Students struggle to stave off changes at the VCA
October 15, 2009 · Print This Article
By Emma Younger, Holly Little, and Jessica Kennedy
Year 12 students with ambitions to enter the arts industry, will be sweating over university applications this month, as proposed changes to Victorian College of the Arts and Music (formerly VCA) is creating an uncertain future for the college.
• October 30, last chance for students to apply for 2010 university courses.
• Curriculum changes at VCA leave college’s future uncertain.
• Staff and students at VCA fight to stop changes.
October 30 will be the last chance for VCE students across the state to change their university preferences for courses in 2010. With proposed changes at VCA creating raucous debate at the college and in the community, students are left to speculate what will happen to the college.
A curriculum overhaul at VCA, proposed in August, would see the Melbourne Model imposed on the college’s practical based courses.
After the government cut the VCA’s funding in 2007, the VCA joined with Melbourne University, who picked up the funding shortfall. The proposed changes come two years after the merger.
The VCA’s Dean, Sharman Pretty, said the college is siloed in its programs and narrow degrees.
“It is producing elite dancers that only become ballet dancers, or actors that only act, is no longer appropriate in Australia,” she says.
Outraged by the planned changes, students and staff formed the Save VCA group. Protests have been staged and petitions signed. A Save VCA organiser, Zoe Boesen says a lot of what was planned for the college had been concealed from students and staff.
“We started digging stuff up ourselves and discovered there were dire things planned for this place so we thought we need to do something, let people know and give them information,” she said.
The campaign has captured the community’s attention and gathered support from high profile figures. The 11 living former arts ministers have put their support behind the group, along with leading arts industry figures like Geoffrey Rush and Noni Hazlehurst.
For now, a decision has not been reached. But for the students, the fight will continue.
Do you think the Arts industry in Melbourne will be affected by the college’s proposed curriculum changes?
Background: An overview of the issues leading up to the curriculum changes.
Save VCA: The SaveVCA group, consisting of students and staff, have held rallies and petitions to protest against the changes. Watch our colourful audio slideshow and listen to the response from the students.
Pro Changes: Dean of the VCA says the changes are necessary and it will benefit the students.
Future: Former Arts minister Race Matthews says an independent and transparent review is needed for the future of the VCA.