Save Visual Arts Education at the University of Sydney - no to the closure of SCA!
On Tuesday the 21st of June, students from Sydney College of the Arts (SCA), the visual arts faculty of the University of Sydney, were sent an email to advise them that the University had signed a Heads of Agreement with UNSW. The agreement will result in the closure of SCA by Semester 1, 2017, with all students shifted to UNSW Art and Design (UNSWAD). This email is the first instance of direct communication from the University of Sydney to SCA students regarding the decision.
This proposed shift is NOT in the best interests of SCA students for the following reasons:
· There has been no information provided to students within a timeframe that has allowed them to make an informed decision about their tertiary education.
· There has been a complete lack of transparency and blatant dishonesty from the University of Sydney, with students given no indication that there would be any changes to their enrolment, facilities or staff.
· We will lose highly specialist facilities, such as glass workshops, printing presses, equipment and kilns.
· SCA academics, world leaders in their field, have been told they will need to apply to work at UNSWAD, with no guarantee of employment.
· Our specialist technical staff, crucial to education at SCA, will be made redundant. There will be no allowances for our technical staff at UNSWAD.
· Education at SCA specialises in studio-based art practice. There will be no studio spaces at UNSWAD. The student/teacher ratio will be unsustainable and the merger will ensure the quality of education will diminish.
· SCA students are concerned that, should the move go ahead, the terms outlined in our enrolment agreement cannot be fulfilled by the University of Sydney
· The University have failed to declare their intentions regarding Callan Park, the iconic heritage listed grounds where SCA is located. No promises of protection have been made.
· We demand that the University of Sydney halts any further action on the proposed move to UNSWAD (or any other institution)
· We demand that the University of Sydney immediately engage with student and staff representatives of SCA for a full and transparent consultation process regarding any proposed changes to visual arts education.
· We demand that the University clarifies if they will maintain their current lease of Callan Park, and if they will be replacing SCA with another university faculty/program/initiative.
· We demand that the future of Callan Park is clarified, as this public green space is a vital part of the fabric of the Inner West.
The divestment of SCA - a centre of innovation in contemporary art - by the University of Sydney is yet another major blow to the Arts in NSW, and in Australia. As artists we will maintain our agency, and we will NOT be silenced.
- Vice-Chancellor and Principal, the University of Sydney
Dr Michael Spence
- Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Registrar), the University of Sydney
Professor Tyrone Carlin
- Dean, Sydney College of the Arts
Professor Colin Rhodes
I am opposed to the Heads of Agreement and demand that you immediately engage with student and staff representatives of SCA for a full and transparent consultation and decision-making process.
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