Vice-Chancellor's Award for Innovation (Service & Solution)

ANU School of Art and Design Education Committee, School of Art and Design
20 November 2018

Team leader Dr Geoff Hinchcliffe at the ANU School of Art and Design says the school has been making significant changes since a College request to do some modest administration changes to the Bachelor of Visual Arts.

"We capitalised on the opportunity and saw it as a way to build some bigger and more important changes," he says.

"We thought it was a good chance to improve the program and the experience for our students."

The committee has redefined the Bachelor of Visual Arts to create a more flexible and sustainable teaching and learning experience for students, academics and administrators.

The existing program was based on the original workshop studio model first introduced in the late 1970s and had become inflexible and increasingly difficult to administer.

"We saw the need to allow more mobility for students to be able to move between workshop majors - if they change their mind and want to change a major, it should be easy to do that," Dr Hinchcliffe says.

"We also saw an opportunity to allow people to bring those majors together in a far more innovative way, in marrying disciplines together to generate new and innovative art forms and practices. 

"You can see there is tension. We want to maintain the incredible specialisation the School is renowned for, that disciplinary depth, but we also want to allow a more curious hybrid form of practice that we see happening in the art world.

"And of course, we wanted to improve access for all students across the campus - the School's courses are a perfect complement to so many of the University's academic programs. 

"With the consent of staff and students, we were able to make some fairly significant structural changes to the degree that will improve flexibility, hybridity and access.

"The School has been incredibly consultative. It allowed more than six months of extensive consultation with every single stakeholder including students.

"We didn't want to do too much and break anything. We didn't want to upset people unnecessarily but there were important changes the School wanted to make."