Bath Spa unites creative minds

Bath Spa University recently played host to higher education institutions from across the world looking to boost the liberal arts

The event was part of a new global network of creativity, spanning national and cultural boundaries.

The Global Academy of Liberal Arts (GALA) is the first collaboration of its kind, bringing together a diverse range of liberal arts providers from around the world.

Members include the Communications University of China, Tec de Monterrey (Mexico), the Centre for the Humanities at University of Utrecht (the Netherlands), and the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology (Australia). Nine additional founding partners hail from North and South America, Australia, Asia and Europe.

Founded by Professor Christina Slade, Vice-Chancellor at Bath Spa University, GALA aims to create a global community of creative people to explore the relationship between creativity and social engagement.

The inaugural meeting of the network took place across two days at Bath Spa University. Leading academics brokered new collaborations in creativity inspired by landscape, in preparing students and graduates to work in the creative industries and in global citizenship and intercultural education.

Activities generated through the network will include student and staff exchange visits, study abroad programmes, such as summer schools, international work placements, virtual buddying and peer mentoring, and collaborative interdisciplinary research.

Professor Slade said: “We know that students who are socially engaged global citizens become successful graduates. By collaborating with established liberal arts providers across the arts and creative subjects, Bath Spa University, and all of the GALA partners, can create fantastic international opportunities for students and staff.

“For many countries, including the UK, the cultural industries are a major export, generating vital income and boosting economic growth. As the University of creativity, culture and enterprise, Bath Spa University is committed to developing globally aware and entrepreneurial students.”

As part of the meeting, Professor Elizabeth Coleman, Director of the Elizabeth Coleman Centre for the Advancement of Public Action, at Bennington College, USA, delivered a public keynote lecture looking at the responsibilities and potential legacy of liberal arts education.

She said: “I firmly believe that the promise of liberal arts education increases as the boundaries within it are removed or overcome. GALA has an exhilarating capacity to come up with new ways of working by applying international perspectives to cross-disciplinary themes. The potential benefits to students and wider society are huge.”


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