Major projects and activities
Under its strategic plan of October 1998 the Education Committee agreed that support for Australian Studies activities in China should remain a key element of the Council's education program. The Council's Australian Studies program had been carefully researched, evaluated and developed over a number of years and continued to be well received in China. The Committee agreed that core programs should be continued in light of recommendations contained in the report on Australian Studies in China submitted to the Council in May 1997. The report was prepared by Council member Professor Andrew Watson and Associate Professor David Carter, President of the International Australian Studies Association.
Elements in the Council's on-going program for support for Australian Studies pursued during the reporting period were:
Australian Studies centres
Australian Studies infrastructure grants
The Council funded a further round of grants to selected Australian Studies centres designed to enable them to continue to develop their Australian Studies expertise and resources. The grants were intended to be used for such items as basic running expenses including facsimile, data line and stationery costs, meeting and publication costs, and the cost of travelling to conferences.
In February 1999 the Education Committee reviewed acquittals of infrastructure grants provided during the previous financial year and considered requests for funding from new centres. In order to fund two new centres within the agreed budget an across-the-board reduction of 10 per cent funding to all centres was agreed. The second round of grants ranged from $1800 to $6300 depending upon the size of the centre, level of development and scale of operation. It was agreed that the funds should be used solely for the development of Australian Studies and controlled by the director of the Australian Studies centre within each institution.
During the reporting period the Council allocated infrastructure grants to the following Australian Studies centres:
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS, Beijing)
Over and above the infrastructure grants the Council provided funding for the production of publications at the Australian Studies centres at Nankai University, Anhui University and the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
The Council identified the ability to provide access to material on Australian Studies via the Internet as an important development, particularly as more web sites and CD-ROMs with Australian Studies material had become available. Through earlier grants the Council had enabled the purchase by key Australian Studies centres of computers and equipment that would enable access to the Internet. At a meeting between the Council's Education Committee and representatives from Australian Studies centres in October 1998, centres confirmed the possibility of access to the Internet and its viability as a source of useful information on Australia. Details of the Council's program to link Australian Studies centres in China to CD-ROMs on Australian subjects loaded at the National Library of China through the China-Australia Electronic Information Centre (CAEIC) are provided later in this report.
Affiliate memberships for Australian Studies centres
The Council arranged for affiliate memberships for major Australian Studies centres to the International Australian Studies Association (InASA) and the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL). The centres receive subscriptions to the Journal of Australian Studies from InASA and Notes and Furphies from ASAL as part of their membership.
Sixth International Conference on Australian Studies in China, Peking University (26-29 October 1998)
The Sixth International Conference on Australian Studies in China was held at Peking University in Beijing from 26 to 29 October 1998. The sixth biennial conference was organised by Peking University in conjunction with the Australian Studies Association of China and supported financially by the Council. The theme of the conference, 'Great Prospects for Cooperation between Australia and China', attracted a large number of participants, with papers on a range of topics that highlighted the diversity of Australian Studies activities in China.
The conference was opened by Professor He Fangchuan, Vice-President of Peking University, Professor Zhang Xiuqin, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Ministry of Education, and His Excellency Mr Ric Smith, Australian Ambassador to China. Outside plenary sessions officials and academics took the opportunity to share developments in Australian Studies at their institutions. The conference also provided the opportunity for academics from around China and the region to consolidate the network of contacts that had been built up over the years.
The conference was attended by some 80 participants, including Chinese academics representing 26 institutions and 14 provinces and municipalities. Also present were regional participants including a speaker from Taiwan and more than 38 Australian delegates representing institutions across Australia. Over 60 papers were presented on topics as diverse as Australian foreign, trade and economic policy, globalisation, education, the Internet, business, literature and the arts.
The Chair of the Council, Mr Stuart Simson, headed a nine-member delegation to the conference. Council members presented papers at the conference on their areas of expertise in Australia-China relations. At the conference the Council also presented its second Biennial Translation Prize for the best published translation of an Australian work into Chinese. Details of the prize are included later in this report.
At the conference it was announced that the Seventh International Conference on Australian Studies in China would be hosted by Xi'an Foreign Languages University in 2000.
Prof He Fangchuan,Vice-President of Peking University, addresses the Australian Studies Conference. From left, Mr Stuart Simson, ACC Chair; Prof He Fangchuan; Prof Zhang Xiuqin, Deputy Director General, Department of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education; HE Mr Ric Smith, Australian Ambassador to China
The Sixth International Conference on Australian Studies in China was held at Peking University, 26-29 October 1998. Australian Studies conferences, which are held every two years, are organised by the host institution in conjunction with the Australian Studies Association of China and supported financially by the Australia-China Council. Pictured are participants and officials at the 1998 conference.
Australia-China visiting fellowships and studentships
The visiting fellowships and studentships programs began in 1997-98. Five awards were made under each program for the inaugural year to mark its launch and it was agreed that two or three would be awarded each subsequent year of the program. In February 1999 the Education Committee agreed that there would be no separate program for Hong Kong and that both programs would be open to applicants from China and Hong Kong.
The objective of the visiting fellowships program was to enable senior and middle-level researchers in China to spend about three months in Australia conducting research into an aspect of Australian Studies. There were two fellowships awarded in 1998, each with a value of $10 000 to cover the costs of a return airfare and living expenses in Australia. The fellowships were awarded competitively. Ms Li Youwen from Beijing Foreign Studies University visited the University of Wollongong to undertake research on Australian cinema. Mr Liu Fande from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, a 1997 awardee, took up his fellowship during the reporting period and researched Australia's APEC strategy. The other 1998 awardee, Mr Han Feng from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, is expected to take up his fellowship at Griffith University in late 1999.
The visiting studentships program enables postgraduate students at institutions of higher education in China to spend a period of six months in Australia conducting field work as part of their postgraduate program. Students remain enrolled in their home institution but have the opportunity to attach themselves to a university in Australia in order to further their research and to collect primary Australian study materials. The 1998 studentships were awarded competitively. There were two studentships awarded, each worth $10 000 to cover the costs of a return airfare and living expenses in Australia. The two awardees visited Australia in early 1999. Ms Pan Wen from Hangzhou University furthered her research on Australia literature at the Australian National University. Ms Fu Jie from Xi'an Foreign Languages University continued her research related to the cross-cultural study of Australia-China joint ventures at the University of Adelaide.
Australian Studies in Taiwan
During the reporting period the Council continued its support for a three-year program to develop Australian Studies in Taiwan. The program, which commenced in 1996, was coordinated by the School of Australian and Comparative Studies at Griffith University in conjunction with the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies and the Australian Centre at the University of Melbourne. The program aimed to establish a base for Australian Studies activities at the National Taiwan University (NTU) that would serve as a hub for an Australian Studies network across Taiwan in a range of disciplines. At the same time, cooperative programs in environmental management were initiated through a range of activities that firmly established institutional linkages in a key area of Australian expertise.
The program has resulted in a number of significant developments to date, including:
DETYA funding for Australian Studies
During the reporting period, the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DETYA) under its Australian Studies Offshore Program provided financial support for Australian Studies activities under terms of an earlier Memorandum of Understanding with the Council. Funding provided under the memorandum of 14 June 1996 of $168 000 contributed significantly to the development of the China-Australia Electronic Information Centre Internet site and to the Australian Studies program in Taiwan outlined above. Details on the Centre are provided later in this report.
The Council greatly appreciates the funding provided by DETYA, which has enabled it to support these two key programs.