PhD Programme


Our PhD Students

Tan Peng Chai Adrian​
Tan Peng Chai Adrian             
Re-mapping the artists village in the city: Creating space(s) for artistic interventions in Singapore

The Artists Village (TAV) is re-read through a new methodological focus, where the artistic strategies of the artists collective are examined and relooked in new contexts. Through the research, a critical discourse opens up and encourages new narratives on Singapore art history through a study of collectivism and collaborative art.

Research Area(s)

·       Singapore and Southeast Asian contemporary art

·       Art Collectives in Southeast Asia

·       Participatory and collaborative art

Public Art and site-specific art
Prof Michael Walsh​

Sathikh Peer Mohideen
Sathikh Peer Mohideen.jpg
​Establishing a visual model of the 'relationship realm' of Creativity and Innovation
Assoc Prof Andrea Nanetti
Prof Arcot Desai Narasimhalu
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Vidakovic Lea
​Fragmented narratives in animated films and installations

This research is about exploring the possibilities and consequences of presenting animated films outside their usual venues and examining how the narrative adopts to these changes. I will study how breaking the linear narrative of animated films along with displacing these films from usual venues affects the animation spectatorship.

Research Area(s)
  • Animation
  • Non-linear narratives
  • Expanded animation
Assoc Prof Hans Martin Rall
Assoc Prof Daniel Jenigan
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Vincent De Paul Jegan
​Art on the Geopolitical

Contemporary geopolitical events are researched, analyzed and interpreted by multiple disciplines. They are studied in geography, economics, cultural theory, and certainly by international relations. But what about the role of art? Can art play a role in creating new understandings of today's geopolitical events? If so, how? My research as a PhD student at ADM and the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art seeks to answer this question by considering the history of art and politics, a contemporary geopolitical event, and transdisciplinary research methods. Art on the geopolitical is the topic of my dissertation. I will develop both a theory and an artwork to argue and demonstrate how contemporary geopolitical events can be represented aesthetically. What does such a representation look like and what can it actually express and even beyond that, address? As a specific example of a geopolitical event, I will examine the relations of the People’s Republic Of China with countries on the Indian Ocean littoral from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea. My examination will focus on the Chinese state’s construction of shipping infrastructure between and within these countries. I will focus on Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka as a case study.

Research Area(s)
  • Text, Video, Film
  • 20th-Century History of Art and Politics
  • South Asia/South East Asia Regional studies
  • Maritime studies
  • ethnic conflicts
  • Post-conflict politics
Supervisor Professor Ute Meta Bauer
Professor Stefano Harney
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Iola Lenzi
​Vu Dan Tan and early contemporary art in Hanoi

The work of Hanoi artist Vu Dan Tan (1946-2009), though part of global contemporary art from the mid-1990s, has yet to be thoroughly researched. This project will examine Vu Dan Tan’s art exhaustively, framing its pioneering rupture of form and purpose in Vietnam’s historical and political context. It will argue that Vu Dan Tan is an early exponent of contemporary practice in Vietnam by showing the influence of his work on the Hanoi scene of the 1990s, as well as determining shared artistic terrain with other first generation contemporary artists of Southeast Asia.

Research Area(s)
  • Southeast Asian contemporary art
  • Borrowings from tradition in languages of Southeast Asian contemporary art
  • Early Vietnamese political art
  • Southeast Asian art with polical and social voice or Southeast Asian art’s articulation of critiques of power
  • Participative and performative practices in Southeast Asian art
  • Public and private space in Southeast Asian art
  • Conceptual approaches of Southeast Asian art​
  • Sexuality and woman in Southeast Asian art​
  • Memory and history in Southeast Asian contemporary art​
  • Southeast Asian art’s aesthetic and its sources​
  • The high art/low art dichotomy in Southeast Asian contemporary art​
  • European-established art schools in early 20th century Southeast Asia and their influence on contemporary art​
Asst Prof Sujatha Meegama
Prof Nora Taylor
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Muhammad Ridzal Bin Abdul Hamid
​The Milonga: A Space of Tango and Social Dance Practice

How do space and site figure in social dance? This research considers the milonga, a social space of tango, as an example of a social dance space, alongside issues connected to site-specificity, in hopes of articulating the layering of space and site in social dance as a form of contemporary art practice. Questions about viewership and the immateriality of the art of object/event, among others, are also raised in the process.

Research Area(s)
  • Performance and contemporary art
  • Corporeality, bodies in space, embodied experiences
  • Time-based and ephemeral art
Supervisor Asst Prof Marc Gloede
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Liu Danyun
​​Maps as Knowledge Aggregators-Maritime Silk Road as a Case Study

Maps work as knowledge aggregators. My research will start from maps and using data visualization as an interactive media to allow users to manipulate the graphical variables themselves in real time to gain hidden insight and solve real-world problems, which may lead to beneficial and profitable innovation. Through data visualization, encapsulating map’s data in graphs forces us to confront its limitation and helps us to understand the dynamics of the underlying phenomena of the Maritime Silk Road. Through rich computational and aesthetical data and applying the visualization method into the drawing of modern maps that take place in space and time, we can have a better understanding of our spatial world. This facilitates to generate our routine, personal activity, social network, even our human inner maps by connections in real-time through geospatial data and mapping capability. Meanwhile, by deeply analysing and representing historical knowledge and hidden stories, the research also aims to explore the new methodology and new mode of digital applications of cultural heritage.

Research Area(s)
  • Interactive Design
  • Web-Based User Interface
  • Digital applications of Maritime Silk Road
  • Historical Map Data
  • Visualization/Information Visualization
Supervisor ​Assoc Prof Andrea Nanetti
Assoc Prof Cheong Siew Ann
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Yang Jing
Flourishing in Physical Space: A New Perspective on Visual Music

This thesis holds the view that the greatest charm of Visual Music artworks lies in its inheritance and development of music’s ability of affecting people’s feeling and emotion. Studies on the concept of “seeing the music” should not only stay on the level of making visual representations of the musical attributes and elements, but to value the emotional expression and evocation that Visual Music can be on a par with music.
The current study serves as an experiment of an artistic approach in which Visual Music is combined with the utilization of physical space to enhance the emotion expression and evocation. Instead of treating the physical space as merely containers, the current study considers the features of physical space as compositional elements, which can be composed musically according to the artistic emotion that needs to be conveyed. In this thesis, the author would like to propose a concept called “Spatial Visual Music” as a sub-genre of Visual Music. With the emphasis on the qualifier “spatial”, this term refers to a particular type of Visual Music creation in which the artists compose not only the sounds and visuals, but also the physical space. The term “Spatial Visual Music” is thus defined as a type of artistic expression, which requires the act of using various compositional elements to process and compose a physical space as a three-dimensional musical score.

Research Areas:
  • Visual Music and “Spatial Visual Music”
    • Approaches to enhance emotion expression and evocation
    • New compositional element and new musical vocabulary
    • Three-dimensional musical score
    • Virtual and physical 3D Visual Music performance
  • Interactive Art and Architectural Installation
  • Web-Based Experimental Animation
  • The Utilization of Space in Art
    • Perception of space (through different sensory systems)
    • Composing and reconstructing space (physical & virtual space)
    • The relationship between space and human’s feeling and emotion
    • Space consciousness in traditional Chinese art, architecture, aesthetics and ideology (Taoism)
Prof Vibeke Sorensen
Prof Miller Puckette

Nan Triveni Achnas
Re-Imaging the Essay Form in Wayang Kulit and Film

The essay film has a long and diverse history with a literary heritage that of the essay form. The term ‘essay’ often signifies a range of remarkably different types of writing – from the literary writings to the academic essay. Due to its flexibility and its wide-ranging nature, defining what constitutes an essay remains an elusive task. Essays continue to be defined and redefined, often being repositioned or reordered for specific contexts. The question of what is an essay film will be central to this dissertation. What are the elements of the essay form and can it be defined in other cultural forms, say the wayang or shadow puppet theatre?

Research Interests
  • The Essay Film
  • Digital Humanities
  • Feminist Film Studies
Assoc Prof Andrea Nanetti
Prof Ben Shedd

Kathleen Elizabeth Ditzig Li Ying
The Exhibitionary Complex of a New Nation: Exhibitions of Political Sovereignty, National Development and Cultural Exchange in Southeast Asia during the Cold War (1950s-1980)

This research seeks to outline an exhibitionary complex of the new nation state in Southeast Asia that arises out of Cold War cultural exchange with the US between the 1950s and 1980 in Singapore and the Philippines. The research will study tendencies toward defining and promoting internationalism and how this informed the evolution of exhibitions and art production in Southeast Asia (e.g. in the trope of the survey exhibition of Southeast Asia or in the inscribing of qualities to specific types of art.)

Research interests areas
  • Southeast Asia and the Cold War
  • Cultural Diplomacy
  • The rise of neoliberalism
  • Exhibition histories
  • National art histories
  • Politics of Display
  • Cultural infrastructure and policy
Prof Ute Meta Bauer
Prof Patrick Flores

Marina Zuccarelli
"Photography as a tool of self expression and an agent of transformation: a participatory photography art project at a cancer centre."

This research put in relation the potential of photography as a medium able to support personal development with participatory art practice, introduced in the healthcare setting. The aim of the study is to explore how art photography practice, can have a beneficial effect and help encourage self-expression on people afflicted by cancer.

Research Area(s)
  • Photography Theory
  • Therapeutic use of photography
  • Art in Healthcare
  • Participatory Art
Asst Prof Elke Reinhuber
Asst Prof Michael Tan
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Andrew Ng
The Photograph as a Site for Radical Performance: Evaluating the Potential Efficacy of Performance Imagery as an Event of Cultural Intervention

This research seeks to further investigate the discourse at the intersection between performance and photography, specifically by looking at the potential of photography – not just as an artefact, but also a medium and an archive – as a site for radical performance. The research will study the potential efficacy of performance photographs as events of cultural intervention by evaluating their methods of disruption to modes of artistic presentation and viewer engagement.

Research Area(s)
  • Photography History, Theory, and Criticism
  • Performance Studies
  • Radical Performance
  • Intermediality
Assoc Prof Oh Soon-Hwa
Asst Prof Michelle Lim

Lee Soo Jin
‘I’ in Narrative: Negotiating Self towards Others, Study on Autobiographical Contemporary Visual Arts

This research generally aims at illuminating meanings of autobiography in our time and it will be conducted through exemplifying various artworks in the field of contemporary visual arts. Autobiography can be defined as “an account of a person’s life written by that person” (Oxford Dictionary). Despite initial self-referential appearances, autobiography in fact engages the self with the external world; autobiography is a realm between the self and the world. The most common form of autobiography is a book, which is based on textual medium. What I want to focus on is, however, expansion of the field of autobiographies to the visual arts. Among various disciplines, contemporary artworks using photography as medium of self-expression will be mainly examined.

Research Area(s)
  • Visual culture
  • Autobiography, Narrative identity
  • Contemporary art, Visual arts, Conceptual art, Photography
Asst Prof Marc Gloede
Assoc Prof Oh Soon-Hwa

Regina De Rozario
Artistic practices in Singapore’s public spaces (1989-2020): Examining the contemporary artist's role in the production of ‘space’ for narratives of personal experience

Singapore has witnessed a transformation in its arts and cultural landscape in the last 20 years. One visible aspect is the proliferation of contemporary art activities conducted within the city’s public spaces, such as the installation of site-specific works, exhibitions, performances, and artist- or curator-led ‘experiences’ in spaces beyond the walls of galleries and museums. Within this context, my research seeks to examine how government policies have shaped the way artists make work for public space. In tandem, the research will survey Singapore-based artists who work at the intersection of socially-engaged concerns and narrative facilitation, and examine how space can be negotiated and produced through artistic practice. Also, how artistic interventions in public space can enable less visible (and possibly counter) narratives of personal experience to be assembled, discussed and understood alongside dominant narratives in the public sphere.

Research Area(s)
  • Art in public space
  • Site-specific interventions
  • Singapore cultural policies
  • Dominant and counter narratives
  • Production and control of space
Supervisor Asst Prof Michael Tan

Tang Tze Yin Junie
Graphic Designer as Curator: From a Problem-solver to a Problematiser, and its implications for Design Education in Singapore

This research aims to first expand the role of a graphic designer as a curator, who is also a problematiser, then identify the gaps in local design education, and develop an original design methodology that can facilitate the process of them playing that role.

Research Area(s)
  • Curatorial Practice
  • Design Education
  • Design Methodology
  • Graphic Design
  • Problem Solver Versus Problematiser
Assoc Prof Danne Ojeda Hernandez
Assoc Prof Jasmine Sim Boon Yee


Lydia Wong-Plain
A Hazy Milieu: Reclaiming Lost Landscapes of Singapore through Contemporary Art from 2000s

The history of Singapore has always been one that is convoluted and fragmented– what this research project terms “a hazy milieu” in reference to forms of collective amnesia complicated by colonisation and splintering of ideologies. In the work of a number of contemporary artists with ties to Southeast Asia, we find an urgency to document and unravel Singapore’s “lost narratives”, which in turn materializes the incoherency of specific types of visual spaces through landscapes, botanical drawings, early photographs, architecture, and the moving image. The palpable departure and absence of familiarity of these historical spaces in contemporary landscapes reflects a heavily fictionalised historical record steeped in myths, legends, and fantasies. Contemporary art’s adept engagement of archives and historical records in contrary, challenges andquestionsestablished narratives which in turn displays indeterminacy within the material itself. This research attempts to reclaim landscapes which existed but have vanished with Singapore’s determined compulsion in development and progression. In bringing forth the paradoxical notion of “reclamation”, this research addresses the contradictory embodiment of transitions wherein the very act of creating new lands via land reclamation in fact, erases and alters existing landscapes, resulting in physical and cognitive shifts. The employment of contemporary art and visual spaces as mechanisms in dismantling inherent power structures embodied in state archives in this research therefore, allows for the emergence of new trajectories. In unearthing the buried narratives which have fallen through the cracks of time and space, an inquiry of public and private landscapes will also be evaluated to unravel new dimensions. Traversing through variegated terrains, globalisation and its anxieties, it is particularly crucial to invite critical reflection and the unravelling of new narratives in the cross currents of today.

Research Area(s) 
  • Art History (focusing on Singapore and Southeast Asia)
  • Contemporary Art
  • Curatorial Practices
  • Critical Theory

Prof Jennifer Ray Burris
Prof Michael Walsh

Swayamsiddha Panigrahi
A study of the transformation of traditional visual narratives into Animation 

Several traditional art forms have transformed into the visual language of many contemporary animation films. However, with this migration of the traditional art form from a static to a dynamic medium, there comes a shift in its intrinsic order and identity. This study focuses on the transformations in visual and overall aesthetics as they get animated and observes what informs that transformation in terms of motion, visuals, and storytelling. The focus would be on tapping the change in the visual syntactic when the intrinsically static art form is animated. There are two parts to this study. The first part is focussed on the visual transformation examples from India, and the second part constitutes examples from Southeast Asia. A cross-cultural comparative analysis approach is being taken to map the similarities and differences in visual transformations in India and neighboring cultures.

Research Area(s) 
  • Traditional art inspired Animation

  • Art in Transition

  • Trans-Culturation & Liminality

  • Visual Identity 

  • Storytelling 

  • Oral history collection


Mazhar Kamran, IIT Bombay

Prof. Hans-Martin Rall, NTU Singapore

Sum Wai Yuan
Aggregating scholarship in the digital era: An interdisciplinary investigation on the academic studies relevant to the understanding of the painting known as the Ship of Fools by Jheronimus Bosch as a show history

From Vasari, Ripa and da Vinci (as observed through his notebooks) in the 16th century to the likes of Warburg, Müntz, Panofsky, Gombrich and Mitchell in the 19-20th century, the ideas of iconography and in particular the relationship between text and image in iconology has been has been argued, discussed and demonstrated across the centuries in many different ways. The question of (or questions related to) what is an image was also explored and led to a variety of different things, such as “pictures, statues, optical illusions, maps, diagrams, dreams, hallucinations, spectacles, projections, patterns, memories, and even ideas”. The development of computing brought in the rise of digital technology making digitalisation of different artefacts and information processing possible, with new digital formats, digital formats, interpretations and facsimiles of images, which further intensifying the question of “what is an image”. Today, the multiplicity of images also suggest the multiplication in access, searching, discovery, learning, research, publication, dissemination of knowledge with new “ideas of imagery” in the forms of interface, “infosphere”, and “intraface” created. Using the painting, Ship of Fools, by Jheronimus Bosch (c. 1450 – 1516) as the key object of study, my PhD research will centre around two key questions relating to aggregating of scholarship of a painting as an image, and ways of seeing, sensing and understanding paintings: (1) How scholarship of a painting as an image is aggregated then and now in the digital era? (2) How a painting can be understood and what the understanding of a painting means then and now in the digital era? With nothing in his own words, and little was known about him, scholarship about Bosch’s personality were mainly done through his survived works (or works attributed to him). His paintings were also often compared, juxtaposed and quoted among his own paintings, and to others from Bruegel in the 16th century to 17th century Japanese gothic paintings, 20th century Salvador Dali, other genres of art in music, dance and film, and cross disciplinary into the humanities. I will adopt an interdisciplinary approach in my research from the fields of art history, information science, computer science and psychology (of art and aesthetics), which will include topics on iconological analysis, ontology and metadata framework, digital models and interfaces for aggregating scholarship, and visual perception and digital aesthetic experiences of digital scholarship aggregation.

Research Area(s)
  • Visual Analysis of Paintings: Iconology and Iconography

  • Knowledge Aggregation

  • Knowledge Interfaces

  • Digital Aesthetics

  • Multiplicity of Image

  • Jheronimus Bosch


Associate Professor Andrea Nanetti


Yin Chun Zhi​
Heritage Illuminates The Future: The Nantong indigo textile as a show history of Intangible Cultural Heritage and sustainability in China

This Ph.D. research investigates on the Nantong indigo textile included in China Intangible Culture Heritage and purposes of new sustainable and social fabric. From the perspective of culture, wellbeing, and sustainability, seeking the balance between nature and humanity. The reason why intangible culture heritage is immaterial lies on its spiritual and cultural value, and now they are facing extinction. Many studies have shown that our current textile industry is one of the most polluting industries worldwide and we are badly in need of damage control. Textile techniques documented in China. 

Intangible Culture Heritage are rich in meanings and eco-friendly. One textile could be a representation of history, culture, art, and religion of the region when it was made. In compare to the past and present, the identity of textile has formed a sharp contrast.

Research Area(s) 
  • Art History

  • Cultural Studies

  • China Intangible Cultural Heritage

  • Textile Design

  • Bio Materials


Professor Galina Mihaleva