PAD Art Writing Programme

PAD Art Writing Programme

A large majority of articles produced for visual arts in Malaysia, especially the ones that cover art exhibitions, are written in a reporting style. Artists, as well as the broader public, would benefit from well-written critical feedback with good research and context offering new ways to view, appreciate and understand art. It is also important to document stories about the movements and interactions within the art community to contextualize the ever-changing dynamics in the arts environment.

The vision of this programme is to encourage more diverse and critical writing on art in the local context. The goal is to provide a platform for writers to expand their thinking and hone their critical writing skills with a focus on visual art. This programme will benefit young writers who are interested in learning to write critically about art and in expanding their writing career, researchers, art history or art management students, and curators or cultural programmers who are eager to learn story-telling skills for their projects.

Long-term goals of the art writing programme:

  • Cultivate a greater number of art writers and encourage the establishment of new platforms for publishing
  • Elevate the profiles of local artists and arts organizations
  • Enrich the quality and depth of arts discourse in the arts community

The programme will kick-off with A Short Introductory Course designed by RogueArt. The short course will consist of three (3) sessions over three weekends. Participants are required to attend all three sessions to benefit from the course. These sessions are tailored to offer hands-on and practical guidance with a feedback and critique component at the end of the course. Participants will have the opportunity to learn from art professionals such as journalists, curators, art researchers and academicians. This course is geared for English medium writing, and is open to participants from various backgrounds and experience, although some background in art would be beneficial. 

Course Details

All sessions will be held in Penang, Malaysia.

Session I (2 November 2019)

  • Why Do We Write About Art?
    A kick-off session to explore participants’ interests in art writing and motivations, and some basic considerations in art writing. Facilitated by Beverly Yong of RogueArt.

Session II (16 & 17 November 2019)

  • Art Writing as a Profession
    Hear from a panel of professionals about their processes and experiences writing on art in the fields of art history, journalism, criticism and curating.
  • How to Analyse Art?
    A practical afternoon session with Laura Fan on building vocabulary and methodologies to read art.
  • Exploring Art in Penang
    Field visits to exhibitions around George Town with panelists; creating opportunities for informal practical criticism, advice and discussion. Includes practical session on photo documentation of artworks and exhibitions. Participants will be given writing assignments related to the exhibitions and field visit.

Session III (7 December 2019)

  • Crit Session
    Feedback and critique of participants’ writing assignments in a group discussion.
Course Fee

Subsidised rate of RM350 (inclusive of refreshments, lunch during full day programmes and logistics)

**College/University/IPT students will be considered for additional subsidy. Please email your CV and an introductory email [Title: PAD Art Writing Programme] to info@penangartdistrict.com.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: 31 OCTOBER 2019

Profiles of Facilitators and Panelists

Beverly Yong is a writer, curator and editor specialising in Southeast Asian art, and co-founder of RogueArt, having spent 12 years as a gallerist. She has edited numerous art publications, including Between Generations: 50 Years of Modern Art in Malaysia (with Hasnul J. Saidon, 2008), Wong Hoy Cheong: Shifts (with June Yap, 2008), Yee I-Lann: Fluid World (with Adeline Ooi, 2010), Today and Tomorrow: Emerging Practices in Malaysian Art (with Rachel Ng and Adeline Ooi, 2013) and Condition Report: Shifting Perspectives in Asia (with Furuichi Yasuko, 2018). She is also co-editor-in-chief of the four-volume Narratives in Malaysian Art project (2012-2019). She wrote a regular art column for the Business Times and New Sunday Times from 2000 to 2003, and currently writes for Art Asia Pacific. She read English and Art History at Cambridge University (BA), and Asian Art and Archaeology at SOAS (MA).

Rachel Ng is a co-founder and director of RogueArt. An arts management graduate from Universiti Sarawak Malaysia, Rachel has worked for almost twenty years in the field of visual arts with a particular focus on exhibition, collection and publication management, as well as visual arts infrastructure and arts management development. She is also a lecturer at Dasein Academy of Art, where she has helped to formulate and implement a syllabus for professional practices for artists..

Laura Fan is an art historian based in Kuala Lumpur. Since 1996, she has been writing about art for local and international publications, including serving as art columnist for Options in The Edge newspaper from 1997-2008. She has curated several major exhibitions of Malaysian and Southeast Asian artists in institutions in Malaysia and Singapore, including Holding Up Half the Sky: Art by Women Artists in the National Art Gallery’s Collection (2006) and Through Our Eyes (Galeri Petronas 2000) as well as the Art for Nature exhibitions on behalf of the World Wildlife Fund from 2001-2008 . She holds an BA from Wellesley College, MA from University College London History of Art, and a PhD from University of New South Wales, Australia, all in the history of art. She taught art history at CENFAD (Centre for Art and Design) from 1997-2005.

Sarena Abdullah is an Art Historian and Senior Lecturer at the School of the Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia. She obtained her MA (Art History) from SUNY Buffalo, N.Y. (2004) and her Ph.D from the University of Sydney, Australia (2010).  Her research interests are on contemporary Malaysian and Southeast Asian art. She is author of Malaysian Art Since the 1990s: Postmodern Situation (2018).

Jason Tan is a freelance editor and writer. He was editor-in-chief of Esquire Malaysia, and founding editor of Off The Edge magazine and The B-Side interactive tablet magazine, two publications which created critical space for arts coverage and commentary alongside their social, political, business and fashion pages. He was also previously editor of Vox, the Sunday magazine of The Sun, and Options2, the culture supplement of The Edge

More facilitators and panelists to be announced soon. [Last updated: 10 October 2019]