Even as he said it, Austin Kleon acknowledged it may be a little extreme: “If your work isn’t online it doesn’t exist”. This has become a 21st century truism for creatives, especially emerging artists and designers who Kleon urges to stop wasting “their time ‘networking'” and instead take “advantage of the network” (p.2).

 This is easier said than done of course, especially early in a career, but many innovative educational organizations are now using the heft and scope of their network to bring students’ work to the world. The dynamics of effective partnering are informing the infrastructure build, policies and processes of many education schools who recognize the value of partnering with their current students and alumni. Globally, there are many great examples of online showcases of student work. 

·         LASALLE College of the Arts (Singapore) partners with students to present art in the annual LASALLE Show live and online including music performances from the School of Contemporary Music streamed live via YouTube.

·         The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland also live streams performances in partnership with students: RCS At Home

·         The National Institute of Dramatic Art (Australia) created the Digital Theatre Festival in 2020, comprised of six world premieres, specifically for the online space, with students collaborating with teachers and practitioners.

·         The New School (USA) involves students, alumni and faculty in Research and Creative Practice, including The New School Collaboratory, a university-wide initiative to co-produce knowledge with students and communities through a digital hub.

 There are two aspects to these partnering initiatives to note. Firstly, they are acts of generosity. A generosity of creative endeavor and resources by current students, the institution, staff, alumni, prospective students, and industry bodies. Also, these gestures of generosity serve to establish and enliven the relationships between the known parties, such as current students and alumni, and between the world’s many unknown parties (with an internet connection). This opening up of generosity to drive relationships stands as part of education’s ‘new normal’. The relative simplicity of a closed classroom with a small number of students is being replaced by the daunting complexity of a new normal which embraces numbers at scale, layered stakeholder relationships and above all, generosity.


Dr Amanda Morris, Director, Higher Education Engagement, Kadenze, Inc.

Credit for Image: Clay Banks on Unsplash