Wales waits in wings

January 24, 1997

Learning about Australia and the US

The first BA honours course in Australian studies in the United Kingdom could run at the University of Wales, Lampeter if a proposal being developed there is approved.

Graham Sumner, head of Lampeter's Centre for Australian Studies in Wales, said the centre would offer the course in conjunction with an Australian institution to allow student exchanges.

Founded in 1986, Lampeter and the Menzies Centre at the University of London are the only Australian studies' centres in the United Kingdom.

Dr Sumner, president of the British Australian Studies Association that was formed in 1982 and has about 200 members, said the discipline was in a "healthy and buoyant" state, even though Australian government support was now being spread more thinly worldwide.

Several universities, such as Exeter, Stirling, Glasgow and Edinburgh, have significant Australian studies offerings.

"There are people in many universities in Britain who are, through BASA and other sources, active in Australian studies," Dr Sumner said.

He believed academics enjoyed Australian studies conferences because they offered an opportunity for cross-disciplinary and cultural exchange and discussion.

A postgraduate conference, sponsored by BASA and the Menzies centre, will be held in London on March 21-22. The theme, "Australia", is deliberately broad. Abstracts can be submitted until January 31.

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