Speech by Ms Gan Siow Huang, Minister of State, Ministry of Education, at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Art, Design and Media (ADM) Graduation Show

Published Date: 08 May 2021 08:00 PM

News Speeches

Professor Joseph Liow, Dean of the NTU College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Professor Michael Walsh, Chair of NTU Art, Design And Media (ADM)

Graduating students

Ladies and gentlemen.

1. Good evening, and congratulations to all 167 graduating students from the 13th NTU Design Art and Media Art cohort today. A big ‘Thank You’ to NTU ADM for inviting me to join you for your graduation showcase — your defining moment.

2. Tonight is especially momentous as we also celebrate the achievements of NTU ADM’s first batch of graduates under the revised Bachelor of Fine Arts curriculum, launched in 2017. That was four years ago. Indeed, four years has been a long journey, and I think we are now bearing the fruits of the improvements in the curriculum.

3. Tonight’s hybrid celebration brings to mind how last year, the Class of 2020 NTU ADM graduates banded together, and in their own creative way, celebrated their artwork. And they did that in the midst of the circuit breaker. I was told that from the Class of 2020, Mr Jake Tan, weathered the economic fallout of the pandemic and started his own augmented reality installations company. Well done to our students of ADM for seizing opportunities in the midst of the crisis.

4. I understand that some of you may be disappointed that the ADM family cannot come out tonight in full force to celebrate the showcase. Nevertheless, like your seniors before you, I am confident that you will take things in your stride. And of course, with the aid of technology, I am glad that the school has found a way for all of us to celebrate the culmination of your four-year artistic and academic journey.

5. ADM has come a long way since 2005, when it welcomed its pioneer batch of about 90 students as Singapore’s first professional art school. Today, the School is home to nearly 700 students and over 100 faculty and staff. It has established itself as one of Singapore’s foremost creative centres of tertiary education.

6. Students, as you embark on the next phase of life, I am certain that ADM has equipped you with relevant skills and character for your next move. The revised BFA curriculum, that I mentioned earlier on, is now more interdisciplinary, breaking down the silos of knowledge, production and creation, and bridges the gaps between the academy and the workplace.

7. There is also greater flexibility for you to chart your own path. ADM students can now sample a wider range of programmes across the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, as well as acquire deeper expertise in pathways such as photography, product design and animation.

8. Through ADM’s opportunities for industry collaborations and learning, such as internships, you would have also accumulated first-hand experience and sharpened your acumen as a creative professional.

9. Above all, as a graduating student of ADM, take pride in some of your strongest hallmarks, which are your versatility and creative sensibilities.

Support for graduates

10. Even as the world deals with and eventually emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, creativity and innovation will continue to be in demand. COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of technology across many sectors, and industries will keep seeking innovative solutions to some of their toughest problems. So tap on your strengths as an ADM student as you proactively create your own professional opportunities.

11. The Government and your alma mater will continue to support you amidst this economic uncertainty. I am glad that ADM is taking steps to nurture an enterprise ecosystem amongst its students, with the opening of Garage@ADM. I understand that it just opened this year, and is an incubation space which facilitates entrepreneurship for the graduating cohort.

12. There are also alumni credits for you to enroll in up to 4 free Continuing Education and Training (CET) modules to broaden or deepen your skills. Make use of these opportunities and resources, to continue to upgrade and upskill yourself.


13. As you look forward to making your mark in the world, I hope that you will seek opportunities to give back and contribute to the community. It is telling how, in these trying times, humanity continues to turn to the works of creatives, be it through videos, visuals, sounds and words – to capture the zeitgeist, for catharsis, or simply just to keep our spirits up.

14. In this vein, I am sure all of you will find, in your own way, to make a difference for good. I was heartened to learn that tonight’s valedictorian, Pei Wen, has been an example of the spirit of giving. Juggling her creative endeavours and academic pursuits, Pei Wen was also actively volunteering to assist children and the elderly with physical, occupational and speech therapy at the Riding for the Disabled Association. Well done, Pei Wen!

15. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the ADM faculty – they have been instrumental in guiding you and sharing their knowledge with you, over the past four years. Thank you for nurturing our next generation of young creatives.

16. Finally, I would like to say that Singapore’s creative economy is a vital part of creating our national identity and part of our national plans. I hope that you, the graduating class of 2021, will find meaningful ways and paths to contribute to this ecosystem. I wish each and every one of you success in your future endeavours. Continue to shine bright and bring light to the world. All the best!

17. Thank you.

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