IN-depth module

fluid imprints, John Marie Mabale Andrada, LASALLE

Ignite your creativity amid spirited student life, feel the support of our dedicated, distinguished faculty and learn from renowned international artists – all in the throbbing heartbeat of Singapore’s historic arts and civic district.

In the ever-evolving landscape of higher education, the pursuit of interdisciplinary understanding and innovative pedagogical approaches stands as a cornerstone for preparing students to navigate the complexities of the contemporary world. At UAS, we take pride in offering a module that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries, encouraging students to explore social issues through the nuanced perspectives of artists and artworks. The IN-depth module, a pioneering initiative within the UAS Common Curriculum, epitomizes this commitment to interdisciplinary exploration and creative engagement.

Students embark on a transformative journey that merges the realms of art, social inquiry, and experiential learning. Rooted in the ethos that artists are not only creators, but also commentators, experimenters, placemakers, and futurists, our IN-depth harnesses the power of artistic expression to dissect, analyse, and reimagine the multifaceted challenges of the contemporary world. Through the lens of artworks curated from diverse cultural landscapes spanning Singapore, Southeast Asia, and beyond, students will learn to interrogate conflicting values and formulate perspectives. Through deep inquiry, clarification, analysis, together with imagination, experimentation, improvisation, and synthesis, students apply concepts and principles that are fundamental to their self-discovery, enhancing ways of knowing, thinking and discerning; ways of seeing, listening, and feeling; and ways of communicating, storytelling, and performing. At the heart of IN-depth lies a symbiotic relationship between deep reading skills, interpretive skills, and narrative skills. This allows students to forge pathways towards a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable future, and emerge as catalysts for social change and transformation. In essence, IN-depth seeks to cultivate a new generation of empathetic, intellectually curious, and socially conscious artists and designers.


The above diagram provides an illustrative (rather than an exhaustive) scan of contemporary issues grouped under four broad thematics: (i) innovation, technology, and humanity; (ii) people, economy, and planet; (iii) solidarity, equality and peace; and (iv) livelihood, health and education. These issues raise many questions, but an overarching question can be framed as follows: What does it mean to be human in the contemporary world? The question, therefore, is not purely philosophical; it is set against the context of dilemmas faced by people who seek to improve the human condition amid challenging social, economic, and political, and environmental conditions. The IN-depth module encourages students to grapple with specific dilemmas, working through the process of understanding and analysing the difficult choices to be made. These choices may engender undesirable outcomes and unintended consequences, and students would have to consider the human and moral costs in addressing the dilemmas. This involves formulating questions, evaluating sources of information, arriving at informed opinions and provisional arguments, rather than quickly taking sides, and short-circuiting in-depth discussion.

The IN-depth module encourages students to combine critical thinking (inquiry, clarification, analysis, and evaluation) and creative practice (imagination, experiment, improvisation, and synthesis). By the completion of the IN-depth module, students will be enabled to:

  1. Understand and evaluate key challenges of the contemporary world (social-economic-political-environmental) in developing themselves as reflective practitioners.

  2. Develop “life skills” and capabilities to support a vocation of continuous learning.

  3. Synthesise critical reflection and creative practice, involving a range of human senses:
    • Demonstrating ways of knowing, thinking, and discerning (deep ‘reading’ skills)
    • Evaluating ways of seeing, listening, feeling (interpretive skills)
    • Practise ways of communicating, storytelling, performing (narrative skills)

Students need to attend 4 Workshops. Each of the Workshops is segmented into 3 days x 3-hour sessions (i.e. 9 hours), conducted intensively over one week before the semester begins. Structured as a series of 4 nine-hour workshops (culminating in a 36-hour learning experience in the total package), IN-depth workshops are carefully scaffolded to deepen students’ learning experiences. For example, in one workshop, the first 3 hours will be dedicated to “experiencing dilemmas”. In the second part of the workshop, students will “develop perspectives”. In the final 3 hours of the workshop, students will then “present responses”.


All these workshops provide students with the opportunities to grapple with real-world dilemmas and understand the complexities of social issues and collaborate with peers from across arts and design disciplines (e.g. a Year 1 student from dance may be in the same workshop with a Year 3 student from design, and/or LASALLE students will be working with NAFA students). Together, students will work on anchor activities that would support each other’s artistic and personal growth by providing productive feedback and welcoming diverse viewpoints; and engage in different ways of thinking and different ways of knowing.

“UAS students should cultivate a willingness and nimbleness to engage with the evolving world over a lifetime, making sense of past conditions, responding to present-day complexities and imagining plausible futures. In grappling with the challenges of our time, our graduates will be equipped with capacities for critical judgement and responsible action”.

~ Prof Kwok Kian Woon, UAS Vice-Chancellor