VCA Review Gets Telstra Chairperson

Posted by webmaster on November 26th, 2009
Dr Ziggy Switkowski, Former Telstra CEO

Dr Ziggy Switkowski, Former Telstra CEO

In an move that is polarising opinion, UoM have appointed former Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski to Chair the VCA Review Committee.

Ziggy has never worked as an artist, nor as an artist educator, nor had a he run an arts business, but he does have exposure to non-UoM opinions through his role at the Australian Major Performing Arts Group. He has also had a very successful corporate career and headed a review into the nuclear industry. Perhaps it’s good to have someone who can come to VCA with fresh eyes? Or is he not qualified for this crucial role? What do you think? Post your comments below

We wait to see who will form the rest of the Review Committee as to whether UoM are really interested in giving Mr Switkowski and Ms Delahunty colleagues from a range of viewpoints

You can read the University of Melbourne Press Release here

You can also read a recent article from  09-11-26 in The Age

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4 Responses to “VCA Review Gets Telstra Chairperson”

  1. Work at getting Ziggy on side. Should not be hard – he’s a very intelligent, credible bloke who will be able to see a “no brainer” – after all saving the VCA (and dropping the tautological ‘& M’ is hardly nuclear physics. Come on Ziggy – fix this mess and avoid the train wreck – for VCA, Melbourne, Victoria and Australia – and UM! Ron Dent

  2. Jeannie Marsh

    When I read this news in teh paper my heart sank. “Fresh eyes” maybe, but knowledgeable about arts training? I don’t think so. I fear that under his chairmanship short-term concerns about budget bottom-lines will take precedence. Those of us who are VCA alumni, using what we learnt there in every day of our careers as successful artists and arts educators, know the importance of rigorous arts training. It is difficult for those outside of the arts to understand this reality. However, perhaps I am being too pessimistic, and when Ziggy immerses himself fully in the issues he will see how much is at stake here, and will use his clear-thinking, and his leadership skills, to help the panel find a way towards a solution that prevents further evisceration of VCA courses. Indeed, perhaps there is a solution that allows for a VCA (or a successor) to aim much higher than this: a securely-funded, well-resourced, premier arts training institution that is better than ever before, freed from the constant pressure of years of funding and staffing cuts, and lack of commitment from governments? A place which Victoria claims proudly as its own, a place to be nurtured as a flagship organisation with a powerful history of achievement, and the potential for a great future ahead… This review provides a priceless opportunity to identify what a healthy future for the arts in this State might look like, and what training pathways are needed to best achieve this goal. I hope that all appointed members can undertake their research and deliberations with the young Victorian artists of the future at the forefront of their minds, and hearts.

  3. christian patton

    Just look at the guy… He’s just the type of person (administrator) whose gotten the VCA to the dreadful state its currently in. Its my feeling that the VCA is basically stuffed and that we need to start afresh somewhere else.

  4. Fair go Christian. No sense getting personal. And, besides stereotyping Ziggy’s “looks”, I suspect his is a book one can’t judge by its cover. Far better, even with her initial skepticism, Jeannie’s strongly argued plea. Make no mistake though Ziggy, you have a huge responsibility here, not just to Victoria but the national arts treasure chest. The stuff these kids get out of VCA (I refuse to add the tautology ‘& M’) can’t be taught out of books. Imagine standing before the audition panel in cap and gown holding one’s parchment and expecting to win the part. In this most competitive of business environments the work goes to the ablest. And they are those that have learned and honed there crafts in the furnace of the real world. Real world learning, support and encouragement is what the professional development of our artists of the future need. It should not be hard to see that face-to-face, practical, hands-on instruction and practise is what has made VCA (NIDA and WAAPA) famous – not academic elitism and snobbery. Happy Christmas Ziggy. Don’t just listen to academe. Explore this properly, as I’m sure you will, and let the real world prevail and the Australian arts treasure chest grow, measure for measure. Ron Dent 24/12/09

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