Nepean TAFE announces new Bachelor of Visual Arts course for 2015

Nepean Arts and Design Centre - degree 1

The Trapezium Gallery, Nepean Arts and Design Centre. Photograph by Stuart Marshall.

Nepean Arts and Design Centre, TAFE Western Sydney Institute, has just announced a new degree course to start in 2015. Click on Bachelor of Visual Arts for more detail about pathways to the three year degree. If you already have a diploma or advanced diploma of visual arts, you are already part way there. Phone the section on 9208 9484, or attend an information session. The next info sessions are scheduled for Wednesday November 26 at 2pm in Room PG39, and Monday December 1 in PG39 at 10am. Directions on how to find these can be found by clicking here.

Pushing against the tide of state government funding cutbacks, reduced courses and closures, the course has been developed in partnership with Victoria’s Federation University, Australia’s newest university. Federation University brings together the University of Ballarat and Monash University (Gippsland) and delivers degrees with partners in Australia and around the globe.

Nepean Arts and Design Centre - degree 2Left, is a photo of NADC Visual Arts alumna Jennifer Gabbay, of Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains, who was a finalist in this year’s prestigious Portia Geach painting prize. Jennifer’s work True Blue is of her gardener, Phil Foster, of Mount Victoria. Jennifer was also a finalist in the Portia Geach prize in 2011 and 2013. See the original photo by B C Lewis, Blue Mountains Gazette, and story by clicking here.

Last year, the NSW Government developed a Creative Industries Action Plan, having already cut TAFE funding for some of the most basic building blocks of that plan. According to Associate Professor Leesa Wheelahan writing in The Conversation in 2012. “Perhaps the least visible aspect of the work of TAFEs is how they anticipate the knowledge and skills that will be needed to support innovation. Just as universities create new knowledge for society and train the professions, TAFE’s role as an educational and training institution is to anticipate how workplaces are changing, and the kind of knowledge and skills that will be needed for tomorrow and not just today.”

From Penrith Technical College’s certificate in art in the 1970s to its current manifestation as Nepean Arts & Design Centre, teachers have been doing their homework about the future demographics of the region and the anticipated demand for visual arts courses. With the progressive dismantling of visual and performing arts courses at University of Western Sydney, which began under the Howard government in the 1990s, it was clear that education and training opportunities in the arts were diminishing, just as the demand from a growing population was rising.

With the strong support of Cecelia Cilesio, WSI’s Director of Education, for Fine Arts, Media and Entertainment, the visual arts staff under the leadership of head teacher Cath Barcan, rose to the challenge of reduced funding and worked very hard for more than two years to create the new Bachelor of Visual Arts. Click here for background on the course development. Click here to read their Facebook announcement – “Join us in celebrating this landmark moment in creative culture in Western Sydney!”

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