Strengthening International Partnerships and Collaborations in the Absence of Global Mobility: A Case Study

Dr Drew Pettifer (RMIT University) Jaffa Lam (Hong Kong Art School)
2021 Conference

This paper examines a series of innovations and adjustments applied to the joint delivery of RMIT University’s Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) program (BAFA) in partnership with Hong Kong Art School (HKAS) in response to the impacts of COVID-19 and the social situation in Hong Kong. Ordinarily, Melbourne RMIT staff would travel to Hong Kong twice a year to deliver face-to-face teaching intensives with local Hong Kong students. HKAS delivers the balance of teaching. For the first time in the 23-year history of this partnership, international travel restrictions have prevented Australian staff from delivering the program in Hong Kong in person. In response RMIT and HKAS have devised a range of impactful strategies for building upon this deep, mature partnership, including: adjustments to strategic goals; concurrent (face-to-face and online) delivery; new strategies for student exchange and engagement (including a joint online project with onshore students); new digital ways for staff to network and share ideas across institutions; and, reinforcing the long-term special relationship between partner institutes through a triangulated approach linking up other relationships each institution has in the region. This paper argues that a range of strategies and opportunities exist for extending global networks and partnerships within current geopolitical constraints and provides examples of strategies that have proved successful for the RMIT BAFA program in Hong Kong.

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About the author

Dr Drew Pettifer

Dr Drew Pettifer is an artist and a senior lecturer in the School of Art at RMIT University where he currently leads the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) program.


Jaffa Laam Lam

Jaffa Laam Lam is an artist and the Academic Head of Hong Kong Art School.