Last week a new voice emerged in the VCA debate in the form of Ex (and 10-year veteran) VCA Film & TV lecturer Steve Thomas. Steve Thomas, no longer the documentary lecturer, takes up the story, in a year when the documentary course is not being offered at all at VCAM.
Published by Screen Hub on 22/02/10, Thomas supplies an incredible insight into what life is really like for VCAM staff, most particularly the unofficial VCAM Management policy of “change by stealth”. Thomas examines the world-class teaching methods which are being trashed in spite of the ongoing Review, and how staff morale is being beaten by everything from economic pressures (e.g. growing classes, forced to teach “more cleverly”) to the plain ludicrous (emails pressuring experienced staff to get PhDs). Thomas blows a hole into PR catch-cry of the Dean (Sharman Pretty), Deputy Dean (Kristy Edmunds) and Vice Chancellor’s (Glyn Davis) that “nothing has changed” or change is “proposed not imposed”, showing how courses (like documentary) are being quietly gotten rid of through new administration requirements.
Using the Film & TV industry as example, Thomas explains VCA’s vital role to arts business and the fact there is simply no choice – VCA must survive as an elite training ground.
Truly a remarkable read.
In other news, SAVE VCA received an email at 2.30PM on Thursday 25 Feb that “the Chair of the VCAM Review Committee is now inviting individuals and group representatives to meet with the committee next Tuesday 2 March at Southbank.” Yes. That would be three business days notice. After asking if we could have more time, we were told “March 2 is the only public consultation day scheduled at this point however I believe there will be another day to be decided after Tuesday.” As such, we’re not risking missing out and will be presenting on March 2 for 30 minutes (and 30 minutes of question time from the Committee).
This hastily put together public “consultation” does not bode well for an already suspect review and one can’t help but notice it has been schedule at the same time as the Melbourne Writers Festival and the Adelaide Arts Festival, meaning many industry officials are unable to attend. Is the University just racing towards a finding which is already written, printed, bound and waiting to be released? Post your comments below.