Insights and Research

Here are research reports and articles, case studies and other forms of insights into Both Sides, Now over the years. They include pieces from researchers and practitioners from our team, commissioned work as well as independent researchers and writers interested in this programme.

All information correct at the time of publishing.

Interested to include Both Sides, Now in your research and writing, connect with us at

Since 2013, Both Sides, Now has emphasised public outreach and dialogue on end-of-life matters as a stimulus to build healthy, connected communities that contribute towards living, and leaving well. As part of the research process for this Mengukir Harapan (Carving Hope) edition, the Both Sides, Now creative team collaborated closely with Age Matters and the researchers they worked with to develop culturally competent arts-based approaches to engage the Malay-Muslim community on end-of-life and advance care planning issues.

This research study engages a participatory community-led design to understand pertinent issues and contexts within the Malay-Muslim community. It was done by analysing interview data of key resource persons and observations during Community Engagement Workshop sessions (akin to focus group discussions) with diverse demographics within the Malay-Muslim community. The study shares themes; individual, structural and contentious issues; as well as archetypes found regarding end-of-life matters from the research, and makes programme recommendations.

With the greater push for arts practitioners to develop artistic projects in community spaces, it is essential to examine the skills and capabilities required of those engaging in the field today. Regina De Rozario—artist, writer and researcher—writes about the significance of cultural competence and how it might be fostered through arts-based community work, including lessons from Both Sides, Now.

This qualitative research study aimed to investigate Both Sides, Now’s efficacy as a community arts project, its impact on audiences, artists, stakeholders and volunteers who attended or were involved in its construction as well as how they perceived and responded to the event. Finally, it sought to identify what artists, healthcare workers, academics and stakeholders could learn from immersive arts experiences like Both Sides, Now to inform future such projects. This research was carried out by Drs. Prue Wales and Charlene Rajendran from the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University.

This case study is interested in understanding how the arts can contribute towards civic dialogue in Singapore, especially concerning sensitive or taboo topics. Through the discussion of Both Sides, Now, a multi-year arts-based community engagement project on end-of-life issues produced by Drama Box and ArtsWok Collaborative, it shares what healthy civic dialogue can be, as well as the conditions necessary for this to happen.

This chapter showcases the potential and unique value of the arts in civic engagement, specifically when it deals with a challenging or taboo subject matter. Commonly thought to be the purview of galleries and theatres, the arts can also be a powerful tool in civic engagement, catalysing the organic and often unpredictable development of communal relationships and capabilities, creating imaginative and safe spaces to deliberate on social issues and expanding the horizons of possible solutions. We focus on how an arts-based community engagement project has helped citizens participate in dialogue to raise awareness of end-of-life issues and the importance of end-of-life planning.

This chapter examines how Drama Box and ArtsWok Collaborative navigate social taboos in Singapore’s multicultural society in Both Sides, Now. The focus is on films from Phase 1 of the project, which were integral to an immersive arts experience that featured artworks to be encountered. These were analysed in terms of how they provide space for medical professionals to unravel silences surrounding end-of-life and express their feelings around grief.

Community Voices

“The fact that grief is such a powerful emotion yet it is possible for us to unite together across culture and religion. … it was eye-opening to see and learn about how the Malays and Muslims grieve in their unique ways, it was parallel to my own experiences (and) of others‘ grief in other cultures and religions.”

Audience Member