Objectifs Centre Ltd is a non-profit visual arts space in Singapore that is dedicated to film and photography. Established in 2003, it is widely regarded as an establishment that champions local films and photography in Singapore and overseas, and nurtures photographers, filmmakers and lens-based artists. Objectifs Centre Ltd aims to “cultivate original voices in visual storytelling, and to inspire and broaden perspectives through the power of images”.1 It has played a significant role in developing contemporary photography, video art and film in Singapore.2
Developing a vision
Objectifs Centre Ltd, also referred to as Objectifs or Objectifs – Centre for Photography and Film, was founded by two Raffles Junior College alumni, Dawn Teo and Emmeline Yong. Both were business majors at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and had taken filmmaking and photography classes on the side. Inspired by these classes, and being avid film buffs, they left their jobs in the banking industry to establish a school for filmmaking and photography.3
After conducting survey research to gauge the level of interest and a study of the visual arts landscape, Teo and Yong opened Objectifs in 2003 in a restored 1,600 sq ft shophouse at 12A Liang Seah Street.4 As their programmes and artistic vision grew, Objectifs shifted to a 3,600 sq ft space at 56A Arab Street in 2009, before moving to its current 8,000 sq ft premises at 155 Middle Road in 2015.5 The current premises previously housed another art space called Sculpture Square.6
Objectifs began as a space for professional and emerging photographers and filmmakers to hone their skills and create support networks. It also worked to expose students, hobbyists and emerging professionals to the art form via short courses and residency programmes.7 At that point, there were few educational offerings for those seeking to pursue filmmaking. Among them were programmes run by private educational initiative Media Hive (later known as Digital Media Academy) and Ngee Ann Polytechnic, which offered the Film, Sound and Video (FSV) diploma course that combined theory and practice.8
Objectifs continues to conduct workshops and screenings to advance the practice and appreciation of the art form, and has focused on creating meaningful dialogues on local and international issues through their programmes and curatorial work.9
Engagement and programmes
Objectifs’ film outreach programme has been noted as being an important part of film education in Singapore, with thousands of students having participated and benefited from the Travelling Short Film Project since its inception in 2004. Spearheaded by Objectif’s then manager and independent film curator Wahyuni Hadi, the school programme aimed to nurture an interest and appreciation of film.10
The photography mentorship programme, Shooting Home, is one of Objectifs’ longest running programmes. It was developed as an anchor programme, which included lectures across photographic genres and one-on-one consultations with professional photographers. The programme culminated in an annual public showcase of a photography project.11 It celebrated its 10th year of the mentorship programme in 2012 with an exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore, featuring works from programme participants over the decade.12 In 2018, the programme was revamped as the annual Objectifs Documentary Award, which provides two Southeast Asian photographers with financial and professional support over six months. There is also a Shooting Home Youth Awards junior programme for youths aged 15 to 23.13
Some other programmes include Stories That Matter, a documentary programme that looks at critical issues and trends in non-fiction visual storytelling, and Women in Film and Photography Showcase, which focuses on the contributions that women make to the arts.14 Objectifs also runs residency programmes to provide space and resources to support Singapore and Southeast Asian photographers, filmmakers, creatives and artists working with lens-based art.15 Past local recipients of the residency programmes include photographer Grace Baey (2018) as well as filmmakers Tang Keng Sheng (2017) and Gladys Ng (2016).16 A film distribution arm, Objectifs Films, was launched in 2006 in partnership with Objectifs, Infinite Frameworks and Shooting Gallery Asia. It is the largest short film distributor in Southeast Asia.17
Its recent initiative, the Objectifs Film Library, aims to be an educational and research resource for film enthusiasts, while cultivating an appreciation for films from the region. Some of these films are available for rent online, while a wider catalogue is available for viewing at their premises. The film library features more than 40 short films from Southeast Asia. Some of the filmmakers featured include Singapore directors Boo Jun Feng and Kirsten Tan, and Thailand’s Pimpaka Towira.18
2003: Objectifs first opens its doors at Liang Seah Street.
2006: Objectifs Film is launched.
2009: Objectifs moves to Arab Street.
2012: Milestone exhibition of 10th year of Shooting Home is held at National Museum of Singapore.
2014: Objectifs officially becomes a non-profit organisation.
2015: Objectifs moves to Middle Road.
2018: Marks 15th anniversary with the publication 15 Objectifs. Objectifs Documentary Award (reconfigured from Shooting Home) is introduced.
2020: Objectifs Film Library is launched.
1. “Overview,” Objectives Centre Ltd., accessed 20 May 2020; “About Us,” Objectives Centre Ltd., accessed 20 May 2020; Boon Chan, “Film-Makers Tell Own Movie Memories,” Straits Times, 16 March 2014, 3 (From NewspaperSG); “Objectifs: Production Company,” Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), accessed 19 May 2020.
2. Chan, Film-Makers Tell Own Movie Memories”; Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), “Objectifs: Production Company.”
3. Toh Wen Li, “Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film Celebrates 15 Years,” Straits Times, 6 August 2018; Wong Kim Hoh, “Dream School of Photo and Film,” New Paper, 26 January 2003, 18; Felix Cheong, “And Action!” Today, 27 June 2003, 72. (From NewspaperSG)
4. Cheong, “And Action!”; Toh, “Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film”; David Chew, “See the Colourful World of Lomo,” Today, 7 October 2004, 27. (From NewspaperSG)
5. Toh, “Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film”; “A New Home for Objectives,” Objectifs Centre Ltd., accessed 20 May 2020; “Today’s Top 5,” Today, 21 November 2009, 76. (From NewspaperSG)
6. Hong Xinying, “Sculpture Square,” Singapore Infopedia, published 2016.
7. Wong Kim Hoh, “What’s On at School,” New Paper, 26 January 2003, 18. (From NewspaperSG)
8. Cheong, “And Action!”;
9. Toh, “Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film”; Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), “Objectifs: Production Company.”
10. Jan Uhde and Yvonne Ng Uhde, Latent Images: Film in Singapore (Singapore: Ridge Books, 2010), 63. (Call no. RSING: 384.8095957 UHD)
11. Huang Lijie, “A Decade of Shooting at Home,” Straits Times, 16 October 2012, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
12. Huang, “Decade of Shooting at Home.”
13. Toh, “Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film”; “Shooting Home Youth Awards,” Objectifs Centre Ltd., accessed 20 May 2020.
14. Objectifs Centre Ltd. (n.d.) “Stories That Matter,” Objectifs Centre Ltd., accessed 18 May 2020; “Women in Film and Photograph,” Objectifs Centre Ltd., accessed 18 May 2020.
15. Objectives Centre Ltd., “Overview”; “Residency,” Objectives Centre Ltd., 18 May 2020.
16. “Artist-in-Residence 2018: Recap with Grace Baey,” Objectives Centre Ltd., 18 May 2020; “Filmmaker-In-Residence 2017,” Objectives Centre Ltd., 18 May 2020.
17. Uhde and Uhde, Latent Images, 64; Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), “Objectifs: Production Company”; “Objectifs Centre for Photography & Filmmaking,” Time Out, 12 January 2009.
18. Alfonse Chiu, “ShoutOUT! Objectifs Launches New Digital Platform for Southeast Asian Short Films,” Shinde, April 2020; “About Objectifs Film Library,” Objectives Centre Ltd., 20 May 2020.
Lui Hock Seng, Passing Time: A Photography Book (Singapore: Objectifs Centre Ltd., 2018). (Call no. RSING 778.9995957 LUI)
Objectifs Centre Ltd., 15 Objectifs (Singapore: Objectifs Centre Ltd., 2018). (From PublicationSG)
Wahyuni A. Hadi, ed., Behind the Camera: Personal Recollections of Contemporary Singapore Cinema (Singapore: Objectifs Pte Ltd., 2013). (Call no. RSING 791.43095957 BEH)
The information in this article is valid as at September 2020 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.