Cambodian Living Arts

August 2017 - December 2018

Cambodia

Cambodian Living Arts aims to be a catalyst for a vibrant arts sector, inspiring new generations.

Cambodian Living Arts

August 2017 - December 2018

Cambodia

Cambodian Living Arts (CLA) believes arts are at the heart of a vital society. They envision the arts and cultural expression as essential to a thriving future for Cambodia. CLA's mission is to be a driving force in a vibrant arts sector, inspiring new generations. Founded in 1998 by genocide survivor Arn Chorn-Pond, CLA is a grassroots organisation with the aim to preserve traditional performing arts. An estimated 90% of Cambodian artists did not survive the Khmer Rouge regime; Cambodia’s artistic heritage was in danger of being lost forever, and the few surviving artists were in many cases the last practitioners of their particular art forms.

CLA facilitated these master artists to pass on their knowledge and skills to younger generations.

As the arts sector has grown stronger, CLA was able to change their focus from revival, preservation and transmission towards work on creating sustainable livelihoods in the arts. Today CLA sees itself as a catalyst for the arts sector, working to support an environment where artists can express themselves and engage with society and together create positive impacts for Cambodia.

SmallWorld SmallBand performing live at Sisowath High School.

SmallWorld SmallBand performing live at Sisowath High School.

CLA operates a two pronged approach to achieve its goals. First, CLA is working with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MOEYS) to write a new arts curriculum and a new arts education training curriculum, provide teacher training, and work with arts education providers to raise policy agendas and recommendations with the government. Second, they are trialling a model of Culture and Arts Cluster Centres around Cambodia.

These centres support schools and communities with arts and cultural education services and act as laboratories for creative teaching methodologies. Rei Foundation has provided funding towards this second aspect, which is keeping with our commitment to partner with projects that are planned to have long-term sustainable impact and will provide expanded life opportunities to Cambodians.

The Culture and Arts Cluster Centres were piloted at Sisowath High School in Phnom Penh and one centre servicing two schools in Sisophon (between Battambang and Siem Reap). These centres are the meeting place for arts clubs, which students can voluntarily join, and have featured regular arts events for its young members, including artist talks and exhibitions, film screenings, Cambodian classical dance and drama performances, and even shows from SmallWorld SmallBand, a local band who perform their own original songs – something that is rare in Cambodia.

Through these Cluster Centres, CLA is bringing a world of arts and culture to the youth of Cambodia, and expanding their ideas of what careers and hobbies are open to them, from traditional crafts to cinema and music. Their contribution will be part of Cambodia’s cultural renewal, continuing the healing and regeneration process and enriching Cambodian society.

Slider Image A Cambodian classical dance performance by students at the arts club fair.

A Cambodian classical dance performance by students at the arts club fair.

Slider Image A musician playing at the Create Cambodia Festival.

A musician playing at the Create Cambodia Festival.

Slider Image Arts education specialist Janet Pillai leading a session on creative arts teaching.

Arts education specialist Janet Pillai leading a session on creative arts teaching.

Slider Image Students read about an upcoming Spoken Theatre performance.

Students read about an upcoming Spoken Theatre performance.

Slider Image Students at Sisophon High School participate in an arts survey.

Students at Sisophon High School participate in an arts survey.

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