The University has released a document to staff today that outlines its plans for the future of the Sydney College of the Arts (SCA).
From July 1, 2017, SCA will be merged into the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and become a department within the School of Literature, Art and Media. It will retain its name.
As part of this move, SCA’s visual arts facilities will be relocated to main campus in Camperdown, finding a new home in the Old Teachers College (OTC). The University intends to appoint a design firm in July to determine the direction of the new fit-out of OTC, and the building will be repurposed during 2018.
Under the new arrangements, there will be no classrooms dedicated to visual arts. Instead, SCA will utilise existing teaching space across the Camperdown campus. There will be dedicated spaces for offices, workshops, studios and a gallery.
Teaching will continue at SCA’s Rozelle campus until the end of next year. From Semester 1, 2019, all teaching will be relocated to OTC. Students who are beginning their degrees in 2018 will commence them in Rozelle, moving to Camperdown in 2019 when facilities are installed.
The University’s plan foresees that the new SCA will cater for 360 to 425 students, and employ a staff of up to 18 academics and 12 technical and support staff.
Deputy Vice Chancellor (Provost) Stephen Garton told the Sydney Morning Herald, “In response to a declining market for visual arts education, we will see a reduction in SCA staff and a reorganisation of roles.”
The University states that the merging of SCA with main campus faculties will allow it to “exploit the opportunities of interdisciplinary research and teaching created by proximity to the many relevant disciplines.”
According to its Final Change Plan for the SCA, the closure of the Rozelle campus is projected to reduce SCA’s operating deficit from $5.1million to $1million a year.
However, Honi has previously reported on the uncertainty surrounding the financial rationale for SCA’s closure. In a meeting with representatives from the National Tertiary Education Union in 2015, Vice Chancellor Michael Spence claimed that the reasons for merger and closure “would not be financial”, and that if cuts were to be determined purely on a financial basis, “there are many other areas of the university where we could begin”.
Yet at an information session last year, Garton told students the planned closure was motivated by the SCA’s “significant deficit”.