| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
SMP has adopted a multi-pronged strategy of going to places where the people frequent and live in and capturing their memories in situ. A snapshot of some of the approaches implemented are:
• To reach out to the older generation, SMP has organised, in collaboration with the communities, roadshows in the public housing estates. These roadshows are large scale carnivals where residents of the communities play the games of yesteryear, watch performances of artistes and contribute their memories by telling stories or sharing their treasured photo collections.
• Touchpoints include:
• Public libraries – Singapore has one of the most visited libraries in the world – are another popular touchpoint for memory contributions. Between September and December 2012, the SMP conducted a collection exercise through the 25 public libraries and collected more than 50,000 memories from the library members and visitors, capturing their fond memories of the neighbourhoods they live in and the libraries they frequent.
• The National Day Parade - At this largest national event of the year, memories are collected from the spectators as they watch and celebrate Singapore’s independence.
• Partners and volunteers: SMP has also leveraged on more than 170 partners including schools, community clubs and MediaCorp – Singapore’s leading broadcast and media company. MediaCorp recently launched a television, radio and web campaign entitled “My Story” to capture memories of Singaporeans across generations.
An outline of the implementation schedule for the SMP initiatives and activities, since 2011, is as follows:
– Launch of the SMP by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
- irememberSG Facebook and blog
– Launch of singaporememory.sg portal
- SMP national ad campaign
- iremembermySchoolDays campaign launched, in collaboration with Ministry of Education.
- iremembermySchoolDays competition
- Launch of SG Memory iOS application
- iremember goes to Toa Payoh roadshow
- irememberMENDAKI campaign
- irememberMerlion campaign
- Singapore Day 2012 roadshow, in New York
- iremember goes to Yuhua roadshow
- irememberGoodFood campaign
- irememberSocialServices, in collaboration with National Council of Social Services
- irememberNationalDay campaign, in collaboration with National Day Parade 2012 organising committee
- “A collection of our Shared Memories” exhibition, in collaboration with Lianhe Zaobao.
- My Library.My Home campaign, in collaboration with Public Libraries
– iremember goes to Kolam Ayer” roadshow, in conjunction with the Mid-Autumn Festival 2012 on 29 September.
- irememberDoingGood campaign, in collaboration with the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre
- irememberScience Centre campaign, in collaboration with Science Centre Singapore
- irememberChineseNewYear campaign
- Showcase: My Library.My Home, at 25 Public Libraries
- irememberParks campaign, in collaboration with National Parks Board
- iremember goes to Tampines roadshow, in collaboration with Tampines Town Hub and Tampines Group Representation Constituency
- iremember goes to Paya Lebar roadshow, in collaboration with Paya Lebar-Kovan Community Club
- irememberKKH, in collaboration with KK Hospital
- “Our Memories” photo album competition, in collaboration with ITE College West
- Showcase: Hands - Gift of a Generation exhibition
- Awesome memories of yesteryear initiative, targeted at primary and secondary schools
- SMP Memory kit distribution to partners, Memory Corps and schools
- Launch of iremembersg funding scheme
- irememberBookstores @ Bras Basah Complex, in collaboration with Chou Sing Chu Foundation and Popular Book Co.
- Launch: Memories of reading, books and bookstores, in collaboration with Public Libraries, Chou Sing Chu Foundation and bookstores (launch date to be confirmed)
- SMP Library launch (date to be confirmed)
- Singapore Day 2014 memory collection, in London
- Showcase: Memories of reading, books and bookstores, at the National Library
- Mega showcase, in conjunction with 50th birthday of Singapore, at the National Museum Singapore and various locations across the nation
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The achievement of national traction entails a whole-of-nation strategy where partnerships and relationships are forged with partners across the wide strata including public and private bodies, schools and academic institutions, societies, clan associations and even niche interest groups to help undertake campaigns to collect stories and memories from their members and target audiences. The establishment of this relationship forms a network that enables SMP to have constant exchanges and conversations with a wide spectrum of the population across the nation.
The SMP currently involves more than 170 partners ranging from government agencies, libraries, research institutions, community organisations, companies to individuals. Key organisations contributing to the project include the National Library Singapore, the National Archives of Singapore, the Singapore Press Holdings (Singapore’s largest newspaper publishing house), the libraries of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and the National University of Singapore, and even COMPASS (The Composers and Authors Society of Singapore). From these partnerships, institutional memories that have been collected include digitised copies of major newspapers such as The Straits Times, Singapore’s national newspaper, from its inception in 1845.
In addition, the SMP has a supportive pool of Memory Corps – volunteers who serve in various roles, such as helping individuals with difficulties documenting their memories, connecting the SMP to people with memories of key Singapore events, personalities and places and enrolling more volunteers to join the SMP cause.
The SMP Steering Committee is responsible for providing the strategic directions for the SMP. Chaired by the Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Information, the members of this Committee consist of representatives from government, non-government and private organisations. In addition, the Chief Executive and senior management of the National Library Board provides constant guidance to the SMP and carries out regular monitoring and review of the implementation status and outcomes achieved.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The SMP is supported through public funding provided by the Singapore Government
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Below are four outputs that contribute to the success of the initiative:
a. Building high level of awareness of the SMP
In the initial years of the project, the SMP launched an all-embracing engagement and outreach strategy to create a high level of awareness of the Project and to reach out to the masses. This was done through:
Active engagement of partners and organisation of collaborative memory collection campaigns with the partners.
Comprehensive and regular publicity and outreach strategy, through physical and online channels. This included a series of roadshows in various constituencies, memory collection campaigns and publicity through both traditional (on print media, broadcast and radio) and new media.
These concerted efforts have garnered positive benefits for the SMP as evident by the number of individuals and organisations which have come forward to initiate and lead memory collection projects, mostly utilising their own resources, targeting at people within their circles and networks.
b. Strong partnerships with organisations, groups and individuals
Recognising the need for strong partnerships with organisations, the SMP adopted an open door approach to encourage organisations, institutions as well as interest groups to come on board as partners of the SMP. To-date, the SMP has more than 170 partners who have lent their support in different ways, including running memory collection campaigns within their networks, contributing content from their archives or simply being SMP’s advocates and connecting the SMP to people or organisations with rich memories to share.
c. Active engagement with online community
SMP uses various social media platforms to engage the public and keep the Project in the mind share of the community. The SMP’s irememberSG Facebook page attracts a strong following and has a very active fan base of about 64,000 currently, ranking us among the top 100 Singapore brands with the highest online penetration rate locally. In terms of reach, our Facebook page reaches more than 1.6 million facebook account holders every month, achieving an 80% market penetration out of 2 million Singapore based accounts. In addition, the irememberSG has a presence on instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Youtube, enabling SMP to target a cross spectrum of online users as well as providing the community with convenient channels to share their personal memories.
d. Memory showcases that resonates
The memories collected by the SMP or its partners are curated and made accessible to the public via exhibitions, publications, film productions, etc. Examples of recent showcases include:
a) “My Home, My Library” exhibition which was held across 25 Public Libraries island-wide from March to April 2013. Each library featured heartwarming stories shared by the residents of their neighbourhoods they live in and the libraries they visit.
“Hands: Gift of a Generation” exhibition pays tribute to the struggles of early pioneers and celebrates the contributions of Singaporeans to the development of Singapore in the early years. More than 400 memories were displayed at the exhibition This exhibition, held in August and September 2013, at the National Library, touched the hearts of many visitors as evident by the many compliments received and the wide media coverage.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
A robust monitoring and evaluation system had been put in place for the SMP, ensuring that the project is on track and achieving its objectives and desired outcomes. This monitoring is done on a regular basis at three key levels:
i) At the strategic level, by the SMP Steering Committee, chaired by the Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Information, with members comprising representatives from government, non-government and private organisations. This Committee meets on a quarterly basis ensuring that the Project is achieving its desired objectives, provides inputs to and approves the strategic direction.
ii) At the planning and implementation level, NLB-SMP Management Meeting chaired by the Chief Executive, NLB with members consisting of key Group and Divisional Directors of NLB. This meeting, held monthly, provides directions to the team in the planning, prioritization and implementation of its initiatives as well as monitors the results and outcomes achieved.
iii) At the working or execution level, by the SMP Project and Budget Tracking Meeting, chaired by the Director, SMP, and attended by the Project Managers responsible for the various portfolios such as Engagement, Publishing and Production and Service Development. This Meeting is held monthly ensuring that the Project activities are on track, problems encountered are addressed on a timely basis and budget utilisation is closely monitored.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
One of the more challenging obstacles encountered was to get members of the public to contribute their memories on their own accord and submit them online to the Singapore Memory Project.
The elderly generation with rich memories of the past, are mostly not tech savvy and therefore not adept at using online channels to contribute their memories. To address this obstacle, we collaborated with schools and trained students and volunteers to be interviewers so that they could conduct interviews, document the memories of the seniors and put them up online. Also, to engage this senior group, the SMP held several roadshows in the suburban residential areas, making it convenient for the residents and the elderly to share their stories and photos.
While the tech savvy younger generation are more active online users, the SMP leveraged extensively on social media and the web such as Facebook and Instagram, Twitter and introduced the mobile App as well as partnered relevant organisations such as the Ministry of Education, schools and social organisations to reach out to the youths.
Recognising that memories can be expressed in many different ways, besides the written format, the SMP welcomed memories in various representations and formats such as through photography, drawings, illustrations, animation, film, documentary and publication. This also helped to entice more people, especially from the younger generation, to share their memories in different expressions.