Uni Melb Spends Big On VCA Advertising – Do You Buy It?

Posted by savevca1 on July 12th, 2011

Barry Conyngham

Yesterday the lavish University of Melbourne advertorial lift-out in The Age featured VCA as its lead story.

Not surprisingly, there was no mention of the SAVE VCA campaign, and there seems to be an unusually heavy focus on justifiying the new Dean (Barry Conyngham) is right for the job, but of note:

  • The long-held suspicion that the University of Melbourne wanted to free up its Parkville real estate has come to fruition – after 120 years, the Conservatorium is being moved to the VCA campus (Southbank).
  • Despite the advertorial being paid for by the University of Melbourne (makers of the generalist “Melbourne Model” who tried to cut specialisation from VCA), the new Dean Barry Conyngham spruiks the traditional VCA training method of vocational training – “our dream is for the Faculty to be intertwined with the arts industry, so our students can optimise their training and be ready to work”.  Unfortunately some of the catch phrases of the former Dean Sharman Pretty live on in the new Dean (albeit watered down), in regards to starting education with the premise not all VCA graduates will succeed in their chosen field, referring to some students having to settle for being “privately creative” and perhaps working in “management, education”. You may remember this attitude was challenged by Geoffrey Rush who suggested this was starting education from a “point of mediocrity”.
  • However, perhaps most telling in the massive change in University rhetoric, is an advertisement for the new BA Fine Art degrees which say “this new degree allows you to specialise in your chosen area from day one”.

So what do you think? A PR job by the University in an attempt to mend their reputation in the arts sector? A clever way to gloss the University’s real estate aspirations? Or is this necessary brand building for VCA to attract high-calibre applicants back to the College? Do you think the new Dean is being practical by preparing for some students to fail in their chosen field? Comment below or on Facebook.

Download the PDF of the advertorial here (note it is a large PDF file – 12MB).

Sidebar – despite repeated requests, both the Dean of VCAM and the Director of VCA have provided no update re: VCA’s continued payment of the exorbitant rental and admin charges to the University of Melbourne. Not surprisingly, VCA’s financial woes under University management are not mentioned in the advertorial.

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4 Responses to “Uni Melb Spends Big On VCA Advertising – Do You Buy It?”

  1. “you can’t teach virtuosity en masse” true, but that’s precicely what they’ve done to the music faculty. bringing parkville down to southbank smells bad for the music students at vca. i still lament the old vca reportoire course and how it differs majorly from the parkville course, mainly in regards to *inspiration* and *creativity*. amidst the merger/funding/model kefuffle it seems the music faculty is not going to be the same again.
    be it PR spin or something we can actually look forward to, it still feels like they’re trying to reinvent the wheel from scratch when the vca had a pretty damn good model before the merge.

  2. Conyngham’s constant references to how the Conservatorium has been ‘left out’ or “disenfranchised” through the events of the last 2 years is not only a distortion of the reality behind the VCA/ Con merger – but a true sign that he is being “steered” by the University power bases. There wont be any real stability for the VCA until it finds greater independence from the University. That ultimately means having a director who isnt dancing to that old University tune…The existing Contemporary music dept within the VCA will no doubt a primary target..

  3. And finally the Council at the University of Melbourne has woken up, and now has deep concerns over Glyn Davis’ Melbourne Model.
    (see The Australian: http://tiny.cc/q4j4v ).

    Not much of a model if the entrance requirement for the postgraduate degree courses is not the previous undergraduate degree, but a high year 12 score some 4 years previously. How can the Council smirk and tell students to compete (or pay), when there is no competing against students with a gold pass “wink-and-nod” into the postgrad degree of their choice. So much for a broad undergraduate degree and all that rubbish. What Model is it now?

  4. Is this right? On May 4th of this year, The Conversation ran a propaganda piece by Glyn Davis, where he tried to defend his ‘Melbourne Model’. The article has the following Disclosure Statement:

    “Glyn Davis does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.”

    Does anyone else find this to be obviously incorrect, perhaps even unethical? How can he not have a vested interest in promoting the very same organisation that pays him?

    The link to the article is:

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