Showcasing creative arts and media in Penrith

Date: 19/08/2002

An exciting new vision in creative arts is set to be realised at the University of Western Sydney.

UWS is developing a new 'creative arts and media precinct' at its Penrith campus which will house more than 2,300 arts students. This will be achieved by relocating the University's fine arts and photography courses from Bankstown to complement the existing classes in the School of Communication, Design and Media and the School of Contemporary Arts.

UWS Dean of Arts, Education and Social Sciences, Professor Wayne McKenna, says it's an exciting time for both students and the community.

"We want to give creative arts and communication a higher profile in Western Sydney. By centralising classes on one campus, it allows us to boost spending on facilities, and give the University's creative arts students more choice and flexibility in their coursework," he says.

The move will make the Penrith Campus one of the largest concentrations of study in creative arts communication and media in Australian universities, offering a unique and comprehensive range of creative arts subjects, including fine arts, design, digital media, animation, journalism, advertising, public relations, dance, theatre, electronic arts, photography, video and sound production, and music.

Professor McKenna says more than $800,000 is being spent on capital works infrastructure for the new 'creative arts' precinct. This includes a major redevelopment and expansion of the photographic studios.

"Money's also been earmarked for new digital computer laboratories, relocating specialist equipment to Penrith, including ceramic kilns, and amalgamating the screenprinting units of the School of Communication, Design and Media with the School of Contemporary Arts."

Professor McKenna said the University is committed to its creative arts and media program. This is highlighted by the work of BA Honours student Ben Denham, who has just won the prestigious $40,000 Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship.

He says the University is also working with outside partners to showcase its creative programs to the community.

"The University has a partnership with the neighbouring TAFE campus at Kingswood to boost infrastructure, and improve the pathways between study at TAFE, and at UWS," Professor McKenna says.
"The precinct has also been chosen by the Ministry for the Arts as a site for an Artists in Residence program for 2003. Selected artists will reside in a heritage house in St Marys and work on campus. The program will give students a closer involvement in theatre, music and fine arts."

"We're working with Parramatta's Riverside Theatre to stage a festival next year to showcase the University's creative arts students, and we're also speaking with Penrith City Council about establishing a regular production presence in the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, which is currently undergoing extensive renovations," Professor McKenna says.

"The changes are a win-win situation for both students and the community. Students get more flexibility in their studies and the benefits of artistic collaborations, while our outside partnerships will give the community a chance to enjoy the fruits of their labours," Professor McKenna concluded.

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For more media information and requests for interviews, please contact
Angela McIntyre
UWS Senior Media Officer
Ph: 02 9678 7472
Mob 0419 244595