Monday, 17 September 2012

Bad News for NSW TAFEs: Fine Arts Courses Defunded

The NSW government announced last Thursday that it will no longer fund fine arts courses at TAFE, effective 1 Januray 2013, citing low job prospects for graduates as their rationale. This is sad news affecting over 4000 arts students at NSW TAFEs. As NAVA (The National Association for Visual Arts) points out, graduates of fine arts programs apply their skills in a variety of creative industries, ranging from self-employment as independent practicing artists to working in media, industry and management roles.

NAVA's summary of the under-recognised value of creative arts is well put:

"Fine Arts are a part of the creative industries, which are not only cultural industries. They also drive innovation and add value to commercialization, distribution, marketing and design in all sectors of the economy. Creative skills are applied in the workplace with a strong degree of commercial focus, optimizing commercial output and growing creative input. They are part of the emerging services economy and therefore part of Australia’s future.

"Australia’s challenge is to integrate cultural production into the economic landscape. The creative industries are enablers of creative networks and spaces and of new business models. They contribute 2.8% of gross GDP (more than agriculture; communications; and electricity, gas and water supply). The visual arts, design and architecture makes up over 11% of the creative industries and have been growing in terms of employment opportunity. (See the Centre for International Economics, Creative Industries Economic Analysis June 2009)."

What does this mean for the Jewellery and Object Design course at Sydney Institute of TAFE's Design Centre Enmore? With Victorian TAFEs facing course and campus closures as a result of funding cuts of $300 million, and NSW and Queensland TAFEs looking at funding cuts of around $80 million each, what TAFE courses in jewellery are not currently under threat? I know of one Advanced Diploma of Jewellery offered in Perth. Of course we have NMIT and Box Hill TAFEs in Melbourne, and we're fighting to save TAFE in Victoria. I'd be interested to know if there are any other TAFE jewellery programs (other than apprenticeships) out there that aren't facing an uncertain future right now.

Best of luck to NSW: We'll be thinking of your TAFEs too when we rally to save Victorian TAFEs on Thursday. 


  1. Thanks for sharing this Mel. I notice that ceramics is targeted, but not jewellery. Can you keep us updated about the NSW scene?

    1. Thanks, Kevin. I'll do my best to stay informed about the situation in both Victoria and NSW and keep posting updates!