Creation of a leading centre for visual art and design

21 June 2016

The University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney and the National Art School have been exploring opportunities since last year for a closer association between the three institutions, with the aim of strengthening the delivery of visual art and design education in NSW.

In an important step the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney have signed Heads of Agreement for the Sydney College of Arts (SCA) to merge into UNSW Art and Design. The agreement envisages that undergraduate students currently studying at SCA will have the opportunity to transfer to one of the courses offered by UNSW Art & Design, or to continue to graduation with their SCA course, delivered at the UNSW Art and Design campus in Paddington. Arrangements will also be made for all research students and postgraduate coursework students. The arrangements will allow currently enrolled SCA students to graduate with a degree from The University of Sydney. Discussions with the National Art School about increasing its involvement with the arts program will continue once this first step is implemented.

The agreement also supports greater engagement between the two universities with the broader arts community and promotion of the flexible arrangements for students at both UNSW and Sydney to study individual subjects at the other institution, providing more student choice.

The University of Sydney is working with UNSW to ensure that as many of its current SCA staff as possible have employment opportunities at UNSW. A consultation and communication process is underway with SCA staff. The University of Sydney will continue to engage with SCA staff in accordance with its Enterprise Agreement.

Arrangements will be operational from Semester 1 2017.

Commenting on the discussions, University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence said: “This proposed arrangement will help to ensure a strong future for visual art and design education in NSW.”

“Both institutions have strengths in the visual arts that can be enhanced through a greater concentration of students and resources, with the result being better visual arts education and research outcomes.”

UNSW Vice-Chancellor Ian Jacobs said: “This is an exciting step towards the creation of a national centre of artistic excellence that will put NSW at the forefront of art and design education and research in Australia, building on the best qualities of both centres.”

Based in inner-city Paddington with interconnectivity throughout Sydney’s dynamic cultural and creative industries, this expanded art and design centre has been made possible by co-operation between the University of Sydney and UNSW.

Both art and design schools have played a central role in the rich fabric of our nation, producing some of the most significant names in Australian art and design, past and present.

UNSW Art & Design alumni include Del Kathryn Barton who has twice won the Archibald Prize, Hany Armanious, Melissa Chiu, Brenda Croft, Shaun Gladwell, Bronwyn Oliver and the Blake Prize winner Angelica Mesiti. SCA alumni include Marc Newson, Archibald Prize winners Ben Quilty and Cherry Hood, Jane Campion, Lindy Lee and Bronwyn Bancroft.

Kirsten Andrew

Head of Media and Government Relations