On the 7 to 14 March 2015, the British High Commission Singapore and the British Council hosted the first ever GREAT British Week in Singapore. The programme that was themed ‘Knowledge is GREAT Britain’ focused on innovation, creativity and education, which are the key pillars of the knowledge economy for both United Kingdom (UK) and Singapore. The inaugural GREAT British Week did not only serve as a platform for companies from both countries to share ideas and form new connections but it was also an opportunity to promote a greater understanding of the common heritage and future collaborations between the UK and Singapore. The one-week programme which saw an estimated of 5000 people in attendance comprised of 28 events including exhibitions, a trade mission, network receptions, public lectures, workshops and panel discussions.

Innovation – The full-scale model of the Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC), displayed for the entire duration of the GREAT British Week was used as a main attraction at the British Council’s Education UK Exhibition held at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre. The car was also used at the Open House Day for Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) where it was well-received. Adding on, the SSC made its appearance again at the Singapore Science Centre where Andy Green, the car’s driver Wing Commander spoke about the capabilities of the SSC in 2013. At the Innovation Forum: The UK and Singapore – Innovation and Research Partnership, future collaborations and successful partnerships were highlighted where in an example, UK organisations worked with Singapore to develop leading-edge science and commercial applications.

Creativity – There were workshops and panel discussions organised that featured some of Britain’s leading creativity industry figures such as Martyn Ware, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Dr Gareth Jones. The sessions drew on many successful UK case studies that demonstrated its focus on innovation to turn ideas into commercial opportunities. There was also a major exhibition on the work of the London-based Heatherwick Studio, which attracted many architecture enthusiasts. The exhibition titled Inside Heatherwick Studio kick-started its tour of five major cities in Asia in Singapore, which was on until the 12th April. Organised by the British Council and in collaboration with the GREAT Britain campaign, the exhibition highlighted the emergence of one of the world’s foremost new design talents.

Education – Aside from the Education UK Exhibition, British Council conducted writing workshops at Tanglin Trust School and a panel discussion at Art Science Museum on ‘Shaping the Future; Inside Creative Minds’ that featured Eco-architect, Jason Pomeroy, Andrew Grant the founder of Grant Associates and celebrity chef Tim Ross Watson. A lecture titled ‘Creativity within Employment’ conducted by the Principal of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Anthony Bowne, and Jamie Weaden, Kenwood’s senior industrial designer, got an estimated 40 members of the public to discuss and explore how innovative and creative thinking process can help to nurture talent within employment. 

All in all, the GREAT British Week was a tremendous success where it definitely allowed for the exchange of ideas and form new connections between UK and Singapore in innovation, creativity and education. 

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