D. Summary of SEPG engagements with the community
Summary of Second Engagement Session on the Self-Employed Person Grant (1 Jun 2021)
Following the first engagement session in April on the SEP Grant, the Arts Resource Hub held a second engagement session on the Self-Employed Person Grant (SEPG) on 1 June (Tue). At the session, participants heard about how earlier feedback had shaped the current design of the grant, and gave further feedback and comments. ARH also heard from SEPs on possible themes and areas they would be keen to explore in the upcoming ideation sessions.
The engagement session involved 25 participants, including SEPs, SEP advocate groups, and representatives from arts organisations. Here were some key areas raised at the session:
1. Objectives of the SEP Grant: Participants acknowledged that the main objective of the SEP Grant was to create work opportunities for SEPs in the sector through projects. They highlighted that the criteria and scope of the SEPG would need to take a more inclusive approach to ensure that SEPs across different fields could benefit from it, including those in technical production. Some also pointed out that while organisations were eligible to apply for the SEPG, their projects should primarily aim to benefit SEPs and funds should primarily be channelled to SEPs.
2. Inclusive approach to range of SEPG projects: Similarly, to benefit as many SEPs as possible, participants felt that the range of supportable projects could be kept wider, and that a more open approach to the types of collaborations would encourage SEPs to explore new partnerships and ways of work.
3. Allowance to work with non-Singaporean SEPs: A few participants also suggested the grant allow a small percentage of non-Singaporean SEPs to be involved, as some have been contributing to the local industry without being eligible for other support. This could also open up opportunities for Singaporean SEPs to collaborate with international practitioners.
4. Ideation sessions, and support for newer SEPs: Participants felt that the ideation sessions could be kept open and inclusive for all sectors, to facilitate “matchmaking” required across different needs for varying projects. Newer SEPs to the scene also suggested assembling a core team to help facilitate discussions on ideas and allow organic mentorships, so that resources and ideas can be shared and refined before projects are submitted for application.
The Arts Resource Hub is reviewing participants’ feedback from the second engagement session. The SEP Grant will be launched on 15 June, and ARH will be organising an Ask NAC! Session on the SEP Grant in late June.
Along with the rollout of the SEP Grant, the Arts Resource Hub will be working with some members of the SEP community to organise ideation and networking sessions in July, as well as providing resources and support on grant proposal preparations. Keep a lookout for more information and details on the ARH website.
Summary of Engagement Session on the Self-Employed Person Grant (8 Apr 2021)
Earlier in March, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong announced that a new Self-Employed Person (SEP) Grant will be introduced for arts and culture SEPs to collaborate on projects.
This new project grant aims to address the immediate needs and sustain livelihoods of arts and culture freelancers by minimising job and income loss, creating more work opportunities, and enhancing the skills of freelancers.
The SEP Grant will be open for applications by Singaporeans and Permanent Residents across the arts and culture sector, as well as arts and culture organisations that collaborate with freelancers.
The Arts Resource Hub organised an engagement session for the Self-Employed Person Grant (SEPG) on 8 April, to co-create and scope key parts of the grant. It involved 25 participants including SEPs, SEP advocate groups, and representatives from arts organisations.
Key topics covered include:
• Prioritising arts SEPs: To ensure funds are prioritised for arts SEPs, SEPs’ status will need to be verified based on their track records and activity in the sector. However, to ensure that emerging or younger SEPs also have access to the grant, participants suggested that they could show proof of their academic or career references through their involvement in public arts programmes. On ensuring that SEPs do benefit from the grant, participants proposed to ringfence a certain amount of awarded funds for SEPs vis-à-vis technical/production costs, or to peg a minimum number of SEPs that should be involved against overall manpower headcount.
• Capability Development: Participants observed that as arts SEPs have differing needs based on their practice, there could be some leeway for them articulate their own capability development areas. Capability Development opportunities proposed include matching or attaching SEPs to other government agencies like IMDA to work alongside the creative and media industry, or to develop digital or tech skills through institutions or schools that have such ready resources.
• Collaborations: Participants expressed interest in looking for collaborators from disciplines beyond the arts and new platforms for innovation, including mooting the idea of hackathons , networking sessions and “speed dating” to find collaborators and develop new ideas, or using online platforms to interact and share ideas.
• SEP Grant as a way to support SEPs’ livelihoods in the longer term: Participants felt that aside from once-off productions and presentations, the SEPG could also support projects that help contribute to the sustainability of SEPs’ careers, including those that could be more process-driven, or explore creating new platforms or collaborative opportunities for SEPs to network, generate income and market/present their artistic works.
• Mentorships from the arts community: As part of capability development, participants also suggested that mentors or veteran SEPs could help guide grant applicants, especially those unfamiliar with the processes of grant applications, or work in the areas of production and digitalisation processes and equipment.
• Taking into account the gradual opening of the performing arts sector: Some participants felt that the proposed criteria to prioritise projects of a digital nature should be reassessed, given the gradual reopening of the sector.
ARH will be reviewing the comments shared by participants and will take them into consideration in the design process of the SEP Grant.
Taking onboard the feedback from the session, ARH will be organising networking opportunities in the form of hackathons to bring arts SEPs together and spark ideas and collaborations for potential SEP Grant projects. More information will be shared when available.