Education at all levels is awash with the language of the need for partnerships, and this extends to universities although teacher educators in universities, by way of example, are seen as ‘borderlanders’ (Jasman, Payne, Grundy & Del Borrello, 1998) or ‘living in ivory towers’. University educators are often considered to be apart from the communities in which they are physically situated and this perception sometimes creates tensions between them and other community practitioners.
A one-day conference was organised by La Trobe University’s Albury-Wodonga Campus in conjunction with Victoria’s Cultural Development Network and a number of local government and educational agencies to provide a space for those involved – to not only hear how creative partnerships were already working in North-East Victoria (Australia), but also provide opportunities to develop new partnerships. The conference had a practical focus and enabled participants from a broad cross-section of agencies – schools; adult education; higher education; local government; and state-wide agencies – to learn about creative partnerships from across sectors.
This negotiated arrangement between the University and the Cultural Development Network built on our established networks and knowledge of partnerships in the local community. Those attending were provided with current research and government policy relating to creative partnerships. Following this the participants became the experts and demonstrated how they had shaped communities and partnership arrangements within their respective contexts.
In this paper we outline the role that we, as educators in a university setting, played to enable this event to occur; and a consideration of the types of creative partnerships discussed on the day. The major emphasis is on the potential that exists for university-community partnerships and we conclude with a reflection of how these types of arrangements have the potential to reposition our university’s role in the local community beyond university-school partnerships, and how university educators might reduce the perception that they are either ‘ivory towers’ or ‘borderlanders’.
|Keywords:||Creative Partnerships, Universities, Schools, Cultural Development, Community|
Lecturer, Centre for Regional Education, Faculty of Education, La Trobe University, Wodonga, Victoria, Australia
Senior Lecturer, Campus & Postgraduate Research Co-ordinator, Centre for Regional Education, Faculty of Education, La Trobe University, Wodonga, Victoria, Australia
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