As I think about what I’ve experienced in HASS over the last few weeks I marvel at the breadth and depth of our cultural engagement. Whether here in St Lucia, or in Northwest China, our staff and students have been involved in path-breaking performances and achievements.

Let’s start in Xi’an, China. Dane Lam is the Principal Conductor of the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra and a graduate of UQ’s School of Music. For some time now Dane has been working with Margaret Barrett, Head of the School of Music, to develop a creative practice partnership. 18 UQ students rehearsed with the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra for a week ahead of a concert that took place on 19 August. Dane Lam referred to the contribution of UQ Music staff to the performance (violinist Adam Chalabi and conductor Warwick Potter) as ‘inspiring’. The School is already planning further collaborations with Xi’an.

Another recent HASS-China story is about an adventure by Languages and Cultures PhD student Michael Mersiades. Michael went with other select student entrepreneurs to Shanghai, sponsored by UQ’s Ideahub to learn first-hand about the process of founding, investing, and growing an early stage business in China. As Michael writes in his blog ‘the startup world is usually associated with business, IT and engineering students. I’m doing a PhD in Applied Linguistics… What could a language geek like me possibly contribute to a startup in Shanghai?’ If you read the full version, you'll find out how much his language skills were in demand by a company called Rikai Labs!

Taking arts disciplines into unfamiliar areas is precisely what UQ graduate Carl Smith has been recognised for at the 2017 Walkley Award for the Young Journalist of the Year (longform). Carl studied a Bachelor of Journalism / Science dual degree. JAC Radio, Carl noted, ‘was the perfect place to build basic skills, and the internship program within Journalism let me work with some of Australia’s best reporters and documentary makers’.

The next ‘stop’ on HASS’s cultural journey brings me home to St Lucia. Earlier this month the Anthropology Museum opened a brilliant exhibition ‘From Relics to Rights’ curated by Michael Aird assisted by the Museum’s Director Diana Young. The exhibition tells a story about the evolving relationship between early UQ anthropologists and Indigenous experts. In 1995, activist and leader Neville Bonner cast the relationship in these terms, ‘you as anthropologists and archaeologists have the academic knowledge – we the Indigenous people of Australia, have the knowledge of our tribal areas, handed down through generations’. The exhibition is set to continue for many months to come – I urge you all to see it.

The future of the Anthropology Musuem features in a MOOC which is being taught concurrently to students in 60 to 70 countries. Gerhard Hoffstaedter, the course convenor, asks students on the ‘Anthropology of Current World Issues’ to look at items in their homes and select one or two that they would like to see in a museum in 30 years time. If I asked that question of my children I fear they would offer up their Dad as a relic!

Before I become one of those, I look forward to my career at UQ taking a new twist. As you may have read, in mid-October I will be taking up the role of PVC in the Office of the Provost. While I greatly look forward to this new opportunity, it is also the case that I have enjoyed every day that I’ve been Dean of HASS. It has been a genuine privilege to be part of such a dynamic and collegial Faculty.