An open letter to Ms Belinda Hutchinson AM, Chancellor and Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor, the University of Sydney from members of the concerned arts community. Over four decades Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) has been recognised as a world-class institution vital to the education of Australia’s leading contemporary artists. With alumni including Marc Newson, Ben Quilty, Jane Campion, Bronwyn Bancroft, Lindy Lee, Fiona Foley, Shaun Gladwell, Fiona Lowry and Justene Williams, SCA has been a cultural leader and has shaped who we are as Australians and our place in the world. The University of Sydney should celebrate the presence of a leading art school, as well as SCA’s global leadership in research and education.
However, in full awareness of the proposed ‘merger’ of Sydney College of the Arts with University of New South Wales Art and Design (UNSWA&D) at the end of 2016, we, the undersigned, call on the University of Sydney to:
- Recognise that the proposed ‘merger’ with UNSWA&D will not lead to a centre of excellence but reduce the vitality of art and design education and research in New South Wales and Australia
- Withdraw immediately from the Heads of Agreement with the University of New South Wales
- Establish an external independent review of Sydney College of the Arts that is open, genuine and transparent in its consultation process with staff, senior artists and alumni, and contemporary museum and gallery professionals, to ensure SCA’s long term sustainability.
- Recognise that Sydney, as a global city, must have a diversity of art schools as an essential ingredient for creating the optimum conditions that are part of building a vibrant creative Australia, and should retain the current number of 3 art schools, each with their own distinctive history, culture and mission.