Lim’s stint as the dapper editor for Nanyang Chronicle inspired him to take up a second major in WKWSCI. Photo: FABIAN LOO
As a first-year student from the School of Art, Design and Media last year, Joel Lim wanted to try his hand at something different. He decided to take on the role of the Dapper Editor at the campus newspaper, The Nanyang Chronicle, where he had to conceptualise photoshoots, source for apparels and scout for locations.
The Nanyang Chronicle is produced by Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information students, as part of a news practicum. During that semester, Lim explored different fashion concepts and presented them in photo stories to inspire students to dress better. Lim’s stint as the Dapper Editor eventually inspired him to pursue a second major in WKWSCI.
“I don’t want to look back at what could be my last few years of education with regret,” said the 23-year-old, who is among some 360 full-time undergraduates, who are pursuing a second major this year.
Second major students are able to use their unrestricted electives to pursue another major without having to extend their candidature period. Choosing an interdisciplinary education is becoming an increasingly popular option. The number of fields for second majors at Nanyang Technological University is projected to reach 21 by 2017, compared with nine in 2011.
“These interdisciplinary programmes bring together two disciplines, thereby broadening the students’ study options – making their education more holistic and providing that extra edge to give their careers an added boost,” said Professor Kam Chan Hin, Senior Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education.
Despite initial disapproval from some of his peers and relatives, who did not see the value in pursuing two arts-related majors, Lim decided to follow his instincts.
He noted that both schools give him the opportunity to develop complementary skillsets. While working at The Nanyang Chronicle, Lim had to conceptualise pictures that combined both fashion and narrative.
“That was when I realised I really enjoyed the process of visual storytelling as much as written narratives,” said Lim.
In fact, it was the same interest and passion in storytelling that spurred Lim to launch his own photographic project in February, “Grandmother’s Story” – a collection of portraits and stories told from the perspective of women of the pioneer generation. In this project, Lim said he was able to apply photography skills learned at ADM and interviewing techniques acquired at WKWSCI.
Hello everyone! I'll be starting this project called Grandmother Story, a collection of stories and portraits of elderly Singaporean women. It seeks to revisit the Singapore Story through the women's perspective. Do help to share this video to get the word out.For more information, visit http://www.unsaid.sg/index.php/grandmother-story/
Posted by Joel Lim on Friday, February 5, 2016
Looking ahead, Lim plans to continue marrying various skillsets honed at both schools and put them to good use in a real world setting.
“This is something that means a lot to me. The skills I learnt from both schools gave me the confidence to stand up and take on this major project,” he said.
But not everything is co-related when it comes to the two schools.
“I have to learn to balance both sides – creating works that are commercial and can appeal to audiences but also fulfil artistic motivations.”
“ADM is a fine arts school and what they focus on is the motivation of an artist, the content creation and the process behind every artwork. It is a lot of emphasis on the process. But in WKWSCI, they are more concerned about what you put out there as your final product. What you showcase is what you are ultimately assessed upon,” Lim observed.
“I have to learn to balance both sides – creating works that are commercial and can appeal to audiences but also fulfil artistic motivations,” he added.
He found the right balance when his collection of 17 photographs, titled “Residents of Nee Soon” was exhibited at a Nee Soon Town Council event last year. The collection was also published in a newsletter that was distributed among the residents. The project gave him the opportunity to work with MP for Nee Soon GRC, K. Shanmugam, who is also currently the Minister of Law and Home Affairs.
The committee was looking for a way to commemorate SG50 as well as the town council’s impact on the area, and Lim pitched the idea of capturing Nee Soon residents’ slice of life.
“Little did I know that it was going to be one of the toughest photography assignments that I have ever done. I had to get them to open up to a random guy with a camera, but it was also one of the most rewarding. I spent hours talking to people of all backgrounds. I got to know their stories and they got to know mine.”