3P Community Development Arts Programme is a strategic 3-year tiered programme designed by 3Pumpkins' creative director Lin Shiyun since she started community arts practice in 2016. The programme combines place-making, creative facilitation and co-creation to achieve three main objectives:
1) To identify social gaps, reaching out to inspire vulnerable communities, especially children and youth. 2) To bridge intra and inter-connection among residents, social service agencies, and stakeholders in a neighbourhood of diverse communities to forge sense of community belonging.
3) To forge understanding and partnerships with community partners to work with artists in community engagement and development programmes.
The programme is made up of three components: Let’s Go PLay OutSide!, Seeing the Obvious and Tak Takut (Don’t be Afraid) Kids Club. 3Pumpkins was invited by South Central Family Service Centre in 2018 to create partnerships in community engagement and development, and we have been conducting activities in Boon Lay Drive engaging over 40 children regularly since early 2018. We have also recently established contacts with Social Service Office (Taman Jurong and Boon Lay) to collaborate, further integrating the arts into social service. Shiyun received a 2-year research grant (2019-2022) from the National Arts Council to develop a toolkit for community engagement and development through the arts.
“When you first knocked on my door, I thought you are a social worker coming to talk about my family problems again. I was so surprised when you said let’s go play outside!” Seann, 9.
Let’s Go PLay OutSide! (LGPO!) enters a neighbourhood by activating the public playground as a broad-based inclusive platform to connect diverse communities, targeting specifically at estates with rental flats where there are more vulnerable and under-reached communities. By leveraging on the playground as a natural social locus and establishing a regular community routine through arts and play, the work not only strengthens community resilience but also plays the role of discovering issues pertinent to the communities; especially gaps that children at the margins fall through. Through our programme in Boon Lay, we discover a large number of children who are left on their own to play outdoors where they face issues of discrimination and bullying. We have also discovered children from transnational families who may require additional support for social and personal development in affirming identity of the self and sense of belonging to the community. LGPO! subscribes to the methodology of reflective practice with programmes that are relevant to specific context, working closely with our community partners to ensure sustainability in our engagement. LGPO! has reached out to over 600 children, families and volunteers in Toa Payoh, Boon Lay, and Lengkok Bahru.
"My mother told me not to tell people we are from Myanmar, she thinks it will hurt our family."Shelly Aung, 10
Tak Takut Kids Club begins on the second year of engagement, after building connections and discovering the personal and social issues through LGPO!. It is a permanent children community arts space situated in the neighbourhood where children are especially willing to congregate and form positive social connections at their own time due to arts being an inclusive platform. The space is open every weekday from 4-8pm and especially during school holidays, when children lack the most engagement.
A two-year high-facilitation programme (32 workshops per year) focuses on the theme of This is Me! in the first year to cultivate the ability to understand, regulate and express thoughts and emotions as a keystone to higher social adaptability and acceptance. The second year of engagement surrounds the theme This is Us! with a focus on cultivating a sense of community belonging. In each year, facilitators co-create two issues of DIY zine related to the activities. We aim to involve 30 children in deep engagement work per neighbourhood and work closely with local social service agencies and schools with the objective of transmitting agency to local stakeholders to ensure sustainability of the work after the artist exits from the community. Tak Takut Kids Club in Boon Lay is an independent space run by 3Pumpkins currently as there is no community space for children in this area. We hope to collaborate with Social Service Office (Taman Jurong and Boon Lay) to share our practices and eventually engage the children in community link spaces when the spaces are ready.
“My child Naureen used to be so shy, but (after Let’s Go Play Outside!) she has friends in the neighbourhood now and she is much more confident. I feel better too because I can come out and do interesting things. It can get really depressing at home alone with all the problems.” Nazirah, 40
Seeing the Obvious is a place-making project that takes place every year in our community development programme, with the focus on connecting and facilitating collaborations among adults and stakeholders so that they are actively involved in creating inspiring environments for the children. It involves co-creation with the community to look at our living environment from different angles and to think deeply about the design and activation of public space as humanised places to connect people.
We seek stakeholders’ and the community’s feedback, involve them in the execution, with the eventual objective of getting the residents to propose and execute their own creative projects in the 3rd year of engagement. The objective is to facilitate platforms where communities create, celebrate and affirm shared experiences.
First initiated as a joint project with Nanyang Polytechnic School of Design, the work has received Cities of Love award (2018) for social sustainability. In Boon Lay Drive, we hope to co-create a work with the children and communities that transforms a common corridor into an art gallery.