The Influence of Art on Singaporean Tertiary Undergraduates’ Acculturation Attitude towards Migrant Workers

Rajiv Aricat 1 *, Aw Qinxin 1, Mok Li Lin Beatrice 1, Sarah Amnah Bte Zaihan 1, Sharifah Nadzirah binte Syed Zulkifli 1, Arul Chib 1

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The aim of the study was to find out how visual art could be effectively used in a social integration campaign among youth in Singapore. The study used both quantitative and qualitative methods with the aim of evaluating an art campaign‟s effect on Singaporean tertiary students‟ (N=113) attitude towards migrant workers in their country. Three factors were used to define the host society‟s acculturation orientation towards migrant outgroups: national identity, multicultural ideology and perceived consequences of immigration. Questionnaire survey was conducted among experimental and control groups before and after an art exhibition in which the plight of foreign workers were depicted using visual sketches. Only „national identity‟ emerged significant in host society‟s treatment of migrants. Focus group discussions revealed that the artworks were differentially evaluated by the respondents: some felt the need to understand the migrant workers‟ issues more closely, whereas others completely failed to relate to the workers‟ conditions. Based on Elaboration Likelihood Model, it was observed that the respondents widely resorted to peripheral elaboration of the message, which resulted in minimal rational engagement with the core message. The study highlights the importance of interactive mediums and face-toface sharing sessions as additional tools to make social integration campaigns effective.


migrant workers host society acculturation visual art social integration campaign Elaboration Likelihood Model


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp. 148-172

Published Online: 25 Jan 2014

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