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The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) invites scholars to apply for fellowships in:
1. Southeast Asian jewellery;
2. Southeast Asian Islamic art;
3. Austronesian art;
4. Peranakan art; and
5. Research relating to Asian port cities

The ACM prizes multi-disciplinary work, cross-cultural studies, and research on ongoing projects at the museum. Research related to the collections at the ACM would be an advantage.

The research fellowship supports in-depth original study and writing on specialised aspects of Asian culture. Applications will be screened by a committee of curators and scholars.

The application form is available here.

To learn more about the ACM collection, visit, which presents objects from the national collection.

For enquiries, please contact the ACM’s Research Unit at:

Applications close on 30 April 2017.

Guidelines for award

  • Research proposal

    The research proposal should clearly outline the area of study and justify how the proposal is relevant to the field, the ACM, and the researcher’s own work. If this proposal is part of a larger project or a collaborative work with another scholar or institution, this should be explained in the application.

    We prize multi-disciplinary work, cross-cultural studies, and research on ongoing projects at the ACM. The geographical areas of research should be Southeast Asia, South Asia, China, or the Islamic world.

  • Eligibility

    Applicants should have a PhD or be in the final stages of their dissertation. In addition, applicants with equivalent research qualifications and experience will be considered. Applicants should have completed the bulk of their field work on their proposed project, and be able to write and present papers in English.

  • Stipend

    The monthly stipend is S$5,000. Overseas researchers are offered a one-time grant of S$3,000 as a relocation allowance.

    Research fellows are liable for local taxes according to Singapore’s tax regulations. Please refer to the FAQs’ section for more details.

  • Award period and length of fellowship

    The standard duration of the fellowship is nine months (academic year). Candidates may also apply for a period of one semester (four months) or periods as short as one month. In exceptional cases, the fellowship may be extended for a second academic year.

    The start and finish period is flexible, though successful candidates are expected to commence their fellowships within the year of the award.

  • Duties of the research fellow

    Research fellows are required to spend most of their time in the ACM or at libraries and research facilities in Singapore. They should participate in the museum’s programmes and interact with curators and other staff.

    Research fellows should present a public lecture based on their work in progress. At the end of the fellowship period, research fellows will present a detailed report of their findings.

  • Selection process and criteria

    Applications will be evaluated for their originality, creativity, and how the proposed projects bear upon the annual themes as well as their connection with the ACM’s collections. In general, applicants may not hold another grant during the period of the ACM fellowship.

ACM Research Fellows

Rachel Loizeau
ACM Research Fellow, 2009-10

Rachel Loizeau obtained her PhD from the Paris IV Sorbonne University, Paris, in 2006. In 2007, she started working on the iconography of some early Cola temples located in the Kaveri Delta area. She expanded her research project on Hindu visual narratives to Southeast Asia and moved to Cambodia, where she studied the Khmer narrative traditions from 10th to 13th centuries. She was a research fellow at the Asian Civilisations Museum from 2009-10.

Rebecca Hall
ACM Research Fellow, 2009-10

Rebecca Hall has an ongoing interest in the local Buddhist arts of Southeast Asia. She obtained her PhD in Southeast Asian art history from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2008. Her dissertation, "Of Merit and Ancestors: Buddhist Banners in Northern Thailand and Laos," draws primarily from a year of fieldwork involving extensive travel in Northern Thailand and Laos to find and document banners, their functions, and local interpretations of meaning and use. Since then, she has expanded her research on Buddhist banners in Southeast Asia. She was a research fellow at the Asian Civilisations Museum from 2009-10.

Bessie Cecil
ACM Research Fellow, 2010-11

Bessie Cecil was a research fellow at the Asian Civilisations Museum from 2010-11. She obtained her PhD in Textile Design and Textile Conservation from the University of Madras, India, in 2009. She was a Nehru Visiting Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and a Fulbright Doctoral and Professional Fellow at the Florida State University, USA. Her research with the ACM was focused on trade textiles from Coromandel Coast to Southeast Asia.

Yao Chong Xin
ACM Research Fellow, 2011-12

Yao Chong Xin is professor of archaeology at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. He was Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Research Fellow at the Asian Civilisations Museum from 2011-12. At the ACM, he studied Guanyin imagery and belief in ancient China, as well as Buddhist imagery in ancient Southeast Asia. His publications include A Primary Study on Buddhist Sculptures in Bashu Area: Focusing on the Northern Sichuan (2011), and Studies on Arts, Religions in Medieval China and the History of Western Regions (2011).

Leedom Lefferts
ACM Research Fellow, 2011-12

Leedom Lefferts was Senior Research Fellow at the Asian Civilisations Museum from 2011-12. He is professor emeritus of anthropology, Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, USA, and research associate of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. He has authored numerous publications on textiles, ceramics and Buddhism in northeast Thailand, including "The Bun Phra Wet Painted Scrolls of Northeastern Thailand," in the Journal of the Walters Art Museum (2009).

Wajuppa Tossa
ACM Research Fellow, 2012-13

Associate Professor Wajuppa Tossa was a research fellow at the Asian Civilisations Museum from 2012-13. She has been teaching at the Mahasarakham University, Thailand, since 1978. A professional storyteller, she works to revitalise Thai/Lao folktales and that storytelling tradition. She has conducted storytelling workshops in the USA, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Iran, Scotland, Norway, and Indonesia. Her publications include Phadaeng Nang Ai (1990) and Phya Khankhaak, the Toad King (1996), Lao Folktales (2008), and parts of Telling Tales of Southeast Asia and Korea (2011).

Stephen A. Murphy
ACM Research Fellow, 2013-14

Stephen A. Murphy holds a PhD from the Department of History of Art and Archaeology, School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. His research focuses primarily on the material culture of early Buddhism in northeast Thailand and Laos, ca. 5th to 9th centuries CE. From October 2011 to October 2013, he was Research Associate for the exhibition, Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Century, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. During his research fellowship at the ACM, he studied objects in the museum’s Southeast Asian collections from the perspective of the creation of religious iconographies, and their political and cultural contexts. He is co-editor of Before Siam: Essays in Art and Archaeology (2014), an edited volume exploring the early history of Thailand, and is currently expanding his thesis for publication in book form titled, Buddhism in Northeast Thailand and Central Laos.

Frequently Asked Questions

How may I learn more about the ACM collection?
The ACM published parts of its collection in The Asian Civilisations Museum: A-Z Guide in 2003 (reprinted 2006). A similar guide to the Peranakan Museum was published in 2008. Various exhibition catalogues highlight specific areas of the collection as well. The website presents over 12,000 objects from the collection of the ACM, although this is not comprehensive.

What are the resources in Singapore available for my research?
The ACM offers the use of its library and collection as the primary resources to the scholar. The ACM also has interlibrary loan arrangements with the National Library of Singapore ( and with the libraries of the National University of Singapore ( and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (

Will airfare be covered?
Overseas scholars will receive a one-time relocation allowance of S$3,000, which includes airfare allowance. This relocation allowance will be given to the research fellow within the first week after the start of the fellowship.

Is accommodation provided on top of the stipend?
Accommodation is not provided. The stipend amount goes towards all discretionary expenses in Singapore, including accommodation, meals, local transport, medical insurance, etc. Stipends will be paid within seven days after the end of each completed month.

Does ACM provide hostel accommodation?
The ACM does not provide hostel accommodation. Research fellows are responsible for arranging their own accommodation.

May I ship my belongings to ACM?
ACM does not accept personal belongings and cannot be liable for them.

Do I need a special visa to enter Singapore?
Visitors from most countries do not need a special visa to enter Singapore, except for the countries listed on the website of the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. The Singapore tourist visa is for thirty days; within thirty days the research fellow will receive an employment pass.

When should I travel to Singapore in the event that I am awarded the fellowship?
Once the candidate is informed of his/her successful application, the National Heritage Board will arrange for the employment pass. As the award is subject to the successful application of the employment pass, it is not advisable for the research fellow to travel to Singapore until the employment pass is granted. Research fellows will be informed when the employment pass has been obtained, and at that time they can start making their travel arrangements.

Will I be taxed on the stipend?
Yes, research fellows are held liable to pay local taxes according to tax regulations in Singapore. The stipend for the final month will be withheld for a period of thirty days for taxation purposes. The withheld amount after taxes, will be returned to the research fellow after tax clearance from the local tax authority, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). Please refer to the website of IRAS for more information: