Shut down of Sydney College of the Arts at Callan Park delayed for two years, but students and staff remain wary

Thandiwe Bethune who is going into her second year at Sydney College of the Arts. Photo: Anna Kucera

Thandiwe Bethune, who will embark on the second year of a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2017, said uncertainty about the future of the art school had affected her studies.

“It’s super-stressful,” she said. “I don’t remember the last time I just sat down and made art.”


Save Sydney College of the Arts

To the Honourable The Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales:

The Petition of Citizens of NSW brings to the attention of the House the recent divestment by the University of Sydney of its visual arts campus, the Sydney College of the Arts (SCA), in Rozelle. This attempted move by Sydney University threatens the as-yet unratified Master Plan for Callan Park.

The undersigned petitioners therefore ask the Legislative Assembly that the Callan Park Master Plan, including Sydney College of the Arts as the ongoing anchor tenant, be ratified.

We further ask that, as the University is a statutory body in NSW, the parliament’s public accounts committee examine the financial probity used to decide the fate of the college at Rozelle.

Sydney College of the Arts has shown itself to be an excellent heritage steward and an outstanding contemporary art school that produces many of Australia’s most acclaimed artists with national and international reputations.

Download the Save SCA Petition

Return to Save Sydney College of the Arts, 26 Kedumba Crescent , North Turramurra NSW 2074


What is the future of Callan Park?

Let SCA StayEVENT: Saturday, 20 August 11am Leichhardt and Rozelle Community Meeting with SCA students and staff

On Saturday August 20th, the Rozelle and Leichhardt communities will be gathering to hear about the campaign against the proposed removal of Sydney College of the Arts by the University of Sydney from its home in the Kirkbride buildings at Callan Park.

The meeting will be at 11am outside Kirkbride in Callan Park.

Hall Greenland, president of Friends of Callan Park said yesterday, “The College represents the keystone of the park, which is 61 hectares of magni􏰀icent public space on the foreshores of Sydney Harbour. Kirkbride, the suite of historical buildings which house the college and cover 4.5 hectares, is arguably the best example of Victorian free classical style architecture in Australia”. FoCP’ has been 􏰀ighting to keep Callan Park a public space and it has its own ‘Special Provisions Act’ preventing commercial use of its buildings. Students fear that the loss of Kirkbride as its campus will weaken already unrati􏰀ied plans for the park and leave it vulnerable to unfavourable developments.

The art school also recognises that any removal to an alternative campus will signal the death knell of its unique studio-based curriculum. The meeting aims to inform the public and invite stakeholders to be involved in a renewal of plans for the park, with Sydney College of the Arts – within Kirkbride – as its centrepiece.

Speakers on Saturday will include · Jamie Parker, MP for Balmain, Hall Greenland, Friends of Callan Park President, Elizabeth Pulie, Artist and SCA alumni, Matthys Gerber, Artist and SCA senior lecturer, Prof Susan Thompson, UNSW Faculty of the Built Environment/ Urban Planning, Eila Douglass, SCA post-graduate student

Media information: Hall Greenland 0408 643786 or Eila Douglass 0419 650 667

Sydney College of the Arts students strike against proposed staff and curriculum cuts

Let SCA StaySCA Staff and Student Rally:
Wednesday 17th August 1-2pm
Eastern Avenue (Madsen Building to the Quad)

Students of the Sydney College of the Arts are on strike against proposed cuts to their staff and curriculum. Over 150 students voted to not attend class on Wednesday 17th of August and instead join forces with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) to rally against the cuts outlined last week in the university’s Draft Change Plan (DCP).

On the release of the Draft Change Plan, undergraduate student Jemima Wilson stated that “the DCP has revealed exactly how much we will lose if the current proposals go ahead”.

The DCP states that staffing will be reduced by up to 60% and “the more resource-intensive mediums of the Glassmaking, Ceramics, and Jewellery & Object studios will be scrapped and no longer offered to commencing students from 2018.” Additionally, the Bachelor of Visual Arts, and Higher Degree Research PhD’s, Master of Fine Art and also coursework Masters will be removed from course offerings for 2017.

Students are demanding no cuts to staff or facilities and the reinstatement of the Bachelor of Visual Arts for next year.

Students also reject the University’s claims that the college has an unmanageable deficit, with Jemima continuing that “the UEM (University Economic Model) has been systematically damaging our beautiful college for 7 years, leading to this rushed and tumultuous restructure which is only further damaging the fabric of our community. Claiming to value the arts whilst slowly tearing apart a valued public institution and artistic community? It doesn’t add up, USyd.”

Dylan Griffiths, University of Sydney Students Representative Council (SRC) Education Officer, says that Michael Spence is on notice, “SCA’s expert staff and unique studio-based curriculum, which includes ceramics, glass, and jewellery are the most important features of SCA. If VC Michael Spence and Provost Stephen Garton do not meet the campaign’s demands, guaranteeing that no jobs will be lost and no curriculum cut by the end of the week, the campaign will escalate.”

Eila Vinwynn, a postgraduate student taking strike action, believes the DCP and proposed downscaling of SCA mean an end to the SCA community, stating, “The studios are our laboratories. Our proximity to one another is our life-blood. Our teachers are our guides and mentors. Students demand to be treated with respect.“

130 students at SCA have begun to challenge the University under consumer law for failing to provide the course offering that they signed up for.

The next action for Sydney College of the Arts students will be a forum for the community this Saturday (20/08) outside the Kirkbride complex in Callan Park.

Contact: Tamara Voninski
Ph: 0417270856

Contact: Dylan Griffiths
Ph: 0432236668



Thanks to our supporters!

SOS SCA vigil

Here are just a few of the people and organizations who have offered support and solidarity to our cause. Let SCA Stay thanks:

Thanks to all of you (and surely several others we missed) for all your support during the long Let SCA Stay campaign. And thank you for all you do as well!


Embarrassed University Management Backs Down From Closure of Art School


Vice-Chancellor Spence backed down early this afternoon from the proposed merger of the Sydney College of Arts (SCA) into UNSW Arts and Design (UNSWAD), following sustained student and community pressure on their proposed closure.

This marks the first success of the Let SCA Stay campaign in opposing the University of Sydney’s plan to close the Callan Park campus in Rozelle. Spence said that the University has instead, decided to move SCA to the Camperdown/Darlington campus from the beginning of 2017.

200 students from SCA met and resolved to oppose any plan of the University of Sydney that involves cuts to courses, staff, or student numbers. The “Let SCA Stay” campaign is defending the value of studio-based contemporary art education and practice, which is enabled by the unique facilities and expert staff of the Callan Park campus.

Tamara Voninski, a PhD candidate at SCA, said, “We stopped the University from closing our campus and the next fight is to make sure we can stay at Callan Park with our studios and staff.”

Jemima Wilson, a Bachelor of Visual Arts student, said, “The email today was a victory in one sense in that we embarrassed the University and we saw the power of people to create change. This is more motivation to keep fighting. The dissolution of the Heads of Agreement will not placate us and we will continue to fight to keep SCA at Callan Park.”

Alex Nixon, Vice-President of Sydney University Postgraduate Research Association (SUPRA), said, “While the announcement today delivered a sense of victory at this stage of the campaign, the campaign is not yet over. SUPRA supports the Let SCA Stay campaign unequivocally and opposes senior University management to move the art school to its Camperdown campus where the unique SCA approach to Visual Arts education is at huge risk.”

Michael Thomson, Sydney University NTEU Branch President, said, “The NTEU welcomes this decision to drop the amalgamation proposal with UNSW. We call upon the University to let SCA stay at Callan park and we congratulate everyone who has been part of this campaign for the first win of the campaign.”

Grant Wheeler, Sydney University CPSU Branch President, said, “The University continues its illogical arguments. We were told that a merger with UNSW was best for the arts in NSW. And now, apparently, squeezing SCA into much smaller, non-purpose-built building space with much reduced facilities is best. SCA must stay at Callan Park.”

Dylan Griffiths, Education Officer of the Student’s Representative Council, said, “The campaign has pressured management out of the Heads of Agreement. We will continue to oppose any move that places staff, studio space, and facilities at jeopardy.”

Media Contact
Jemima Wilson: 0413 328 222
Riki Scanlan: 0403 722 700


SCA: Sixty students to take on University of Sydney

Visual arts student Thandiwe Bethune, 19, during a protest on Monday. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Visual arts student Thandiwe Bethune, 19, during a protest on Monday. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Up to 60 students are pursuing the University of Sydney for “deceptive conduct” after it announced plans to merge its Sydney College of the Arts with the faculty of art and design at cross town rival the University of NSW.

Hundreds of students look set to be forced out of the historic, heritage listed Rozelle campus where they had planned on completing their degrees, while the future of staff remains uncertain.

The solicitor representing the students, Thomas McLoughlin, said they would pursue the University of Sydney for allegedly breaching consumer law.

Read more…



Students clash with police over Sydney University and University of NSW’s art campus closure plans

Ah, students!!

ANGRY staff at both of Sydney’s university art schools will vote next week on a proposed industrial campaign to save their jobs, following ugly clashes between police and students earlier this week.

Sydney University’s Sydney College of the Arts, at Callan Park, and the University of NSW’s UNSW Art and Design, in Paddington, have been in uproar since their merger was announced two weeks ago.

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Malmö Art Academy Threatened With Closure

Save Malmö Art Academy

MALMÖ, SWEDEN—Benjamin Sutton reports at Hyperallergic that the Malmö Art Academy in Malmö, Sweden may be forced to close due to the municipal government’s decision to give Lund University—which operates the academy—only a year to vacate their building, which has housed the academy for the past twenty-one years since its founding in 1995.

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