Open Academy

The Open Academy programme was conceived by Jay Koh and Chu Chu Yuan as a learning programme that is responsive to social cultural contexts and specific learnersí needs. This corresponds to Koh and Chuís philosophy of creating projects that are responsive to cultural and contextual needs and conditions, and remobilizing available resources (funds, knowledge, people) to innovate and enhance forms of cultural productivity that are responsive and engaged with its context. (Visit for more details) At the core of its concept, it is an intervention of contemporary globalised, standardised and ubiquitous systems of cultural production and application which serves the interests of capital and creates dependency on established systems.

A basic problem of many contemporary educational (as well as organisational and production) systems and structures is that, they become, like all systems and structures over time, self preserving, bureaucratic, rigid and slow to respond to the changing conditions and needs of its learners. This, in our view, has produced much wastage and desolation in terms of human and creative resourcefulness and productivity in responding and connecting to their contexts. Open Academy aims to facilitate the understanding/ opening up of choices to participants, in activating the imagination towards visualising alternatives to current situations, and in facilitating the attainment of knowledge, skills, and access to resources and opportunities in order to realise these alternatives.


Myanmar / Burma: Yangon / Rangoon

The OA programme has been in operation in Myanmar since 2003, run by NICA in Yangon. Open Academy Myanmar was conceived as a response to the Burmese situation of isolation, poor education, and inaccessibility of outside information, knowledge and opportunities. It was an open platform to encourage and organize for foreign artists, art educators, curators, theatre practitioners, researchers etc. to go into Myanmar to share their knowledge, resources and to develop collaborations with Burmese artists, writers and young adults. Subjects responded to Burmese participantsí interest in being updated with current contemporary arts practices, research, writing and arts management.


Vietnam: Hanoi & Hue

Artists with Ryllega Gallery and the Dongson Today Foundation in Vietnam showed enthusiastic support for OA and worked together with Jay Koh to develop the proposal. After securing the support of Ford Foundation, Asia, OA Vietnam began the first semester in July 2008. The programme was run in 2 cities, Hanoi and Hue. The contents of the first sessions focused on contemporary art theory, arts management skills, development of concepts in writing and critical and analytical thinking, as subjects chosen by arts practitioners of Vietnam. The Hanoi's workshop was conducted by Chu Yuan and Jay Koh. The Hue's workshop was conducted by Jay Koh with support from Minh Phouc.


Duc's stilt House, Hanoi


Hue's Talks and Workshops


Mongolia: Ulaanbaatar

In Mongolia, OA also managed to garner the interest of local artists and organisations in Ulaanbaatar and the programme was launched in Sept 2008, with support from the Prince Claus Fund of The Netherlands. Jay Koh and Chu Yuan were in Ulaanbaatar from 28 Sept to 13th Oct 2008 to kick start the programme. They taught and conducted workshops on Introduction to Contemporary Art Practices, Professional Art Practice and Arts Management, with students and teachers of the Fine Art Institute of the Mongolian University of Arts and Culture as well as with local artists and cultural workers at the Blue Sun art centre.


The programme with artists covered Introduction to Contemporary Art Practices (2 lectures) and workshops on writing artistís profile and statements about art practice; making presentations about art practice; developing proposals for projects; applying for project funding and managing projects. The programme with art students covered Introduction to Contemporary Art Practices (2 lectures) and workshops on developing and working with concepts; playing with different ideas; working with meanings and memories of a site and selecting the most effective media and way of presenting their artworks.


With friendly support from


Sept.-Oct. 2008 with Chu Yuan and Jay Koh

Fine Art Institute's students

Performance workshop with students around monument


Blue Sun Art Centre


Presentation from Enkelbold


December 2008 with Deng Da Fei and Liu Qi Xiang




March 2009 with Robert Guth, Performances and Photography workshops


100 over images, Mongolian's wrestling as performances, eating sheep heads and sleeping in Jute under minus 20 C



April 2009 with Li Zhenhua and Zheng Yunhan


Video Diaries and documentations of journeys, activities and interviews




April / May 2009 with Ellen Pearlman, writings and introduction to conceptual works


Exclusive Report and the formation of the Arts Party for the coming election in May. Pdf 1MB


Open Academy meet Blue Sun Summer Art Camp, Gabriel de la Cruz Martin from Spain


September 2009 - Public & Participative Art workshop, "Let's Talk" with Chu Yuan and Jay Koh