PARTNERSHIPS IN AN AGE OF ISOLATION
“We are drawn to these kinds of partnerships. And the most exciting thing is we don’t know all the benefits that partnership will bring, all the possibilities it opens. We recognize a confluence and we’re looking for a synergy, and we know that very often new things are created in collaboration and synthesis, rather than in isolation.” Those words were spoken by Ian Bickford, Provost of Fulbright University Vietnam, shortly before a groundbreaking joint program with The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre in Ho Chi Minh City, was regrettably delayed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as, like many countries around the world, self-confinement procedures were enforced.
And yet, for Ian, the global disruptions caused by the current health crisis have only further demonstrated the need for tighter bonds in our communities, and the necessity of creating meaning. “Society relies on structures of meaning to cohere. Those don’t come out of nowhere. They come out of the deliberate and painstaking work that artists and educators do to preserve knowledge and culture and to create new knowledge and new expressions of culture. The ways we benefit from that work are often invisible. But they are foundational to the way we experience what’s good in our shared society.
These institutions, individually, have never been more important and the partnerships between them have never been more powerful. We have to exist together, and this project proves Fulbright is committed to not going it alone.”
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