Conference & Symposium


Conference & Symposium


Thursday, 13 July - Friday, 14 July 2023 · 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM

The conference Climate Crisis and Cultural Loss marks the midway point of the titular three-year research project led by curator and educator Prof Ute Meta Bauer. Combining scientific findings with cultural and artistic practices, the project is a transdisciplinary effort to move beyond the perception of the science of climate change as the only place from which to address the planet’s most pressing problem, attempting to dig deeper and surface longer-term, more imperceptible, and difficult-to-quantify perspectives of cultural loss.


Thursday, 13 July 2023
6.00 – 8.30pm
The Arts House, Screening Room
1 Old Parliament Lane, Singapore 179429

Friday, 14 July 2023
9.30am – 4.30pm
NTU School of Art, Design, and Media
81 Nanyang Dr, Singapore 637458

The conference Climate Crisis and Cultural Loss marks the midway point of the titular three-year research project led by Principal Investigator Professor Ute Meta Bauer (Founding Director, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore and Professor, School of Art, Design, and Media, Nanyang Technological University) and Co-Principal Investigator Associate Professor Yun Sang-Ho (joint appointment at Asian School of the Environment and School of Electric and Electronic Engineering, and Director, Remote Sensing Lab, Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University). Combining scientific with cultural and artistic inquiries, and forms of knowledge, the project is a transdisciplinary effort to move beyond the formats of climate science research. The aim is to engage difficult-to-quantify perspectives of cultural loss. How has the slow erosion of diverse, multicultural, and more-than-human ways of living over time have been impacted by climate change, and what are the longer-term consequences on habitats? Can we begin again with culture, to induce a necessary paradigm shift in the way we think about and respond to the climate crisis? The common task at hand is to understand this intrinsically and deeply interwoven relationship between climate and culture.

Starting with the acknowledgement of ancestral connections between the environment and its peoples, the conference opens with two public keynotes by the esteemed anthropologist Prof Cynthia Chou and erudite writer, curator, and policy analyst Marian Pastor Roces. On the second day, artists and filmmakers, community and cultural workers, environmental historians, radar scientists, and legal experts, come together in a full-day programme at NTU School of Art, Design, and Media, of presentations, panels, screenings, and conversations across themes of archipelagic autonomy, the socio-politics of extreme weather, environmental memory and cultural traces, in recognition of the climate crisis as a total field of research.


Cynthia Chou (Singapore/United States) is Director of the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, C. Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley Family Chair of Asian Studies and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Iowa, United States. She is a cultural anthropologist whose primary research has centered on a longitudinal ethnographic study on sea nomadism, and in particular, on the Orang Suku Laut (tribal people of sea people) in Indonesia. Three main themes that have oriented her research thus far are: representations of what it means to be “indigenous”; space, place and identity; and human-environment interaction. Her publications include The Orang Suku Laut of Riau, Indonesia: The Inalienable Gift of Territory (2010) and Indonesian Sea Nomads: Money, Magic and Fear of the Orang Suku Laut of Riau (2003). She received her bachelor’s and M.Soc.Sc. degrees from the National University of Singapore and PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. In 2011, she was awarded the degree of dr.phil. by the University of Copenhagen, Denmark in recognition of her contributions to the study of the Orang Suku Laut. Chou presented a case study as part of The Current Convening #3 – Tabu/Tapu Who owns the Ocean? (2018) at NTU CCA Singapore.

Marian Pastor Roces (Philippines) is an independent curator, cultural critic, and policy analyst working out of her base in Manila, Philippines. She founded and leads TAOINC, a corporation that curates the establishment of museums and develops exhibitions, parks, and publications. TAOINC recently accomplished the creation of the online museum 21AM for the Cultural Center of the Philippines, for which Roces supervised the creation of a new Accession Record System with a decolonizing trajectory. Her current project is a museum to cross cultural understanding in an island province that recently moved past a 50-year sectarian war. Published internationally, Roces’ critical writing has addressed, notably, the biennale form (in Over Here, MIT Press 2007, and The Biennale Reader, Bergen Kunsthall and Hatje Cantz 2010); museology (in House of Glass, ISEAS Singapore 2001); dispersed cultural material (in What to Let Go?, Para Site – in press 2023); and art and activism (in Monumental Shadows, Jameel Arts Center Dubai, 2023). Gathering: Political Writing on Art and Culture, an anthology of 45 years of writing, was published in 2019 by the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (Manila) and Art Asia Pacific (Hong Kong).  She is co-editor of the website, Mapping Philippine Material Culture OverseasSOAS, University of London, which negotiates with museums globally for online open access as a form of digital repatriation. Her interest in social justice issues in relation to artmaking during the climate crisis is informed by work with human rights advocates and the peace process. Recently, she authored the essay “Fû Yabing Masalon Dulo, Ikat Dyer, and the Theoretical Weight of Endurance” published in Climates. Habitats. Environments. (The MIT Press, 2022) edited by Prof Ute Meta Bauer, and is keynote speaker at the conference series Climate Futures organised by NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore and Konnect ASEAN.


Prof Nabil Ahmed (Bangladesh/Norway), Prof Ute Meta Bauer (Germany/Singapore), Dr Guigone Camus (France), Dr Kristy H.A. Kang (United States), Dr Hervé Raimana Lallemant-Moe (French Polynesia), Armin Linke (Germany/Italy), Viviane Obed (Vanuatu), Lisa Rave (United Kingdom/Germany), Firdaus Sani (Singapore), Dr Fiona Williamson (United Kingdom/Singapore), Dr Yun Sang-Ho (United States/Singapore)


Click here for registration to attend public keynotes on Thursday, 13 July 2023. The conference programme on Friday, 14 July 2023, is closed-door/by invitation only. The full programme schedule can be accessed here.

Please contact us at for further enquiries.


This event is supported by the Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 2 project “Climate Crisis and Cultural Loss” (2021–2024), led by Principal Investigator Prof Ute Meta Bauer and Co-Principal Investigator Dr Yun Sang-Ho.

Image: Hands of a ritualist of the Maguindanao community that was among the Muslim Philippine peoples who waged a war of secession for 50 years. Courtesy Marian Pastor Roces.