The Renaissance City Report, also known as the Renaissance City Plan (RCP), was accepted by the government and unveiled in parliament by then Minister for Information and the Arts Lee Yock Suan on 9 March 2000.
The RCP provided a vision and plan for the promotion of arts and culture in Singapore with two objectives: first, to establish Singapore as a global arts city conducive to creative, knowledge-based industries and talent; and second, to strengthen national identity and belonging among Singaporeans by nurturing an appreciation of shared heritage.
The report also reviewed the progress made in the local arts and cultural scene since the last comprehensive study undertaken in 1989 by the Advisory Council on Culture and the Arts. Among the key recommendations of the advisory council were the formation of organisations such as the National Arts Council, National Heritage Board and the National Library Board, as well as the establishment of arts and cultural institutions like the Singapore Art Museum, Asian Civilisations Museum and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. Noting that the “hardware” for arts and culture was already in place, the RCP identified the “software” aspect as the next phase of growth for the arts in Singapore.
The report also benchmarked Singapore against other cities renowned for their thriving arts and cultural scene, namely, New York, United States; London, England; Hong Kong SAR, China; Melbourne, Australia; and Glasgow; Scotland. Indicators such as state funding for the arts, and the number of professional arts companies, arts facilities, activities, as well as audience figures, were compared to determine Singapore’s progress in terms of cultural development. The findings reinforced the need to have support for artists, art production and art appreciation – the “software” – on par with government investment in cultural infrastructure.
Six strategies were proposed to realise the vision of Singapore as a world-class city of arts and culture in the 21st century: (i) develop a strong arts and cultural base; (ii) develop flagship and major arts companies; (iii) recognise and groom talent; (iv) provide good infrastructure and facilities; (v) go international; and (vi) develop an arts and cultural “renaissance” economy.
In summary, the strategies include building an audience base through arts education, raising the standard and profile of local arts talents and companies, as well as enhancing the vibrancy of the Singapore arts scene with more events and activities to attract both locals and foreigners. The report was accepted in parliament, and the allocation of S$50 million over a five-year period, on top of the normal funding for the arts, was approved for the proposed programmes and schemes to transform Singapore into a “Renaissance City”.
1. Singapore. Parliament. Parliamentary Debates: Official Report. (2000, March 9), Budget FY 2000 – Committee of Supply – Ministry of Information and the Arts (Vol. 71, cols. 1635–1639). Singapore: Govt. Printer. Call no.: RSING 328.5957 SIN.
2. Ministry of Information and the Arts. (2000). Renaissance city report: Culture and the arts in Renaissance Singapore (p. 4). Singapore: The Ministry. Call no.: RSING q700.95957 REN.
3. Ministry of Information and the Arts, 2000, p. 12.
4. Ministry of Information and the Arts, 2000, p. 13.
5. Ministry of Information and the Arts, 2000, p. 13.
6. Ministry of Information and the Arts, 2000, p. 24.
7. Ministry of Information and the Arts, 2000, pp. 25–26.
8. Ministry of Information and the Arts, 2000, p. 27.
9. Ministry of Information and the Arts, 2000, p. 52.
10. Ministry of Information and the Arts, 2000, pp. 5–8.
11. Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 9 Mar 2000, Budget FY 2000 - Committee of Supply – Ministry of Information and the Arts, Vol. 71, col. 1638.
The information in this article is valid as at 2015 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.