• Sydney Uni backtracks on art school merger with Uni of NSW
  • Sydney Uni now plans to close Callan Park arts campus, slash 25 jobs and end Visual Arts degree
  • Students occupy art school admin office to protest cuts

Staff and students from Sydney Uni’s College of the Arts have escalated their battle with university management, permanently occupying the school’s admin office at Callan Park.

The dispute began in June when Sydney Uni attempted to close down the arts college to merge it with University of NSW Art and Design. This met heavy student and teacher backlash, forcing a back down.

However the joy of campaigners was short-lived. Sydney Uni still plans to close the Callan Park campus, end the Bachelor of Visual Arts degree and move students and staff to the main campus at Darlington. 

Jemima, a second year print media student at the SCA, said the changes would be harsh, especially the loss of 25 full time teaching jobs.

“Our technical staff and academic staff are the lifeblood of our studio work, most are practising artists and all are experts in their field,” she said. “Someone with 20 years of experience working the same printing press cannot be replaced.” 

Jemima said the demise of the Bachelor of Visual Arts degree would be devastating for students and the wider community.

“Studying Visual Arts is a really hard choice to make because often schools, family, friends and institutions will fail to support or value young artists. Cutting the BVA at USYD sends out a toxic message to prospective artists.

“With understanding, innovation and commitment from the university, I believe the Callan Park site can remain the home of a leading art school.”

Last Sunday, Unions NSW assisted in organising a rally at the SCA campus where a number of unions came out in support of the campaign. 

The broader union movement and the local community continues to actively support the campaign through promoting activities and offering assistance to the students and staff.

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