The Philippines Australia Studies Centre is committed to extending its research network and profile through a variety of activities including student exchange programs, cultural education programs, industry linkages and partnerships, and research projects.

Arts Linkage project

The strength of the Arts Linkage project between La Trobe University Museum of Art (LUMA) and Ateneo Art Gallery was again demonstrated throughout 2013 with a number of key events and visits. After the successful 2011 exhibition Me Here Now, curated by LUMA and presented by Ateneo Art Gallery in Manila, Ateneo reciprocated with an exhibition of contemporary Filipino video art. The exhibition, titled Modes of Impact: Selections from the Ateneo Art Gallery Collection of Video Art, showcased four key works, including the work of Mark Salvatus, a previous visitor to La Trobe as a winner of the Ateneo Art Awards. The works all investigated aspects of contemporary Filipino society and the nature of Manila as a major metropolis. As part of the exhibition exchange, LUMA was glad to host Joel de Leon, Assistant Curator from Ateneo Art Gallery, a long-time collaborator and friend. Joel was instrumental in the installation of the exhibition and informing staff and visitors of key conceptual ideas of the works presented.

In support of the above mentioned exhibition, LUMA in conjunction with La Trobe University's Centre for Creative Arts co-presented the public lecture City Sense: Sensing Manila in the Arts by PhD student Gary Devilles. Gary is a postgraduate student in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce at La Trobe University, working on his dissertation, City Sense: Sensing Manila in Literature, Arts, and Popular Culture. Gary is from the Philippines and has strong links with Ateneo de Manila University.

The La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre (VAC) once again awarded a residency and exhibition to one of the winners of the Ateneo Art Awards. In 2013 visiting artist Martha Artienza presented her mesmerising three channel video work My Navel is Buried in the Sea, a 31 minute movie focusing on the fishermen and seafarers from Madridejos, in the Filipino province of Cebu. The work presents varying scenes and perspectives simultaneously, balancing alternating rhythms, settings and emotions. It explores the significance and the impact of the relationship between the sea and the people whose livelihood depends upon it. While in Australia Martha continued her research on port cities with visits and filming in Melbourne and Mildura.

'After Mining' Public Sector Linkage program

PASC implemented and completed the 'After Mining' Public Sector Linkage Program during the period April 2011 to March 2012. Funded by AusAID, the project was spearheaded by Dr Minerva Chaloping‐March (PASC Honorary Research Fellow) as Project Manager. Minerva is a development anthropologist specialising in mining and social sustainability, social imperatives of mine projects, and post–mine scenarios. Dr Augustine Doronila (also a PASC Honorary Research Fellow), a restoration ecologist based at the School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne served as co‐manager of the project.

The project aimed to bring together and reinforce community based efforts in the Philippines, using Australian experiences as learning cases, to redress degradation of mined lands particularly those associated with large–scale mining. The project initiated and established linkages with organizations whose mandate or function and interests are associated – directly or indirectly – with mining activities. Fieldwork in Australia consisted of visiting a number of mines whose experiences with actual or future mine closure can serve as learning cases for the Philippines.

Student exchange

We believe student exchanges are important. Although early records are not clear, it appears that in the years up until 2014 our partner Ateneo de Manila University sent La Trobe 10 students on exchange and we sent three to them. For semester two in 2014 there is one incoming student, and one outgoing student – Lance Franco who is studying a Bachelor of Business (Tourism and Hospitality). Such exchanges are a significant feature of relationships between the two universities and help to promote friendly bilateral links between the Philippines and Australia.

As to students broadly, La Trobe has 86 students from the Philippines in semester two 2014, of which 47 are in the IRON program (Initial Registration for Overseas Nurses) by which nurses from the Philippines qualify to work in Australia. The Philippines is an important emerging market for La Trobe's efforts to attract more international students to its various campuses. Interest in the Philippines to study in Australia is increasing and La Trobe is keen to receive more Filipino students.

PASC supported the negotiation of a student exchange agreement between Ateneo and La Trobe which provides two semesters of fee-waiver exchange both ways each year. PASC continues to urge La Trobe students to take advantage of this facility to study at this prestigious Filipino university, and will be happy to provide advice on request. Financial support is available for students going on exchange.

Embassy visitors

Following an invitation extended by Charles Mott during a call on the Philippines Ambassador in Canberra last year, PASC sponsored two visits from the Embassy and the Consulate-General in 2014.

The first was by Ms Grace Bulos, second secretary and consul in the embassy with Ms Virginia Kalong, consul in Melbourne. The second was by the Ambassador, HE Mrs Belen Anota with Ms Kalong and other officials of the embassy. During the Ambassador's visit, Trevor Hogan chaired a round-table discussion about the work and plans of PASC, and informed Mrs Anota of the Philippines-Australia seminar to be held at La Trobe's city campus later in the year which we hope she will be able to attend. Dr Hogan also described La Trobe's important and growing links with the Philippines and our wish to develop these further.