School of Creative

Nadia Ali Plifka

Nadia Ali Plifka

MA Arts Pedagogy and Practice
2020 — 2021

Nadia Ali is a singer and actress in Singapore who has been performing for 30 years. She is also an adjunct visual arts lecturer at LASALLE College of the Arts, a recipient of the Georgette Chen Scholarship and trained in fine arts with an honours degree from Central St Martins, UK. Nadia holds a Masters degree in Arts Pedagogy and Practice from Goldsmiths, University of London.


Teaching philosophy and research interests
As a multidisciplinary practitioner, she navigates between visual and performance art, exploring their interstitial similarities and differences by making connections and associations to further understand the process of creating.

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Thesis abstract

Exploring interoceptive awareness on emotive singing in informal vocal training

Klaus R. Scherer (1995) postulated that for a singer to be considered compelling in a performance, one of the most important factors would be the ability to induce an emotive portrayal of the song to affect the audience. He believed that regardless of technical mastery or the quality of the singer’s voice, it would not be “sufficient to move the audience to tears” (p. 243); it was the emotional involvement triggering an emotional state that mattered. It made me realise that after 30 years of professional singing, my singing process has become almost invisible and instinctive to me. It made me wonder, how does one evoke emotional feelings during singing? Drawing on Lucy Green’s (2002) informal learning practices and Kelly Mahler’s (2017) interoceptive awareness, I investigated the physiological changes induced by emotions, and correlated the findings to emotive singing. My research question was to see if emotional arousal affected vocal organs, and in return, affect the singing to move audiences. In other words, if I could locate where the emotions in the body reside, perhaps I could channel it more consciously through the voice. Methodologically, I used the case study method with three cycles of activities with 9 participants in all, all of whom could not sing. To heighten interoceptive awareness, I adapted the bodily maps of emotions (Nummenmaa et al, 2014) to a Body Sensing Map. After working through the breath and inducing four basic emotions, the participants experimented with visual stimuli. The findings showed that sight and vocalisation prevented the participants from tuning into the emotions, memories and bodily sensations, which therefore hindered the quality of their singing.

Work experience

2009 – 2020
LASALLE College of the Arts, Faculty of Creative Industries
Adjunct Lecturer

1998 – 2021
TV Actor and Singer/Musician

1994 – 1998
Matsushita, Panasonic
Electronic Engineer