Vice-President (Academic) and Provost, LASALLE College of the Arts
Venka Purushothaman is Provost at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. He is a leading expert in arts higher education and cultural and creative industries in Asia.
Venka has boldly led significant transformation in LASALLE’s curriculum and introduced numerous path-breaking undergraduate and postgraduate programmes to support the cultural and creative industries in Asia. He steered the development of SEAsia’s first MA in Arts Pedagogy and Practice to enable artists working in the educational sector to be skilled in teaching and assessment principles; and develop new interdisciplinary models of teaching artistic expression in the classroom.
His accomplished record in academic leadership is evidenced through his rise through the ranks from lecturer to Dean to Provost at LASALLE. As Provost, Venka is responsible for academic vision and provision of quality practice-led arts education; steering the development of industry-sensitive programmes and student-centred curriculum; and, to profile the College globally in contemporary art practice. He has successful led the institution through numerous international quality, learning and teaching reviews and continuous to share this experience in SEAsia.
His pedagogic philosophy is to ensure that students have full access to see and learn about the world through which they will become scribes and designers of their twenty-first century. He also seeks to ensure that contemporary Asia is given appropriate place and voice in arts curriculum thereby representing the voice of a new generation of artists. He founded the Asia-Pacific Network for Culture, Education and Research (ANCER) to facilitate education and cultural leadership development in SEAsia. He is the founding member of the Global Design Faculty, involving five global universities, and led their first global design initiative project in 2015 to explore design education and pedagogies.
Venka lectures internationally on contemporary art; arts higher education; festival cultures; and, cultural policy in Asia. He has given keynotes at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (China), the School of Art Institute of Chicago (USA), Musashino Arts University, Tokyo (Japan), Goldsmiths College (UK), South Asian University, Delhi (India), and Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto (Canada).
His art publications include numerous essays and artist monographs. Notably, The Art of Sukumar Bose: Reflections on South and Southeast Asia (2013) was awarded the 2015 ICAS Best Art Book Prize by the International Congress of Asian Scholars. His books on culture includes Making Visible the Invisible: Three Decades of the Singapore Arts Festival (2007) and Narratives: Notes on a Cultural Journey, Cultural Medallion Recipients, 1979-2002 (2002). Both these books remain the most comprehensive study of the festival and cultural policy in Singapore.
His current research interest is on research and pedagogies in art school environments. His recent publication in this regard is “Creative Economy, Cultural Policy and Arts Higher Education in Renaissance Singapore” in Higher Education and the Creative Economy: Beyond the Campus. Edited by Roberta Communian and Abigail Gilmore. New York: Routledge, 2016. He continuous to speak on education and the creative changes required in arts higher education.
Prior to academia, Venka worked as an arts and cultural manager. He continues to play a critical role in arts development in Singapore and serves as an expert on many professional committees and has chaired important portfolios such as funding committees for theatre, cultural awards committees and committees dedicated to developing youths.
Venka is a Member, Association of International Art Critics (France); Fellow, Royal Society of the Arts (UK); University Fellow, Musashino Art University (Japan); McNally Fellow, Singapore Ireland Fund-LASALLE (Singapore); and Member, Virginia Commonwealth University (USA) - QATAR’s Advisory Board.
Vice-President (Academic) and Provost
LASALLE College of the Arts