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UWE + CSA – Studio 5 (2019/2020)
The second successive collaborative learning programme took place between the students of CSA and their counterparts from the UWE who travelled halfway across the globe to join us here in Sri Lanka. This academic program involved the participation of 10 students from the UK participating in the first leg of a short but immersive exchange program that facilitated not just the sharing of ideas, methodologies, practices and styles but a unique cultural exchange that can only be possible through intermingling both groups to tackle a common challenge. Tackling a design project in a series of joint group workshops and several presentations resulted in numerous creative urban design solutions for the historic city of Kandy.
It was a thoroughly entertaining and insightful exchange for both parties; for the UWE students to experience a culture different but also occasionally similar to their own, and for the students of CSA who got the opportunity to act as tour guides and were offered a glimpse of the familiar scenes and settings from the perspective of a tourist with the added scope of them being architecture students.
This exchange was the highlight of the study year and both parties were able to pick each other's brains and identify how our different perceptions and experiences can help shape solutions that are out of our common frame of reference. We shared not only just knowledge but several laughs, memories and adventures. It was rewarding to create networks with students from the UK that establish friendships that went beyond the academic learning objective of this project.
The second leg of this exchange saw ten of our very own students travel to the UWE to enjoy a similar collaborative experience. The challenge presented to us was to propose an innovative addition to the local church that served as a community centre for a plethora of different ethnicities and groups and we were able to work together to create five possible creative solutions.
With our new friends in the UK we were also able to experience life in the university as well as explore the city of Bristol and our students engaged in sightseeing, touring, rock climbing, sporting, shopping and even a spot of laser tag in between trying out the local cuisine with our local counterparts.
It was undoubtedly an interesting and one of a kind experience that was organized by our institute and brought into fruition by the tireless efforts of the CSA management as well as academic and administrative staff to ensure that the students from UWE had an enriching experience here but that we too had an amazing experience in England. We hope that this partnership between the two Universities will only go from strength to strength as we carry on after the pandemic.