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Global initiative to support liberal arts subjects

Leading Liberal Arts providers from across the world, including from the UK, the USA, China, Australia, Poland, Canada and Mexico, have recently formed a collaborative venture, The Global Academy of Liberal Arts (GALA), which aims to bring together institutions around the world to reassert the position of liberal arts within global higher education against STEM subjects.

Professor Slade and delegates at the GALA inaugural meeting held at Bath Spa University

"This sort of collaboration will be a significant step towards making our students socially engaged global citizens"

The brainchild of Professor Christina Slade, Vice-Chancellor of Bath Spa University, GALA has 16 member institutions across the globe and met last month at an inaugural meeting at Bath Spa University to decide tangible outcomes.

GALA has a number of specific deliverables, ranging from collaborative interdisciplinary research projects, to student and staff exchanges, and virtual peer mentoring among partners.

Among the key outcomes of the inaugural meeting, GALA is proposing a digital framework for collaboration, and a distributed project of creative production entitled ‘Lost water’ as well as work across transnational creativity and the international language of curation.

“The ultimate aim of GALA is to reassert the value of non-STEM education and to support the role of creativity and culture in the global economy”

Slade told The PIE News: “The ultimate aim of GALA is to reassert the value of non-STEM education and to support the role of creativity and culture in the global economy.”

“I’ve had the idea of creating a global network of liberal arts organisations for some time, because I have a strong belief in the value of exploring the relationship between creativity and social engagement across national boundaries,” said Slade.

“In my view this sort of collaboration will be of huge benefit to staff, and will be a significant step towards making our students socially engaged global citizens,” she said.

Students themselves are also involved in the GALA projects. A number of student exchange and study abroad programmes will soon be available to students through the initiative.

“Increasingly funding bodies are recognising the value of genuine interdisciplinary collaborations,” said Slade. “I hope that at an international level the traditional ‘arts or sciences’ choice is becoming an outmoded concept.”

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