Message from the Dean of Students

I am delighted to invite you to yet another exciting edition of the SMU Arts Festival.

Last October, I welcomed you to SMU’s very first virtual arts festival. That instalment turned out to be a serendipitous success and we were thrilled to reap so many positives from it: we entertained a global audience with digital collaborations that would not have been possible in conventional physical showcases. The pre-recorded format also allowed us to highlight the best of our student performers and their multi-hyphenate talents, which viewers could replay and rewatch. This year’s festival will have all that – and a lot more!

SMU Arts Festival 2021: 2GETHER AS 1 is all about adapting, collaborating and appreciating. Like the pandemic that has since become endemic, we too have evolved during this challenging period of tests and change. We have discovered that in order to overcome once insurmountable obstacles, we need to come together, pool talents and resources, and help one another. In the SMU context, external circumstances presented us opportune moments to cooperate across departments to better serve our internal community – even as we trod in the shadow of COVID-19. This essentially is the message of SMU Arts Festival 2021: to band, in spite of distractions, as One SMU.

This year’s festival headlines six exciting programmes that involve 15 SMU co-curricular arts clubs and close to 300 performers. You will be entertained by casts of singers, dancers and musicians, captivated by humans and robots, reintroduced to media, literary and visual arts, and even play interactive roles in some programmes! There is also a chance for you to win prizes by reimagining what our festival theme means to you.

We have levelled-up our collaborative efforts and included SMU faculty, staff, students and alumni, as well as members of the larger community in many of our festival programmes. We are exceptionally honoured to work alongside a department from NUS, award-winning local and foreign artists and professional arts collaboratives, as well as local community groups.

Our festival programmes are absolutely free for both local and global audiences via the official SMU Arts Festival portal ( We have, however, provided a link for donations towards the SMU Resilience Fund at the bottom of each portal page. The fund supports SMU students and their families financially impacted by COVID-19 and I encourage you to contribute generously if you are able to.

Finally, I wish one and all an eye-opening discovery at SMU Arts Festival 2021: 2GETHER AS 1. Let’s come together to explore, support, and be wowed by the eclectic festival offerings and multi-talented student performers!

With heart,
Professor Paulin Straughan
Dean of Students


The programmes you have watched are a labour of love from over 300 youths over the last 8 months. They have come 2GETHER AS 1 to pursue their common passion in the arts, while juggling the commitments from other aspects of their lives. For some students, this includes shouldering financial difficulties during the pandemic. You can help ease their load by donating generously to SMU Resilience Fund, a university-wide effort established in 2020 to provide timely and much-needed relief for SMU students. We look forward to receiving your support during this festive season.

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