The existence of the University of Melbourne’s Discussion Paper on VCA marks a huge achievement for all those that have spoken out in defence of the College.

In less than a year, we all managed to create a mechanism by which VCA can be saved.

However, the job is far from over.

The Discussion Paper is meaningless unless those who have fought to SAVE VCA (over 13,000 people according to Facebook!) put finger to keyboard and submit their thoughts to the University.

Click to skip to MS Word Template – do your submission in 5 minutes.

How To Make A Submission

Ideally, the best way to make a submission is to read the Background section of this website and the full Discussion Paper so you have an understanding of what’s gone wrong and what needs to be done. However these are big documents so if you don’t have the time – don’t worry.

Your submission can take on any format you like (e.g. a letter, dot points) and be any length. A submission template and submission samples are available below. Key areas you may like to cover include:

  1. VCA NOW: If you are a student or staff member, give the Review Committee a sense of what has been lost post-merger and how this has affected you.
  2. VCA FUTURE – CURRICULUM: Should VCA be 100% practical or liberal arts (aka Melbourne Model) or another combination? Be as specific as possible e.g. the number of contact hours, term length, how many students in a class, how many studio vs lecture classes, how much private tuition. See Discussion Paper pages 21-22.
  3. VCA FUTURE – STRUCTURE: Should VCA remain a Faculty of UoM or demerge (aka back to pre 2007) or become completely independent and funded by the Arts Ministry like NIDA? See Discussion Paper pages 27-28.
  4. VCA FUTURE – MISSION: What should VCA do? What should it give its students? What should the outcomes be? What do they need in order to be able to get work? What does the industry need of graduates? What is required of VCA to make the best contribution to the Arts economy? What should VCA be offering that is unique in Melbourne?
  5. PERSONAL GOALS: It is extremely important the Review Committee understand your area of interest e.g. if you are talent agent, explain if you think the Melbourne Model will affect graduate quality. If you are an arts business, explain to what degree you are reliant on VCA graduate quality and numbers. If you are a film student, explain why sessional teachers are important to you being able to get work. etc etc.

Everyone’s thoughts are important. Students, teachers, alumni, students from other institutions, industry, VCA Mums & Dads, arts lovers, friends of artists. The more voices are heard, the more chance we have

And When You’re Done…

Email your submission to vcam-feedback@unimelb.edu.au by 12/02/10 (BCC us savevca@savevca.org)

Generic Submission Template

Click the Microsoft Word logo to download a generic Discussion Paper submission. If you don’t have alot of time, all you need do is personalise the template in the seven (7) spots indicated throughout the document. It will take you 5 to 10 minutes. But of course, feel free to add bits, delete bits or do your own from scratch. Remember this is just an example template – there are no right or wrong answers. Your opinion is what matters.

Email your submission to vcam-feedback@unimelb.edu.au by 12/02/10 (BCC us savevca@savevca.org)

Sample Submissions

#1 Detailed submission by a VCA Music Theatre graduate. This submission is an example of how you could base your document on the questions raised in the Discussion Paper itself. Download the submission here. The author is also happy to supply the Word Doc version if you would like to use any of it (just email us to ask for a copy).

#2 Personalised submission based on the SAVE VCA template by a VCA Music graduate. This submission shows how it’s not necessary to follow the question format of the Discussion Paper, and how including personal experience makes the submission stronger. Download the submission here.

#3 Personalised submission based on the SAVE VCA template by a VCA postgraduate Drama student. This submission is particularly interesting when you consider the Melbourne Model is all about getting students to do post graduate study. Download the submission here.

#4 Personalised submission based on the SAVE VCA template by a VCA Film & TV graduate who has now started their own business Film Adventures. So much VCAM Dean Sharman Pretty’s assertion that only the Melbourne Model could deliver students that can “sustain themselves”. Download the submission here.

#5 Personalised submission based on the SAVE VCA template by some VCA Parents. This submission highlights role of families in supporting VCA students as they undertake the intensive, practical-based training VCA provides (and how that training offering was most attractive for the child of these VCA Parents). Download the submission here.

#6 Personalised submission based on the SAVE VCA template by current VCA Drama student. This submission includes a “coal face” knowledge of life at VCA now, including the loss of school reputation, staff, teaching time and even the head of the drama school. This submission also highlights that students choose VCA because they are wholly focused on a very defined vocation (in this case, being an actor) and thus they do no want “breadth” (and in the author’s case, he left study at another school because it did not have enough studio training). The author also rejects the Dean’s assertion VCA’s specialist courses are “siloed”. The name of this respondent has been withheld at their request. Download the submission here.

#7 Personalised submission based on the SAVE VCA template by prospective VCA Drama student. This submission outlines how attractive 100% practical study is for students and this authors intent to pursue study elsewhere if VCA goes down the road of the Melbourne Model. Download the submission here.

#8 Personalised submission based on the SAVE VCA template by the partner of a VCA Drama student and VCE Theatre teacher. This submission outlines the authors belief that her liberal arts education was no sufficient when compared to VCA’s specialist offerings. As a teacher, the author laments new English requirements for entry into VCA and the recent limitations placed on the amount of cities VCA now holds auditions. The author also points out the damage done to VCA by the University e.g. through the deliberate removal of the VCA identity. Download the submission here.

#9 Personalised submission based on the SAVE VCA template by the partner of a VCA Music graduate. This submission makes clear the distinction between VCA Music and Conservatorium (Uni Melb Music) offerings and thus the different students they attracted, which is contrast to the Discussion Paper which suggests the former schools competed for the same students. Download the submission here.

#10 Submission from acclaimed opera and music theatre luminary, and long-term SAVE VCA Member Helen Noonan. Ms Noonan’s submission follows the form of a letter and draws specific attention to what elite training must involve. Note Ms Noonan did not attend VCA, but as an artist she still defends the College’s contribution to the industry. Download the submission here.

#11 Submission from SAVE VCA spokesperson and VCA Drama Graduate Julia Zemiro. Ms Zemiro’s letter submission gives a fantastic insight into VCA life – the audition, the training and the result. The submission reminds us we are fighting for a VCA that is adored and revered. Download the submission here.

#12 Submission from Melbourne’s premiere cabaret venue The Butterfly Club which has been a supporter (and employer!) of VCA Production, Acting and Music Theatre graduates for years. This submission highlights the industry’s fear that the loss of courses and specialist training will reduce graduate quality and numbers. Download the submission here.

#13 Based on the SAVE VCA template, this submission from a Visual Art graduate details how the new academic entry requirements of the VCA (see Background section for more info) would have meant this graduate would not be able to gain entry direct entry into VCA today. Download the submission here.

#14 An extensive re-working of the SAVE VCA submission template by a current Music Masters student. This detailed response gives a very clear idea of how UoM Music and VCA Music differ, particularly in relation to the VCA’s strong history in improvisation. The submission also details how the former VCA courses were far from “siloed” (as asserted by the VCAM Dean) and already delivered extensive “specialist breadth” (as opposed to Melbourne Model breadth). Download the submission here.

#15 Using the SAVE VCA submission template, this Visual Art Graduate and now Art teacher at another University gives an interesting insight how non-practical focuses courses at other Universities (in the authors opinion) cannot match VCA’s graduate calibre. Download the submission here.

#16 Writer, producer, actor and singer Eddie Perfect writes to stress the importance of VCA not out of tradition or emotion, but because he asserts VCA is essential to arts business. Download the submission here.

#17 Star of the Drowsy Chaperone (along with SAVE VCA spokesperson Geoffrey Rush!) Alex Rathgeber writes to defend VCA (particularly VCA Music Theatre) from the perspective of a WAAPA graduate – reminding us that the SAVE VCA Week Rally in August 09 was well attended by graduates of NIDA, BAPA, WAAPA and ANAM. Each school is unique and each school is essential. Download the submission here.

Send us your submission so other people can read your take on the VCA’s future (email savevca@savevca.org). We prefer to leave your name on the submission but will remove your contact details. However, you can remain anonymous if you wish.


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