National Heritage Board launches first Heritage Activation Node in Katong-Joo Chiat

by | April 13, 2024

Working with community partners, there are over 25 programmes for everyone to enjoy.


The character of a neighbourhood is defined by its spaces, the activities that take place at such spaces, and the people who live, work and play in each neighbourhood. The National Heritage Board (NHB)’s new Heritage Activation Node (HAN) initiative shines the spotlight on these three aspects and empowers the community to celebrate and champion the heritage of their neighbourhoods.

The inaugural HAN (HAN @ Katong-Joo Chiat) will be launched in the Katong-Joo Chiat precinct, renowned for its multicultural heritage, colourful shophouses, and heritage restaurants and eateries. HAN @ Katong-Joo Chiat marks the first in a series of HANs which will be introduced in various neighbourhoods from this year, with each unique and tailored to the needs and characters of these neighbourhoods.

NHB’s HAN initiative will enable the community to celebrate and champion their neighbourhoods’ heritage in a sustained manner through partnerships with community groups. These include heritage interest group Katong Culture and other community groups such as Eurasian Association and Haig Road Hawkers and Merchants Association for HAN @ Katong-Joo Chiat.

Each HAN will showcase a neighbourhood’s unique heritage and enliven them through three complementary strands: Heritage Spaces, encompassing heritage and cultural infrastructure; Heritage Programming, including guided trails, workshops, exhibitions, etc; and Heritage Champions, comprising volunteers who will be involved in various projects and programmes. The nodes will leverage existing heritage assets and complement them with brand-new heritage offerings to provide a regular stream of heritage events and activities for all to enjoy. Moreover, each HAN will be unique, with offerings that differ according to the place, history and heritage of individual neighbourhoods, and the contributions from community partners.

To commemorate the inaugural HAN @ Katong-Joo Chiat, a launch festival will be held on April 20 and 21. The festival will feature a line-up of over 25 programmes co-organised with more than 20 partners, including a new mural at Joo Chiat Community Club, a community heritage art creation activity, a Tok Panjang experience, cultural performances, workshops, guided heritage trails, an interactive HiddenSG @ Katong-Joo Chiat game with attractive prizes, and more. Beyond the launch festival, various offerings focused on Katong-Joo Chiat’s heritage will be available regularly.

Alvin Tan, deputy chief executive (policy & community), NHB said: “Through NHB’s Heritage Activation Nodes, we hope to seed more heritage touchpoints in more neighbourhoods and to enliven these neighbourhoods through infrastructural interventions and regular programming. We also hope to create a growing network of community partners island-wide and to encourage greater community ownership through our heritage champions and our public call for collaborations.”

NHB’s HAN initiative is a key part of its ongoing efforts under Our SG Heritage Plan 2.0 to empower the community to be involved in the exploration and celebration of our heritage, and to provide more opportunities for collaborative creation of heritage-related content and projects.

Under this initiative, NHB will also train and build the capabilities of Heritage Champions – a group of community volunteers from not just the neighbourhoods where the HANs are based, but also across Singapore – to equip them with the relevant knowledge and skills for their volunteering journey, and enable them to develop and manage heritage offerings on a regular and sustained basis. Following an open call for volunteers in October 2023, NHB has received interest from a diverse range of over 250 individuals to volunteer for and be involved in the HAN initiative.

Heritage Champion and Katong Joo-Chiat resident Tan Li Ming said: “Having lived in the area since birth, I have always loved sharing my neighbourhood’s heritage and hidden gems with my friends and family. The launch of the first HAN in Katong-Joo Chiat thrilled me and I promptly signed up to be a volunteer. The invaluable volunteer trainings prepared me to guide one of the trail programmes and connect with passionate volunteers, fostering camaraderie and community spirit among those invested in the Katong-Joo Chiat neighbourhood.”

For more information on HAN @ Katong-Joo Chiat, please visit


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