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(meet at the rally)

19/08/2009

vca-logo2There is an absolute imperative driving me to post here about what is taking place with the VCA. In the unlikely case that you are unaware, extreme changes are under way at the nation’s unique, premier, multi-discipline arts training institution. As the University of Melbourne introduces the “Melbourne Model” so will the incredibly high standards of creative training fall, that have been nurturing and sustaining the creative industries in this city now for decades. This Friday commencing at 10am on the VCA campus (St. Kilda Road, Southbank) a rally will be taking place to protest these destructive changes. I urge every member and supporter of the arts community who is able to be in Melbourne city at this time to join in the protest.

www.savevca.org

The creative team – and I mean, the ENTIRE immediate creative team (designers, performers, director, dramaturg) of Attract/Repel are all VCA alumni. Every (extraordinary) one of us. I couldn’t be blessed with a more rigorous, talented, intelligent, professional and thoroughly skilled team of collaborators. This is no coincidence. And it isn’t as if we woke up one morning and set out to recruit a bunch of VCA grads; we set out to find the best bloody artists for the work. The pedigree offered by the College is second to none, and (as Lindy Davies had hoped and worked so hard for while she was head of Acting and The School of Drama), VCA graduates are ingenious, autonomous, sought after artists. In the same building, and right next door to us, The (brilliant and prolific) Hayloft Project are variously rehearsing their next two works (opening imminently in both Melbourne and Sydney), with the vast majority of their numbers hailing also from the Victorian College of the Arts School of Drama. Incredible, isn’t it, that you really can’t turn your head in this town without meeting another alumnus? The graduates of the VCA are at the forefront of their craft, and this is a fact due to the extraordinary rigour, passion and specialised training instilled at the various and distinct schools: Dance, Drama, Film and Television, Music, Production, Visual Art; and more recently in the specialist courses of Puppetry and Music Theatre.

www.savevca.org

The destruction of the above model has already begun. Below, I have pasted information on some of these changes from the flyer for this Friday’s rally. Once again, I urge everyone who can make themselves available to come down to the VCA at 10am and join this most crucial protest. This is really the only opportunity this extraordinary community is going to have to show its united opposition to these changes that will suck the vitality and inspiration from the Melbourne creative landscape as a whole.

www.savevca.org

COURSE RESTRUCTURING & “THE MELBOURNE MODEL”.

  • So far the 6 specialised schools at the VCA have been merged into 3.
  • Practical training in all courses will be reduced by up to 50% by 2011.
  • Contact hours will be significantly reduced as of next year. Semester duration will be reduced, meaning tuition will drop from 32 to 24 weeks per year.
  • 25% of study will be made up of “breadth subjects” – subjects from non-VCA faculties of The University of Melbourne.
  • Puppetry and Musical Theatre courses have been suspended.

STAFF CUTS

  • Many staff have been sacked already or had contracts significantly reduced.
  • There will be minimal or no sessional staff (professional artist tutors) as of 2010.
  • Staff have been instructed to stay away from the media, to pacify students and to keep quiet about impending redundancies. Many staff risk losing their jobs if they speak out against the University’s proposed changes.

GET INVOLVED!

SAVE THE VCA WEEK

  • A massive week of student and public protest begins on the 16th of August and will culminate with a protest rally and march to Parliament on Friday the 21st. See overleaf for details.

HELP US ONLINE

  • Visit our website at www.savevca.org. Join the mailing list, sign the petition and use our template to send a letter off to the government.
  • Become a fan of “save vca” on Facebook and receive regular updates. Invite all your friends to the protest online.

“Please let’s not allow our future artists’ potential to be diminished. Let their work be practical, challenging and profound, not chiefly academic. And don’t allow their creative education to start from a point of compromise and mediocrity.”

Geoffrey Rush, August 7th, 2009.

PROTEST

Friday 21st of August,10am.

MEET

VCA Campus at 10am.

234 St Kilda Rd, Southbank

Featuring live performances and speeches from prominent industry figures, featuring Julia Zemiro (Rockwiz).

MARCH

Show your support and march with students down Swanston St, along Collins St to Parliament. Final speeches, featuring John Micheal Howson (Shout).

www.savevca.org

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