been on the advisory board of the National Heritage Board and on the former UNESCO Singapore Sub-Commission on Culture and Information. In 2012, she was the first Singapore representative on the Cultural Heritage Preservation project of the International Visitor Leadership Programme organised by the United States of America’s State Department. She has published in Modern Asian Studies, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies and BiblioAsia among other journals, and is active in bringing heritage news and information to a wider public through running online platforms such as Singapore Heritage Yahoogroup (since 2000), and more recently, Facebook groups such as Heritage Languages of Singapore.





How to apply

Email the following to:

1. An application form (Downloadable here)
2. CV
3. Example of work*

* The work that is submitted should be representative of the applicant's interests. It can take the form of an essay, a piece of artwork (any medium), a blog, description & photos of a project etc.

Shortlisting of participants

Shortlisted participants will be asked for an interview at The Substation in the week of 20—24 November 2017.

We will be selecting participants based on their ability to commit to this project as well as the nature of their interest in being a part of a community of inquiry. We are keen on having a diverse mix of participants and this will also inform the selection process.


For any clarifications or enquiries, please contact