Both Sides Now: An Immersive Arts Experience
What do the arts and death education have in common, one may ask. Plenty as Both Sides, Now, would illustrate. Jointly presented and sponsored by Ang Chin Moh Foundation and Lien Foundation, Both Sides, Now is a form of creative community engagement utilising art, drama and literature to begin the most difficult of end-of-life conversations with their loved ones, families and friends. With the Ministry of Health and the National Arts Council as co-sponsors, and produced by partners ArtsWok, an arts-based community development company and Drama Box, a local theatre group, Both Sides, Now: Living with Dying was an open invitation to the general public to explore issues of living and dying through fun and creative activities such as participatory arts activities, community conversations, grassroots dialogues, puppetry performances and theatre.
Both Sides, Now first began as a three weeks long event in 2013 at Khoo Teck Puat hospital in collaboration with Alexandra Health and support from the National Arts Council (NAC) and the Arts Fund was essentially a creative form of community engagement utilising art, drama and literature to begin the most difficult of conversations with their loved ones, families and friends. Pleasantly surprised by the interest and goodwill generated by the first edition, this initiative continued its efforts in 2014, reaching out directly to the community in Khatib and Toa Payoh by creating new participatory arts experience in public heartland spaces.
In all, the Both Sides, Now series had and will continue to impact many Singaporeans including healthcare workers, caregivers, patients and members of the public. We were privileged to have work recognised by the Minister of Health in Parliament on 19 January 2015 as a critical public outreach program to increase public awareness of advance care planning and end-of-life issues.
Following the success of the first two series in 2013 and 2014, Both Sides, Now: Living with Dying will now return for its third series. Instead of a one-off event, it will now run for three years from 2017 to 2019 in collaboration with anchor partners, Montfort Care and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, as well as substantial financial support from the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Tote Board Community Healthcare Fund and the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC).