Media Release: LASALLE's 2020 and 2021 Convocations: Arts graduates thrive amidst the pandemic across diverse industries

McNally Award winner Ilina
02 October 2021
Media Release

Adaptability, resilience, and creativity. These are some of the top qualities that a graduate needs to succeed in today’s ever-changing economic landscape, and yet are some of the hardest skills to impart through school. Emerging from the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, two cohorts comprising 923 graduates from LASALLE’s Class of 2020 and 821 graduates from the Class of 2021 are set to receive their diplomas and degrees at in-person convocation ceremonies, conducted at Singapore Expo in line with prevailing safe management measures, across the first two weekends of October.

For these more than 1,700 graduates from LASALLE College of the Arts’ Class of 2020 and 2021, an arts education has proved to be vital in cultivating such qualities. As young talents, they have grown to become exceptional, quickly transforming into industry-ready creative leaders to face up to the challenges brought about by the pandemic. Nowhere is this more evident than in LASALLE’s class of 2020, for instance, who had to rapidly adapt to execute the College’s first ever digital graduation showcase.

Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for National Development, will grace the Convocation as Guests of Honour, delivering pre-recorded video speeches at each of the 2020 and 2021 ceremonies respectively.

Among the graduates, many recognise the importance of an arts education to develop an interdisciplinary approach to the arts. One such example is Goh Jia Qi Gracia, BA(Hons) Design Communication, who will be presented with the McNally Award for Excellence in the Arts for 2021, LASALLE’s valedictorian award, on 9 October.

“Since I was young, I have always had an interest in the arts but stereotypes always kept me from pursuing it in my full-time studies. Yet, when I was completing my Diploma in Mass Communication, I realised that I was most drawn to the creative aspects of the media industry,” said Gracia, who is currently a communications designer at design consultancy Chemistry, where she leverages human-centred design methodology for business innovation and the promotion of social good.

“At LASALLE, instead of competing against one another, I met a community where people were willing to share resources, collaborate and support one another through our academic journeys. My experience helped me to build a design ethos founded upon interdisciplinary collaboration and sharing of information,” she continued.

BA(Hons) Music graduate and the McNally Award winner for 2020, Ilina Hattangady, received her award in a ceremony on the morning of Saturday 2 October. The singer-songwriter has collaborated on several noteworthy projects such as the opening song for season 1 and season 2 of the Amazon Prime series 'Four More Shots Please', and has worked with some of India's most outstanding producers including Vishal-Shekhar, Ajay-Atul and Clinton Cerejo. She has also opened for international artists such as Grammy Award winning reggae artist Shaggy and Hillsong United, establishing a versatile repertoire.

“Making the most out of my time at LASALLE was the best thing I did for myself. From voice to performance to academic lectures and the immense amount of performance opportunities, to the consistent support and encouragement from my peers and coaches, I have taken away so much from LASALLE. I learnt how to get through hardships, and just simply be better,” she shared.

Calleen Koh, BA(Hons) Animation Art, class of 2021, is an additional example of a graduate making their mark in their specialised field. The award-winning Singaporean director and animator has received recognition at prestigious international film festivals, and gained accolades for her films at the Singapore National Youth Film Awards.

Another noteworthy graduate from the class of 2020 is Hector Lee, who returned to LASALLE seven years after graduating with a BA(Hons) Music Technology for a Masters degree in Arts Pedagogy and Practice. As an experienced educator, he was interested in finding new modalities and methods to push the creative boundaries of his work and teaching through experimentation and collaboration, showcasing that you can never stop learning in the arts.

“I am tremendously proud of the classes of 2020 and 2021. Amidst unprecedented disruption, changes and challenges, these tenacious, passionate graduates have adapted and thrived. It is a testament to the value of an arts education that LASALLE graduates continue to forge new paths and find ways to make a difference to society. I have every faith that they will go on to contribute significantly to their fields no matter where they choose to go, and that the skills they have learned at LASALLE will stand them in good stead as they embark on this new chapter of their professional and personal lives,” said Professor Steve Dixon, President of LASALLE.