One of the first things that you hear about the education at The New School is how much of that learning happens outside of the classroom in the “laboratory” that is New York City. As a student, you spend so much time studying the city, at a variety of different scales, that it’s easy to think that NYC is the center of the universe. In truth, it is not the center, but a rich and complex crossroads that accepts the rest of the world to be seen and experienced.
Global Exchange 2013: Cambodia has allowed me to consider the way that Arts & Culture from Cambodia can be seamlessly blended into the fabric of the city. Working with all of artists and fellows of the “Season of Cambodia” has been a truly enriching experience that demonstrates the universal language of arts and creativity. It would easy to think of this exchange as being complete once I submit this reflection. Yet, I find myself thinking about the beautiful dancers from “A Bend in the River” when I’m in the subway, and about Lina’s collection of photographs from Diamond Island as I walk through the city. I will also never forget Sopheap’s object from the Living Arts Colloquium, when he described his desire to bring a “piece” of Cambodia to NYC via a small amount of sand and earth from Boeung Kak Lake in Phnom Penh.
I am certain that many of the issues and ideas that we exchanged with the Cambodians are, in fact, universal and will continue to demand our attention and consideration. I expect that this short “Season” will inevitably become a “Lifetime” of curiosity and learning across the globe.