Singapore's Southern Islands: Connecting Natural and Cultural Heritage

Project advisor: Dr Rita Padawangi, Senior Lecturer, Centre for University Core, SUSS;

In this project, in addition to the deeper understanding of heritage, students are expected to connect the concept of 'place-making' in addressing conservation efforts. This project will build on the findings from the National Heritage Board Heritage Research Grant 'Mapping the Southern Islands' Heritage Landscapes of Singapore: St John's Island, Lazarus Island and Seringat Island (HRG-016) in investigating the notion of 'heritage' through the case study of the Southern Islands. The islands of St. John's, Lazarus and Seringat hold much historical, cultural, and natural significance as three of the southernmost islands of the Singapore archipelago. St. John's Island was at one point the largest quarantine station in the British Empire, while Lazarus and Seringat were places in which vibrant kampongs and orang lauts from the Riau Archipelago settled since at least the 1800s. The islanders were relocated to the main island of Singapore in the 1970s. Many of them still hold memories of island life and continue social interactions with former islanders.

Students who are interested to take up this project, after conceptual investigation of 'heritage' and 'place-making', will be expected to examine possible futures of the islands by integrating the aspects of history, natural and cultural heritage. The objectives of this project include increasing awareness and interest of Singaporeans on the Southern Islands, as well as to promote community-centred solutions1 for the future of the islands. Besides delivering a research report, the students have to propose another deliverable that can be shared with the community/communities.2

1 There are several possible communities that students can engage with for this project. Students should propose which communities they wish to engage, based on background study.

2 The deliverable for the community/communities should have relevance to the objectives and deliver research findings to the general public. Some possibilities include a short video (5-10 minutes) or a series of shorter videos, a series of posters, infographics.

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