Students learn hands-on skills through ERT Arts workshops

18 October 2019

By Lim Tian Jiao 

Image by Lim Tian Jiao for Yale-NUS College.

In Yale-NUS College, students and staff alike have opportunities to develop hands-on skills beyond the curriculum, without leaving the campus.

A prime example of this is the “Wednesday Workshops”, a series organised by the Educational Resources & Technology (ERT) Department, targeted at teaching staff, faculty and students skills beyond the classroom. In September, the Wednesday Workshops conducted by ERT Arts staff introduced attendees to a range of activities, from laser engraving to carpentry and stage lighting, among others.

The ERT Arts staff are no strangers to hosting workshops, conducting regular as well as ad-hoc workshops when the need arises.

“Most of the time, when we receive a large number of emails asking us how to operate a certain tool, we’ll open up a workshop on the topic so a bigger group of students can learn about it,” commented Mr Niki Koh, a makerspace specialist at the Fabrication Studios. Mr Koh led a workshop on DIY laser engraving.

“For instance, we consistently receive enquiries on the use of 3D printers, so we run workshops on those fairly regularly.”

This sentiment was echoed by Mr Lutfi Saleh, who headed a workshop on stage lighting. Students and staff involved in the performing arts reach out to him throughout the year, seeking to learn more about the basics of stage lighting for their own productions.

As a result, Mr Lutfi holds periodic workshops to give attendees foundational knowledge in stage lighting. He added that he remains available to impart his expertise, should attendees wish to deepen their knowledge after.

One attendee at this year’s session, Bernard Boey (Class of 2022) was particularly inspired by the skills he acquired. As a student looking to participate in two Ballroom Dancing showcases and put up a musical within the next school year, Bernard felt that the workshop was helpful in equipping him with the necessary skills to put together the performances.

“This workshop provided me with technical knowledge about the Black Box lights,” he commented. “I also learnt about the considerations for choosing which lighting fixtures to use, as well as the importance of designing lights to fit the highs and lows of the accompanying music.”

Image by Lim Tian Jiao for Yale-NUS College.

In addition, these workshops also serve as a hook to pique attendees’ interest in the arts, with the hope that they will return to further explore the College’s creative facilities in future. For example, this semester’s carpentry session taught attendees how to make a bedside organiser. Although relatively simple, this project exposed attendees to a range of basic woodworking hand tools.

This element of curiosity and exploration was certainly displayed by Ms Tamilselvi Doraiswamy, a Laboratory Manager at Yale-NUS’ Science department who signed up for a DIY Laser Engraving session.

“I’ve always thought that the ERT workshops are interesting, and I finally arranged to have some time to attend one session,” Ms Selvi remarked. “A few months back, I approached the Fabrication Studio staff for custom wooden blocks for Science lab equipment, and they helped me to build them.”

“Attending this session is an opportunity for me to get an idea of the materials and facilities that the Studios have to offer for other lab-related projects.”

Overall, the workshops have been well-received by attendees. Zen Goh (Class of 2023), a participant in the laser engraving session said, “All in all, this was a fun experience where I learnt an interesting technical skill outside of the school curriculum. If I have time, I’ll definitely come back for another workshop in the future.”

Watch a video about the workshops below!



ERT Wednesday Workshops are hands-on learning experiences that enable students and staff to explore new tools and technologies, and to learn about the varied expertise and resources available to them at the College. Visit for more on these workshops.