This report maps art and cultural collectives in Malaysia, with a particular focus on creative hubs in urban areas. It details the lineage of the collectives in the Malaysian context, as well as the ecology, role and impact of creative hubs.
The report is divided into three parts:
Part I: Collectives and Creative Hubs
The first part is arranged along political, social and economic trajectories of Malaysia from 1950s to 2000s. Based on discussions with collectives and data from research on art groups, definitions and categorisations for creative hubs in Malaysia are developed.
Part II: The Arts and Cultural Ecology
This part examines the environments and infrastructures within which Malaysian art collectives work. This includes identifying agencies supporting art and cultural work as well as forms of support such as government grants, sponsorships and institutional grants. From there, the research considers arts education in Malaysia, an area which also influences the development of art and culture in Malaysia. The report outlines formal and non-formal education, and the role creative hubs play in engaging with education.
Part III: The Role and Impact of Creative Hubs
The final part identifies the key traits exhibited by creative hubs. The case study approach is taken in this section catering to the diversity of the art landscape in Malaysia. The research finds Malaysian creative hubs to be inherently multi-disciplinary — employing a multitude of skill sets in their operations, the hubs are organised in different ways and operate under varying models. As a whole, they collectively continue to cultivate self-supporting networks.
The report concludes by identifying knowledge gaps, including a call to acknowledge the various models used by creative hubs and a proposition for collectivism to expand beyond existing silos of arts disciplines.


Commissioned by the British Council and Yayasan Sime Darby in 2020, this report is the result of a Hubs For Good scholarship granted to Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Arts research assistant, Clarissa Lim. The research comprises fieldwork, interviews, and in-depth analysis of over 100 Malaysian creative hubs and their ecosystem. There may be limitations to the scope of this report as it was written during the Covid-19 pandemic. Interviews with practitioners were conducted online, targeting creative hubs with internet access, which are typically situated in urban areas.


Author: Clarissa Lim Kye Lee, Roslina Ismail, Poon Chiew Hwa, Florence Lambert
Editor: June Tan
Research Project Leader: Roslina Ismail, Florence Lambert
Co-Researcher: Poon Chiew Hwa, Erica Choong
Research Team: Clarissa Lim Kye Lee, Husna Khaidil, Ali Alasri
Layout: Bryan Chang