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Art and design higher education leaders unveil virtual Shared Campus

Panel of signatories at a table
Panel of signatories at a table
UAL's Natalie Brett and partner co-signatories at Shared Campus launch, Zurich, December 2019. Photo by Fred Meller.
Written by
Cat Cooper
Published date
10 December 2019

Seven art and design higher education institutions bringing together London, Zurich, Singapore, Taipei, Kyoto and Hong Kong have launched Shared Campus; a united university concept to collaborate on creative education, research and knowledge production across multiple countries. Spearheading an ecologically sustainable, cross-cultural digital university model, Shared Campus partners will build up collective knowledge by connecting their shared interests, competencies, resources and infrastructures to form a virtual campus.

Based on borderless creative knowledge and values, the project marks the beginning of an education model of worldwide day to day collaboration on global issues.

With a two-year inception phase starting in December 2019, the partners will co-develop activities and tools in support of progressive teaching and learning approaches, addressing cross-disciplinary themes of international relevance. In the longer term, students at the individual institutions will be able to access innovative student mobility and learning experiences, including joint study projects, co-teaching events, digital exchange and online classrooms.

Founding partners

Shared Campus has evolved out of several years of close working relationships between seven leading arts higher education institutions:

  • University of the Arts London
  • Zurich University of the Arts
  • City University Of Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong Baptist University
  • Kyoto Seika University, Japan
  • Lasalle College Of The Arts, Singapore
  • Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan

Natalie Brett, UAL Pro-Vice Chancellor, International and Head of London College of Communication:

Shared Campus is a great initiative that offers the opportunity for us as international arts institutions to collaborate and challenge within and outside of our practices. We can use the forum of Shared Campus to extend into a truly global arena with all that offers to our students and staff both as influencers and collaborators.

The official launch and conference for Shared Campus took place 5-7 December 2019 at Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland. UAL was represented by Natalie Brett, Pro-Vice Chancellor, International and Head of London College of Communication; Jeremy Till, Pro-Vice Chancellor Research and Head of Central Saint Martins, who leads UAL’s response to the climate emergency and Paul Haywood, Dean of Academic Programmes, Central Saint Martins, UAL who leads the Shared Campus project on behalf of UAL.

Professor Jeremy Till shared personal and institutional ambitions for the initiative at a conference panel talk:

Our students present a collective hope in the face of the democratic deficit, climate emergency and rising social inequalities. These problems demand systemic change, they demand new narratives. These are exactly what come out from art schools: the envisioning of ways of being together, of making things otherwise, of engaging with the human and non-human world.

Five themes

Shared Campus is based around five themes: Critical Ecologies, Creative Practices in Social Transformation, Pop Cultures, Cultures, Histories and Futures, and Tools. The themes will be developed and curated across a range of formats including summer schools, symposia, conferences research networks, teaching exchanges and semester programmes. These will potentially involve other institutions coming on board as ‘thematic’ partners.

Thomas D. Meier, President, Zurich University of the Arts:

We will share, provide and invest resources to lay the foundation for preparing the next generation of creative practitioners for the tasks and challenges awaiting them in the future, where transcultural collaboration and communing knowledge will be a matter of course.

UAL’s institutional ambitions for the project include the production of future-facing learning, teaching and research exchange; the provision of responsive transcultural education that reflects emerging hybrid and collaborative interdisciplinary themes and enhanced student-centred digital and physical learning environments.

UAL has strategic international partnerships and links with institutions around the world, engaging with higher education institutions, cultural organisations, business and governments, to create new networks to sustain the global creative economy. Earlier this year, UAL signed its first European city partnership with Bilbao, to progress areas of common strategic interest in support of the development of the vibrant creative economy of the Basque Country.

UAL's Natalie Brett pictured at the launch of Shared Campus, Zurich, December 2019. Photo by Fred Meller.