New program in Social Practice and Community Engagement—honours study emerging at the interface of art and community
Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne
Above: Fesival Lima Gunung XVII, Wonolelo, Yogyakarta 2018.
Above: Fesival Lima Gunung XVII, Wonolelo, Yogyakarta 2018.

Application deadline: January 31, 2019

Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne
Southbank Campus
234 St. Kilda Road
Melbourne 3006

Over the past two decades a major current of contemporary art has considered “the social” an artistic medium of its own. Many artists are no longer content to allow the experience of an artwork to rely solely on materials or performances located in a specialist arts institution, but see their work in an expanded field of cultural production where artistic creation involves both artist and audience. This democratisation of the arts has still relied on a historically Western distinction between art and other forms of community practice, and many artists have called this distinction into question. As a leader in artistic education—the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne welcome a new initiative—an honours program born from the Bachelor of Fine Arts, specialising in Cultural Practice and Community Engagement.

The Victorian College of the Arts, within the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne’s Southbank Campus, is situated on the land occupied by 1000 generations of Australia’s first people. In 2019, students will work with well-known theatre practitioner, researcher and activist Tania Cañas, to engage with Naarm (Melbourne) as a vital, artistic community. The VCA is committed to providing a deep and transformative learning experience in pursuit of artistic excellence, innovation and an absorbing education with a strong social conscience. All are welcome in our community of artists: as contemporary artists, writers, choreographers, musicians, designers, performers, actors, filmmakers, dancers and many more, our student and staff are committed to the production of new, meaningful artistic work.

The program for 2019 is centred around three week-long intensive fieldwork visits in Melbourne, Central Australia and Indonesia. The cohort will travel to the Northern Territory with Pakeha artist Beth Sometimes, and spend time in Western Victoria in Gunditjmara lands with the Head of the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Art and Cultural Development, Associate Professor Richard Frankland. The intensives bring students into real-world, place based arts initiatives under the guidance of community focused artists and scholars.

The Honours program in Social Practice and Community Engagement is for students that have completed an undergraduate degree in the creative arts who wish to develop their research ability and extend their creative practice in communities outside a traditional arts context. It is a year-long program that allows you to undertake advanced work in social practice; develop fluency in the conceptual and practical issues involved in engaging communities and further develop your capacity as a better informed, skilled and more articulate artist.

You will develop an independent major project (or series of projects) and receive a thorough grounding in practice-based and theoretical research methods. The program offers a direct entry pathway to a PhD as well as equipping you with the skills to work as a social practice artist in broader arts and community settings.

January 18, 2019


Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne, Melbourne