Are you thinking about studying communications or creative arts? In this month’s industry update, we summarise what’s been happening in these fields — from new courses and grants to funding changes and industry reforms.
Courses in communications and creative arts are constantly evolving, with new and interesting specialisations and a greater focus on practical experience. You can expect to be involved with industry, be able to access mentors and, in many cases, tailor your program to suit your specific interests.
If you’re looking to continue your studies, RMIT University has launched a new postgraduate degree — the Master of Disaster, Design and Development — which explores how design can be used as a strategic tool to help resolve complex global challenges, including poverty, natural disasters and climate change. It will be offered at the university’s Melbourne City campus and in Barcelona.
And if you want to boost your skill set off campus, it’s worth attending masterclasses, public lectures and workshops. Ask around, as you can probably get information from student advisers, your course coordinator or lecturers. Otherwise, see what’s on offer at your local museum, gallery or cultural centre; head to Arts Hub’s courses and training page; or investigate short courses or MOOCs.
Applications are currently being accepted by a number of government departments and large corporates, which might be your next step if you’re nearing the end of your degree. These programs are a great way to get started in your field and usually offer rotations so you can explore different roles and see where they can take you. They’re not just for finance or accounting graduates either; in fact, many accept aspiring communicators and some have design streams. Check out government departments in your state (or federal government if you’re a Canberran or keen to move) as well as big professional services firms and banks — the ‘Big Four’ usually offer a range of student and graduate programs.
There are also many grants and funding opportunities available to students. And they’re not just from your own institution — check out organisations such as the National Association for the Visual Arts and scholarships such as the JB Fairfax Award for Rural Journalism (the latter provides up to $10,000 and practical work experience for students looking to pursue a journalism career in a rural area).
Internships are a rite of passage these days, particularly in competitive fields — but are they always ethical? The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) is launching a new drive to educate interns and employers about their rights and responsibilities. The MEAA Guidelines to Media Internships were created in collaboration with Interns Australia following growing concern that media students and graduates were being exploited by employers. The MEAA notes that while internships are a valuable way for students to gain practical experience in media, communications and related fields, they should not be a source of free labour. Recently, an employer was fined $24,000 for failing to pay two interns over a 20-month period.
Media law is another area experiencing change, with the federal government initiating a significant media reform package in March. Stemming from changes in how we access media, it will involve repealing a range of media ownership and control rules.
In Victoria, the Creative State strategy is providing more than $115 million in funding to grow the creative and cultural economy, boost local enterprises and create new jobs. And the benefits aren’t just for those based in Melbourne, with a Regional Centre for Culture set to be established and significant investment planned in Bendigo, Ballarat, Shepparton and the Latrobe Valley. There is also support for a regional White Night event, which would take place in 2017.
Meanwhile, the Art Gallery of South Australia has introduced a new $100,000 art prize, open to artists aged under 40. The Ramsay Art Prize will be awarded every two years from 2017. Entries open in September 2016, with judging taking place in January 2017 and the winner announced at an exhibition in May.
On a less positive note, the MEAA reports that the arts community and public broadcasting have been shortchanged by the federal government, with no additional funding for the arts in the Federal Budget 2016–17 and ABC job cuts on the horizon. Also at the ABC, funding for specialist news services will be cut by $18.6 million over the next three years. Things are looking a little brighter over at SBS, with the broadcaster securing an additional $15.1 million on top of its base funding allocation.