Project Cambodia 2009 (Arts)

Project Cambodia 2009 (Arts)
When: 10 August 2009 – 25 August 2009
Where: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Executive Summary
Project Cambodia 2009 (PC09) aspires to help renew interest in traditional Cambodian performing arts through the production of two outreach concerts in Phnom Penh. PC09 aims to use the rich cultural heritage as a means to provide youth with leadership opportunities and real inspiration to engage in their community.

Partnered with Cambodian Living Arts, PC09 hopes to innovate the presentation of traditional Cambodian dance and storytelling by incorporating elements of other contemporary performing arts styles. In creating a very dynamic program, the production will particularly appeal to youth and overall provide greater access to exciting arts for the wider community.

We envision the establishment of the first annual youth concert in Phnom Penh in celebration of traditional Cambodian arts. The annual concert will be independently owned by Cambodian youth of diverse social backgrounds.

Community Challenge

Cambodia’s recent and tragic past has left the country with a unique demographic. As a result of the genocide of 1975-1979, around forty-five percent of the current population are under 21 years of age. In addition, approximately ninety percent of Cambodia’s performing artists died during the Khmer Rouge regime, a devastating blow to all of Cambodia’s oral traditions. After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, this cultural tragedy was compounded by two subsequent decades of economic hardship, when very few of the surviving master performing artists could make a living performing or teaching.

PC09 will be based in central Phnom Penh. There are three central community needs, which PC09 seeks to tackle.

  • Insufficient personal development experience and leadership opportunities for many youth.
  • Waning appreciation of traditional Cambodian performing arts, particularly amongst younger generations. In addition, the lack of access to high quality performances of such arts throughout the community.
  • A lack of community-wide social events that attract people of all ages and backgrounds.

The project will directly target a group of selected youth of mixed social backgrounds, and indirectly target a wider audience through the outreach productions.

Objectives

The main objective of PC09 is to identify, encourage, and support Cambodian youth by creating an opportunity for these students to gain leadership and personal development skills and experience.

  • Empower youth and give them the tools to positively impact their community and culture.
  • Promote the development of performing arts by aiming to provide a solid platform for young Cambodian artists to experiment and expose their talents.
  • To equip Cambodian youth leaders with skills to engage in their society in any given discipline.

Approaches

1. Workshops

Similar to several previous SEALNet projects, PC09 will run a series of youth leadership workshops with a group of 15-20 high school students selected from local high schools.

  • The workshops will run over 10-12 days designed by the SEALNet team members with the guidance of professional mentors.
  • Workshops will cover areas such as communication skills, team-building and initiative-taking, basic entrepreneurship, event-planning, marketing and self-evaluation.
  • The workshops aim to equip the students with the necessary skill-base to complete tasks related to the production of two outreach concerts.

2. Outreach concerts

The production of two outreach concerts performed primarily by street youth trained by Cambodian Living Arts, Phnom Penh and the Compass dance troupe.

  • The concerts will involve 5 performance items focused on traditional Khmer dance and storytelling, incorporating other modern elements or themes.
  • Students’ responsibilities will include designing publicity materials, giving interviews, school staff liaison, local advertising, media liaison, MC-ing, venue preparation, program design, supervision of performers and ushering.
  • With a re-vamped and dynamic presentation of traditional Cambodian arts, we hope to attract a large and diverse audience of all ages and backgrounds by reaching out to the education and arts sectors, the non-profit community, friends and family of the participants.

3. Exhibition corner

In addition to the performance itself, PC09 would like to create an educational installation, ‘exhibition corner’, at the concert venue to hold a reception for concert guests.

  • The exhibition corner will comprise a series of panels displaying information about the history of Cambodian performing arts, CLA, SEALNet and the motivation for the event, plus information on other non-profit partners.
  • PC09 students will also have opportunity to practise their public-speaking skills at the exhibition corner by providing mini-tours to groups of concert guests.

Ultimately PC09 seeks to empower local youth to help create the first annual national youth concert developing traditional Cambodian performing art forms:

  • Inspired by youth. Designed by youth. Performed by youth.

Local Partners

We have identified a number of local partners who we hope to collaborate with, to select student participants, and enable our concerts to be successful. The main two are:

  • Cambodian Living Arts (CLA) – Non-profit organisation dedicated to the revival of traditional Cambodian art forms through the education of street youth.

CLA will provide many performers from their own program. They will also aid the design of the performance program in collaboration with a creative team.

  • Compass Dance – Young Cambodian dance troupe dedicated to developing contemporary Cambodian dance forms, based on classical training.

A Compass member, Kethya, has been commissioned as our creative/artistic director, and may involve other members on her creative team. Kethya will also be overseeing the production rehearsal schedule and training.

Team Member Responsibilities

The responsibility of our team members will vary according to their skill set, interests, and the needs of our local production partners. These responsibilities may include:

  • Designing, planning, and teaching leadership workshops to local Cambodian students
  • Mentoring and inspiring local Cambodian students on ways to engage with their community
  • Handling production and performance logistics
  • Liaising with local media in order to promote community awareness
  • Creating and overseeing publicity campaigns and performance advertisement
  • Helping to nurture a sense of ownership among Cambodian youth, performers, partners, and other team members

PC09 is an opportunity for team members to make a direct difference in the lives of Cambodian youth. As a member, you will get the opportunity to experience first-hand development in Cambodia, as well as learning about the arts, culture, and people in a unique and wide-reaching program.

Skills Required

  • Experience or a strong interest related to performing/visual arts, and/or leadership education
  • Previous work/volunteer experience with NPOs, community groups etc.
  • Demonstrated leadership capacity and ability to take initiative
  • Demonstrated ability to work in teams
  • Excellent communication and organizational skills
  • Existing knowledge/interest in Cambodia
  • Strong sense of passion, creativity, and enthusiasm

Notes
If you have any additional production skills, useful contacts, or creative ideas, please include these in your application. We would love to incorporate any new ideas in our creative process so let us know!

Project Leaders

  • Annemieke Wilcox: annemieke ‘at’ sealnetonline.org
  • Zoë Ng: zoe ‘at’ sealnetonline.org