You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Sydney Uni to keep art school

AAP logoAAP 28/07/2016 By Frances Mao

The University of Sydney has backed down on plans to merge its visual arts school with a rival campus following opposition from students, staff and the wider arts community.

In an email to students, vice-chancellor Michael Spence said the university had come to the view that the proposed merger of the Sydney College of Arts with the University of NSW's Art and Design school should not proceed because of the campuses' different artistic visions.

"Despite the best efforts of all involved, our two institutions have a different vision of what a centre of excellence in the visual arts might entail and the extent to which it is important to preserve the SCAs distinctive tradition."

Students claimed victory over the deal's termination but say they are still wary of the move from their historic Callan Park studio facilities to the main campus in Darlington next year.

"We stopped the university from closing our campus, and the next fight is to make sure we can stay at Callan Park with our studios and staff," Tamara Voninski, a PhD candidate at SCA, said.

The university has been under fire from the broader arts community since June when it announced plans for a new mega-school consisting of the UNSW and Sydney Uni faculties and potentially the National Art School, to be located at the UNSW campus.

Critics said the merger had been driven by commercial imperatives and would have made the fine arts scene in Sydney less diverse.

Students ran a very public campaign against the changes, staging protests at the Archibald Prize and winning the support of a wide swathe of the city's artistic community.

Prominent alumnus, painter Ben Quilty regularly rallied on social media against the changes to his 'beloved' art school, citing the luminaries that came out of the college such as artists Shaun Gladwell and Fiona Lowry, and film director Jane Campion.

There are about 700 students enrolled in the Sydney College of Arts.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon