Visit to top Chinese universities strengthens partnerships with the Centre for Digital Media

Visit to top Chinese universities strengthens partnerships with the Centre for Digital Media

Earlier this month a delegation from the Centre for Digital Media (CDM) in Vancouver visited some of China’s leading digital media schools to promote international cultural exchange and cooperation.

To kick-off the trip, delegates participated in the opening of the New Media Joint Lab at the China New Media Development Zone in the Daxing region of Beijing. Founded through a wide consortium of arts organizations and schools in China, the new facility will foster multidisciplinary research and education in multimedia, digital publishing, film, animation, and other creative industries centred on Chinese humanities, arts and culture. As part of the opening ceremonies Jeannette Kopak, the Director of Business Development and Operation signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement on behalf of the Centre for Digital Media.  This Agreement lays the foundation for future cooperation and joint projects.

An intensive multi-university trip to Beijing and Wuhan followed the opening of the lab.  Accompanying Kopak was the Director of Industry Relations, Dennis Chenard. Di Zhao, Coordinator for International and Online Program Development for the Centre provided valuable knowledge, translation and logistic assistance for Kopak and Chenard in Beijing.

Jeannette Kopak, Dennis Chenard, and Di Zhao at the entrance to Peking University.Arrival at the CUC Animation School
Dennis Chenard, Jeannette Kopak, and Di Zhao at the entrance to Peking University.Arrival at the CUC Animation School: The message board reads “Warm welcome to professor Dennis Chenard and professor Jeannette Kopak!”
At the opening ceremony: Jeannette Kopak with Prof. Yifan Li and Ping Li from the International New Media Association.
At the New Media Lab opening ceremony: Jeannette Kopak with Prof. Yifan Li and Ping Li from the International New Media Association.

In Beijing, the team also met with Xiangzhong Liao, Dean of the Animation School of the Communication University of China (CUC) to discuss future collaborative projects, such as involvement in the 2011 SIGGRAPH conference in Vancouver, and expansion of the CUC’s joint cross-cultural program with the Centre.

This past summer, nine students from CUC along with Professor Xuezhu Bai travelled to Vancouver to participate in the first session of the IDEA-X Program (Immersive Digital Experience Academic Program) at the Centre. This four-week intensive, cross-cultural program included English language and multimedia training, and helped provide a curricular base for the Centre’s unique Pre-Masters of Digital Media Program.

In addition to the Communication University of China (CUC), other universities on the itinerary included Peking University, Beijing University of Technology, the Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication, and Wuhan’s Huazhong Normal University and Wuhan University.  All visits provided great opportunities to talk to faculty and students about collaboration and cooperation in the future and to promote the great work of the MDM students.

Jeannette meets with host at Wuhan University. 
Kopak and Dr. Guobin Zhu at Wuhan University.

For Kopak, the visit successfully established grounds for future partnerships and collaborative projects in China, and introduced Chinese students and faculty to opportunities in graduate studies with the Masters of Digital Media (MDM) Program.

“The trip was important for forming new relationships with China’s universities, as well as strengthen our existing ties,” said Kopak. “We were really impressed with the common areas of interest shown in the new field of digital media.  The success of the MDM programs multi-disciplinary project teams’ work provided great points of discussions for students and faculty alike.”

Continuation of the development of these relationships will be a priority for the program over the next several months, leading to SIGGRAPH 2011 in August next year.  Many of the faculty and some of the staff will be visiting Vancouver and a multi-university digital art show at the CDM is in the early stages of discussion.