The network aims to improve excellence in research and education through enhanced international collaboration.
SCM is one of the founding members of Shared Campus Network, along with Zürich University of the Arts (ZHdK), Taipei National University of the Arts, China Academy of Fine Art, University of the Arts London. "Nowadays, artists and designers are working in international context. They need to be genuinely committed and willing to debate ideas with a global framework.
The Ability to critically reflect on interconnected issues has become key to careers in the arts. For students to acquire these competencies, arts universities must internationalize and establish networks with partners who support and complement each other, to share resources, knowledge and experience, "reflects Prof. Thomas D. Meier, President of ZHdK. Shared Campus aims to develop joint education formats, like a shared framework for an MFA degree, and, digital learning platforms.
The network provides an institutional peer-group of art schools of international relevance, which not only provides international exposure for students, but fosters global benchmarking and synergies in teaching and research. "Shared Campus is a visionary network for international collaboration, which, thinking beyond COVID-19, represents the future of arts and design research and education that SCM is privileged to be a part of, "says Prof. Richard Allen, Dean of SCM.
Shared Campus continues pre-existing collaboration between SCM and ZHdK that started with undergraduate student exchange in the early 2010s. In 2013, ZHdK established the "Connecting Space Hong Kong Zurich" art space in North Point, Hong Kong. This multifunctional location hosted many events like seminars, exhibitions, concerts, and workshops involving colleagues from SCM and other like-minded institutions of higher education in the Hong Kong region and beyond. "SCM was an important collaborator right from the start, representing high quality standards in teaching and research and brining in highly motivated faculty and students.
Cross-cultural opportunities and issues are key to establishing long-term international programmes. Against the backdrop of current development, the history, cultural diversity and richness of Hong Kong offers a highly relevant contribution to this goal, "remarks Prof. Meier. In 2015, SCM and ZHdK begun collaboration on the post-graduate level, through the "Transcultural collaboration" project, in which students attend classes in multiple counties and institutions, in the culture in the region of their host institutions.
Their semester-long work culminates in an exhibition at one of the partner institutions. "I think it's a very open and welcoming environment that allows students to step out of their comfort zone and discover the creative possibilities hidden within cultural diversity and complexity," observes Mr. Warren Leung Chi Wo, Associate Professor at SCM, who has been instrumental in SCM's participation in Transcultural Collaboration.
The successes of Transcultural Collaboration partnership prompted a series of round-table discussions among the participating institutions that resulted in the present-day Shared Campus Network and culminated in the signing of the network agreement at the Shared Campus Launch Conference at ZHdK in December 2019, which also featured a presentation by Dr. Zheng Bo, Associate Professor at SCM. In Summer 2019, SCM hosted a Shared Campus summer school "Fabrication of Relics" organized by Mr. Leung and co-taught with Mr. William Davis of ZHdK. The course featured a number visiting lectures and workshops by local artists and practitioners, integrating Hong Kong perspectives in the course themes. In the same summer, SCM students participated in the "Hacking Global Pop Icons" summer school at ZHdK.
The activities of the network are organized under five cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural thematic groups consisting of colleagues from the network institutions: 'the "Social Transformation" cluster includes fields like socially engaged arts and social design. "Pop Cultures," a driving force of globalization, engages with both the global mainstream and local subcultures. "Critical Ecologies" is concerned with systems of life and the anthropocene, while "Cultures, Histories and Futures" concentrates issues of tradition and genealogy. The "Tools" group develops digital tools for Shared Campus and the future of art education, including a comprehensive digital platform and dialogical repository known as "KOKO-Next Generation (Academic) Journal,"explains Mr. Daniel Späti, Chair of the Shared Campus Project Team and Head of Transcultural Collaboration at ZHdK.
For summer 2019/20, Shared Campus network had planned two summer schools: "The Ghost in the Walls," to be held in Berlin and Zurich, and, "Hacking Global Pop Icons" to be held in London. As a consequence of the covid-19 pandemic, these were moved online. Upcoming Shared Campus activities at SCM include a curating workshop organized by Dr. Harald Kramer in November 2020, and new iterations of Transcultural Collaboration courses and summer schools. "We see Shared Campus as the most promising model to develop and implement long-term and sustainable education formats and research networks in an international context with the aim to further improve excellence of the Shared Campus partner institutions," notes Prof. Meier.