By Sam Dallas
The VCAM's Film and Television program could become a postgraduate course, but further information is unclear in the University of Melbourne-commissioned review into the future of the internationally-renowned college.
The 16-page review, released after six months and more than 370 submissions, said "there is some support for such an approach in the models adopted by some successful arts institutions abroad".
However, the report stopped short of "proposing an inspirational strategic plan for the VCAM, or describing a future state when the VCAM could claim to be the 'jewel in the crown' of the University of Melbourne, the State of Victoria and the nation. There is simply too much to do in the short term to stabilize the VCAM and set it on the right path."
It does however state in the review, which was independently chaired by former Telstra head Dr Ziggy Switkowski, that “the emphasis upon an intense studio-based and performance-oriented learning experience…is special and needs to be maintained”.
The review was commissioned after protests were held last year over the merger between VCA and the University of Melbourne in 2007.
It goes on to declare that the VCAM operates with a budget deficit of about $6 million a year, however it’s unclear what it will do once an agreement with the University of Melbourne concludes at the end of 2011.
There’s good news for prospective musical theatre and puppetry students though as the review encourages the reinstatement of the courses after they received the axe last year.
It was recommended that the introduction of the “Melbourne Model”, where students have to undertake 25 per cent breadth subjects in another area, be postponed until at least 2012, pending further discussions.
“We welcome the acknowledgment that many VCA students already are well educated by the time they come to school and don’t need ‘breadth’ forced upon them,” SaveVCA campaigner and 2006 graduate Scott Dawkins said in a statement.
“[But] overall, the review… is a toothless tiger. Nothing measurable is recommended, nothing brave.”
The report will be considered by the University before any decision is made.
INSIDEFILM understands the University won’t officially respond to the review until August at the earliest.
Check out INSIDEFILM's June issue for a special feature on screen education.