Beyond Borderlanders: Universities Extending Their Role in Fostering Creative Partnerships Within Communities
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 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.
The regional campus of the Australian university of which we are part became the hub for this initiative. This negotiated arrangement 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; the effect this had on our own community partnerships; and a consideration of the creative partnerships discussed on the day. We conclude with a reflection of how these types of arrangements have the potential to reposition our university’s role in the local community, 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
Dr. (Ron) Kim Keamy
Senior Lecturer, Campus & Postgraduate Research Co-ordinator, Centre for Regional Education