Beyond Borderlanders: Universities Extending their Role in Fostering Creative Partnerships within Communities

By Mark Selkrig and (Ron) Kim Keamy.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp.185-196. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.304MB).

Mark Selkrig

Lecturer, Centre for Regional Education, Faculty of Education, La Trobe University, Wodonga, Victoria, Australia

Mark lectures in the Centre of Regional Education at the Albury –Wodonga Campus of La Trobe University where he coordinates and teaches post graduate programs in Art, Community and Cultural Education. He also teaches in the Graduate Diploma in Education (P-12). Subjects taught by Mark include Visual Arts, Contexts of Art Education, Health, ICT, Using Multimedia for Learning, Intercultural Communication and Issues in Education. Mark also continues to work as a practising artist, exhibiting work nationally and internationally as well as working in community art projects. Mark’s research interests include: powerful learning through the Arts; cultural education and visual arts; communities of learning; inter-relational learning in education settings; middle years of schooling; and gender and sexualities. He is currently undertaking doctoral studies related to the meanings that occur for artists when they involve themselves in socially engaging participatory arts education practice.

Dr. (Ron) Kim Keamy

Senior Lecturer, Campus & Postgraduate Research Co-ordinator, Centre for Regional Education, Faculty of Education, La Trobe University, Wodonga, Victoria, Australia

Kim is Campus Co-ordinator for the Centre for Regional Education at the Albury-Wodonga Campus of La Trobe University, having previously taught in a variety of educational settings that include primary education, physical education, drama, special education, prison education, adult education and Aboriginal education. As well as teaching in pre-service teacher education programs, Kim convenes a number of adult education programs and is the Postgraduate Research Co-ordinator, supervising masters and doctoral candidates. Kim’s research interests are in the areas of educational leadership; pedagogy; middle years of schooling, and personalising education.


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