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On 12 February, Lingnan University launched a book of collaborative haiku, a short form of Japanese poetry consisting of only three lines, and collaborative picture postcards jointly created by students of Lingnan University and University of Macau. The 125-page book, Between: Collaborative Haiku and Picture Postcards, is the outcome of a pedagogical, cross-disciplinary project that fostered the creativity of, and between, students of Hong Kong and Macau.
The haiku were composed by students of creative writing taught by Prof Christopher Kelen at the Department of English, University of Macau, in response to the collaborative postcards. The picture postcards were produced by students of two drawing classes taught by Prof Carol Archer at the Department of Visual Studies, Lingnan University. They involve one student beginning a postcard and mailing it to another randomly-selected classmate without any written or verbal commentary or instruction. The receiver then completes the postcard and mails it back to the originator.
When asked about their experience of producing the picture postcards, the most common adjective the Lingnan students used was “surprising” because, as Irene Lam Kit-man put it, “The postcard starter could never imagine the outcome.” Many students also reported that anticipation added to the pleasure of receiving a postcard. Karen Cheuk Ka-yiu, for instance, said, “Every day I checked the mail box and hoped to get a new postcard or get one back, and I was always surprised by the cards I received.” Clara Lwo Yuen-yu found waiting for the final result of a started card “exciting”, adding that she “loved the way we used the post rather than just giving cards to each other by hand.”
The book also represents one phase of a larger collaborative postcard project, “Postcards between Friends”, being conducted within Lingnan’s Department of Visual Studies, supported by a Teaching Development Grant. This larger project includes the collaborative postcards of four drawing classes, as well as those of a group of students who, especially inspired by the project, decided to join an ongoing collaborative postcard-making group with their teacher, Prof Archer. This semester, Lingnan students will continue to work with the creative writers of University of Macau but in a slightly different way: They will generate postcards in response to a set of poems, collaboratively written especially for them, by the same group of Macau students represented in the book.
In November this year an exhibition and publication documenting the entire project will be open at Lingnan University. In the meantime, the ongoing progress of the collaborative postcard project may be viewed on the website 'Collaborative Postcarding Hong Kong' at http://collaborativepostcardinghongkong.blogspot.com.