Arts and the VET-HELP Funding Cuts in Australia

This is very interesting and I have been following along with personal interest, of course. I have a problem with the stopping of Arts funding, but not necessarily a problem with stopping funding to courses that have had zero students in the past few years. I understand NIDA’s point of view, that they only take a small number of “best and brightest” students each year so as not to flood the market, but a lot of these courses being cut are not intentionally keeping their enrollment low for quality assurance purposes, the enrollment just IS low because there is little to no demand for them.

I have conflict in that I truly believe that anyone who wants to study the arts should be able to. However, will this move make community arts organisations more valuable in the long run and would the money perhaps be better off spent on peer mentoring schemes for artists? Or does this take away some of the legitimacy that artists are striving for over the long term to be seen as a viable, authentic and educated career choice?

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Lifestyle Choice???

I think that for a lot of people, the term, “Lifestyle Choice” when it came to artistic careers felt quite degrading. It is the denigration of the passion and commitment and training it takes to get anywhere in the field. It was also that the idea that what artists do is not legitimate. That we are somehow so separate from society as to not be included within it. As if you are not surrounded by the creative thoughts of people everyday, from the houses you live in to the computer you work on or the IKEA picture you have hanging on your wall.
I wonder whether it is the trickle down effect that is so disturbing here though. That the Arts was so hard hit out of so many courses seems to be indicative of the value it has throughout society in general and that in the future it will have even less because it will be funded less. Only 13 out of the previous 70 made the cut. The hardest thing about this is that there HAS been dodginess within the vocational training industry and the private college sector for a long time, so it is understandable that the industry needs an overhaul. But for those creative courses that HAVE been doing the right thing, it must be quite enraging and discouraging. They will be feeling the stain of being tarred with the same brush for years to come.

017The other problem I see with this is that artists are generally lacking in funds and doing the simplest of courses in painting, printmaking, jewellery making is expensive for a variety of reasons. The materials used in a lot of these courses can be hard to come by and cost a lot in both time and money to procure and work with. So for a lot of artists, myself included, a lot of the time, doing art with high quality or even basic student quality materials becomes a prohibitive exercise. Having a place in a VET-HELP funded course helps a lot in training in those skills you need and working in the materials you feel best suits your creative outlet is a huge relief on the financial burden to a lot of artists out there.

I HAVE read the list of courses that are being cut. I would have preferred that the funding being cut from VET Arts courses be diverted into other Support of the Arts funding. But it was not….and THAT is a whole other topic for another day….Thoughts anyone?

Refs:
Business Insider: Funding cuts threat to creative arts
https://www.businessnews.com.au/article/Funding-cuts-threat-to-creative-arts

Jewellery Diplomas Stripped of Government Funding
http://www.jewellermagazine.com/Article.aspx?id=7075&h=Jewellery-diplomas-stripped-of-government-funding

Can you still get a student loan for your TAFE or Private College Course?
http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/vet-courses-eligible-for-student-loans/7919402

Australian Government VET Student Loans Information
http://www.education.gov.au/vet-student-loans

Government stands firm on Stopping Arts Courses From Getting Student Loans.
http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/govt-stands-firm-on-arts-courses/8035460

All photos used originals from ALISON JAMES ART.

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