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University is adapting fine arts to support its students

For decades, The University of Newcastle (UON) has been graduating students from a diverse range of creative disciplines including music, creative writing, performing arts, fine art, communication, design and natural history illustration. We have graduated many artists who have gone on to contribute to the creative vitality of our region.
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We are fortunate to live and work in a region that has been such a significant creative hub, across theatre, all forms of visual art, music and cultural festivals, and more recently as a centre of design, audio-visual production and new media. Hunter communities are strong supporters of the creative arts and industries, adding vibrancy to our region’s social, cultural and economic landscape, and contributing to our sense of wellbeing and social inclusion.

OPPORTUNITY: Hunter communities are strong supporters of the creative arts, adding vibrancy to our region’s social, cultural and economic landscape. Picture: Marina Neil

Creative industries are often micro businesses or small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that focus on local markets, but can also develop into powerful economic clusters, helping to drive economic growth. As our region transitions from a resources-based economy, the creative industries can be significant players in developing a new identity and leveraging the unique position of Newcastle and the Hunter in Australia’s contemporary visual, performing and creative arts scene.

The key trends in creative arts education are toward graduates that are creative and visionary but are also adaptable and skilled across the spectrum of creative professions. Creative people today want both artistic and financial freedom. Many desire to turn their creative ideas into experiences, products and services that add to our lives in meaningful ways.

As a result, the University has launched a strategy to ensure that future generations of students across the creative sectors graduate with the skills they need to succeed in the new innovation-based economy.

From 2017, UON will be offering new degrees in the creative industries at Bachelor and Masters level. As part of this journey of reinvention, Fine Art will now be taught from within the Bachelor of Creative Industries, which will open up a range of options for students that are in demand.

Our new degrees will offer students the choice to specialise in a chosen field of individual creative interest, such as visual art, performing arts, music, design, IT or communication and media, or the option of study across this wide range of disciplines. This choice of breadth or depth will be built around a core of critical courses in entrepreneurship, business skills, digital capabilities and social innovation, all within the creative context, and designed to help our students succeed in their chosen field.

Unlike any other degrees previously offered in this area, students will now have the opportunity to develop professional networks, work with a range of stakeholders and audiences, and develop sought-after skills for future employment and entrepreneurial possibilities.

Whether students pursue a solo artistic career, or aspire to be part of a start-up, or aim to work for an established corporation, the range of skills delivered by our new degrees will allow them to sustainably shape their own future and their social and cultural environments.

The University is proud to lead this creative industries enterprise by offering a unique combination of education, research and innovation activity that will build on our community’s creative heritage.

Professor John Germov,Pro Vice-Chancellor,Faculty of Education and Arts