The Faculty of Arts strengthens ties in China
25 October 2010
A delegation of senior academics from the Faculty of Arts has forged stronger ties with their Chinese counterparts, in a series of events across China.
As part of an ongoing commitment to promote research projects and future collaborations in the region, faculty representatives met with colleagues in China to discuss the future of the humanities and social sciences disciplines in both countries.
The Dean of Arts, Professor Duncan Ivison, has praised the trip as a chance to further the faculty's already strong commitment to the Asian region and develop meaningful, ongoing ties with leading Chinese Universities.
"We are engaging with some of the best Universities in China, with superb expertise in the humanities and social sciences, and we are working to develop joint research and teaching programs with them," he said.
"It is an exciting time for our disciplines."
Among faculty activities in a raft of events on the busy nation-wide schedule were several appearances at the Shanghai World Expo, forming part of the University's participation across the six-month Expo as a gold sponsor.
The Expo's final week saw the faculty lead the Frontiers of Knowledge Symposium: Meeting the Needs of Teachers and Social Workers, event at the InterContinental Shanghai Expo Hotel on 21 October, in conjunction with its involvement in another symposium, on the topic of University reform; also held at the Expo the following day, and featuring a keynote speech from the University of Sydney's, Vice-Chancellor, Dr Michael Spence.
Faculty of Arts academics presented and engaged in panel discussions on the topic alongside colleagues from Fudan University, Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Shanghai Academia of Social Sciences, with representatives from Suzhou Higher Education Park and the Australian Consul-General in Shanghai, Tom Connor, in attandance.
Head of the School of Languages and Culture at the University of Sydney, Professor Jeffrey Riegel, chaired this symposium and considers the faculty's China trip a great opportunity to further foster the role of the liberal arts in both nations.
"These activities will strengthen our collaborative research ties with colleagues in China and will showcase the depth of our commitment, to doing research on China and Asia more generally," he said.
In addition to these symposia, the Faculty of Arts assisted the University in facilitating two Commonwealth Roundtable discussions at the Shanghai World Expo for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Scholars from the faculty participated alongside representatives from institutions across Australia and China to discuss the topics of World Cultural Heritage and China Studies.
A separate Roundtable on Archaeology was also held at the Australian Pavilion of the Shanghai World Expo on 17 October, where archaeological specialists on China and Southeast Asia from the University of Sydney presented their findings.
In addition to the Expo, faculty academics exchanged papers on Political Philosophy with their counterparts at Institute of Advanced Studies at Fudan University on 21 October; this dual presentation forged a foundation for considering further opportunities to collaborate in the humanities and social sciences between both institutions. Further, lectures and joint symposia were held with senior colleagues at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
This followed on from the faculty signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (IA CASS), in Beijing on 19 October. As the leading research institute in the area of Archaeology in China, IA CASS has a fifty-year history conducting fieldwork in most of the provinces across China. The five-year agreement will nurture future collaborative opportunities with the Institute.
Enhanced rapport between the Faculty of Arts and our Chinese counterparts has been further strengthened with the signing of another MOU between the Department of Media and Communications and the School of Public Health at Sydney, and the Schools of Journalism and Public Health at Fudan University.
Under this agreement, Master of Arts (Journalism) and Master of Arts (Public Health) students from Fudan University can study a Masters of Health Communications at the University of Sydney, and see it awarded under a "Dual Masters Degrees" arrangement.
Chair of the Department of Media and Communications and faculty delegate in China, Dr Steven Maras, says the agreement is the product of a series of Departmental visits to Fudan since 2006 and establishes a "pathway" for Chinese students to experience the Sydney program.
"We are proud of this degree as a unique collaboration filling a particular gap and also building on areas of research strength," he said.
A one-off "MA Health Communications" scholarship has also been created under the MOU through joint funding from the Faculty of Arts, the School of Letters, Art and Media together with the Faculty of Medicine and the School of Public Health.
The faculty delegation has now moved on to Hong Kong to participate in another Forum with the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong.
Academics who have participated in aspects of the China delegation include: Professor Duncan Ivison (Dean), Professor David Goodman (China Studies Centre and Faculty of Arts, Associate Dean, International), Professor Jeffrey Riegel (Head, School of Languages and Cultures), Professor Simon Tormey (Head, School of Social and Political Sciences), Professor Glenda Sluga (Head, School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry), Dr Catriona Elder (Sociology), and Professor Hans Hendrischke (Confucius Institute).