September 8, 2009

We need to Save the VCA

Photo: By Atosha McCaw (www.mortartown.com)

The University of Melbourne’s corporate PR department has gone into over drive recently, after their proposed changes to the Victorian College of the Arts blew up in their faces.

Their latest tactic, after locking down media appearances by gaff-a-tron Sharman Pretty (VCA Dean), has been to misdirect and confuse. For example, rather than addressing the main issues of funding and practice-based training (as opposed to research-focused arts teaching), the University of Melbourne has been talking about mergers and the Melbourne Model.

I’ve been pretty heavily involved in the Save VCA campaign (and have written about it earlier here), and was so incensed by a recent article that I wrote in to The Age to set the record straight. My letter was published on Saturday:

VCA smokescreen

KRISTY Edmunds’ comments yesterday (“Give merger a chance”, The Age, 3/9) sideswipe the community’s concerns about changes made to the VCA. Even a cursory glance at the Save VCA campaign’s website shows that it is focusing on the lack of funding that is driving staffing and subject cuts, a preservation of the practical training elements of VCA’s teaching, and genuine consultation with staff, students and the arts community on future changes.

No one in the campaign is calling for the merger between VCA and the University of Melbourne to be undone. Furthermore, no one in the campaign is suggesting that the curriculum be frozen in time. These claims are just a smokescreen to distract the community from the real issues. Given the complex nature of what is at stake, it is no wonder the university wants to make it a debate about non-issues.

Alex White, Footscray

You can read more about the Save VCA campaign here, and join the Save VCA Facebook page here.

I also encourage you to print out and sign the Save VCA petition here (pdf).

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