A recent article by Gina Fairley in ArtsHub raised a question that may be on the minds of many in art schools: ‘Is glass - and by extension other art forms . . . sustainable enough as professions to be offered at universities?’
With the much discussed closure of SCA’s Callan Park campus, which as far as is known is still on the cards, glass and associated art forms will take a hit from the reduction of both facilities and emerging artists. But Fairly points out that the problem is not only centred on Sydney. Colleagues in ANU and UniSA also point to the difficulties of retaining comparatively expensive but crucial infrastructure in the current financially challenging university environment. Attendees at the recent AusGlass conference in Canberra heard from keynote speaker Ben Wright, Director of UrbanGlass in New York, an independent studio that provides resources for both students and professional glass artists who called for greater collaboration between students and professionals, and between disciplines as a way forward. He cited the example of a program for architecture students whose final presented designs were actually impossible to make, as an example of the need for greater understanding across disciplines. As Fairley's article concludes: “The most resounding answer across this discussion was from Gabrielle Bisetto: "You have to make it the most popular workshop in the school – otherwise you disappear in the system"’.
The full ArtsHub article is at: http://www.artshub.com.au/news-article/features/arts-education/gina-fairley/craft-artists-suffer-in-university-system-253085