Victorian College of the Arts VCA

The National Gallery of Victoria Art School, founded in 1867 to teach fine art, was the VCA's foundation school. The Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) was established in 1972 by a government order under the Victorian Institute of Colleges Act 1955. Subsequently, in 1973 the VCA was affiliated as a college of advanced education with the Victorian Institute of Colleges. This was followed by the establishment of the School of Music in 1974, the School of Drama in 1976, the School of Dance in 1978 and Film and Television (1992). The VCA integrated into the University of Melbourne in 2007 as a separate faculty. In March 1981, the Minister for the Arts, Norman Lacy, had the Victorian College of the Arts Act passed through the Victorian Parliament. Lacy laid out a rationale for the re-constitution of the College under a VCA specific Act which was derived firstly "from the quite specific demands and circumstances of preparing young artists for professional practise." He asserted that "the basic concept upon which the college is built is that young artists intending to enter careers as practitioners in their various fields are best assisted to achieve their ambitions in a milieu of continuous artistic activity and endeavour of a fully professional nature. To the extent that artistic education is separated from normal professional practice it is so much less effective." Secondly, the rationale related to the adjacent location of the VCA campus to the National Gallery of Victoria and the Victorian Arts Centre. He said that this "Greater Arts Centre concept is central to the Government's decision to reconstitute the college by separate statute as well as to the development of the arts in general. It represents a simple, readily achievable and highly effective means of creating a substantial milieu of continuous professional activity of the highest standards. It also has ramifications which extend far beyond the college and its partner institutions. Its implementation will shape and invigorate the arts in many ways and lead to a dynamic, cultural and social facility without peer in Australia" and that it "afforded an unparalleled opportunity and challenge to present total programmes in the arts which should encourage creative exchanges between the art forms, give inspiration to students of the arts and provide for the public an experience which few places in the world can match." The Government therefore believed that the VCA's role was substantially different from other educational institutions. In 1988 the Federal Minister for Employment, Education and Training introduced a proposal to establish a unified national system of higher education with membership of the proposed system limited to institutions of a particular size. The Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), which had been established by the Victorian Order in Council in 1972 and then reconstituted under The Victorian College of the Arts Act, 1981 (Vic) was not able to participate in the proposed national system in its own right. To enable it to participate in the unified national system, the VCA entered into an Affiliation Agreement with The University of Melbourne on 16 November 1988. With the Victorian College of the Arts (Amendment) Act 1991 (Vic), which established a more extensive relationship between the University and the VCA, the affiliation came to an end. A key feature of the relationship was that the University assumed responsibility for the academic programs of the VCA, and students at the VCA who were enrolled in degree programs became students of the University. On 1 January 1992 further expansion of the college took place when the fine arts programs of the former Faculty of Art and Design, Victoria College (formerly Prahran College of Advanced Education) were incorporated into the School of Art. At the same point in time in 1992 the Swinburne Film and Television School, established as Australia's first Film school in 1966, also transferred to the VCA. The VCA School of Film and Television remained at Hawthorn until 1 July 1994 when it moved into a purpose-built federally funded building on the VCA campus at Southbank. In 2003, under the Higher Education Support Act 2003, the Federal Government's reforms to higher education introduced a consistent funding model for the academic clusters, which came into effect in 2005. This resulted in the removal of the special funding support that the VCA had previously received, representing a 35% reduction in revenue. The University and the VCA commenced discussions in early 2005 about the possibility of full integration. In November 2005, the parties signed a heads of agreement which provided for integration with effect from 1 January 2007. This integration enabled the VCA to become a Faculty of the University. The integration of the VCA resulted in further music related programs being offered by the University, in addition to those already available in the Faculty of Music. In May 2008, the University Council resolved that the Faculty of Music and the Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts would be amalgamated from 6 April 2009. Accordingly, the Faculty of Music was disestablished and the name of the Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts changed to the Faculty of the VCA and Music, within which three schools were established: the School of Art, School of Music and School of Performing Arts. In November 2009, former Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski was appointed to Chair a review. A number of his recommendations were adopted, resulting in the resignation of the inaugural Dean, abandonment of the previous push for full amalgamation, the creation of the present divisional structure with a more centralised administration and two relatively distinct teaching entities at the Parkville and Southbank campuses, and a change in the title of the head of the two divisions to Director. The appointment of a new Dean under this new structure occurred in 2011. On 1 January 2012 the Faculty's name was changed to reflect the two operating divisions and is now known as the Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (Faculty of the VCA and MCM).

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