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Plan to disestablish Film Studies retrograde

Association of University Staff

Media Release

Attn Education Reporter 22 February 2008

Plan to disestablish Film Studies programme retrograde, says staff

Victoria University’s proposal to disestablish its Film Programme and create a new Visual Culture “cluster” – tying a truncated Cinema Studies programme to the University’s Art History and Museum and Heritage programme its Adam Art Gallery - is a huge leap backwards, say staff.

A proposal released last week by University management would end the teaching of film production at undergraduate level and see Film Studies courses reduced. The five academic positions in the programme would be disestablished and replaced with three new ones.

Dr Russell Campbell, Associate Professor in the Film Programme described the proposal as profoundly retrograde, adding that it will severely weaken the contribution Film Studies can make to other disciplines. Tying Film to Art History would destroy the strong interdisciplinary links Film currently has with Media Studies and Theatre.

Dr Campbell said that cutting back the Programme completely ignores the regional and national need for a fully fledged, contemporary film programme at university level that can provide graduates with a strong grounding for future careers in film and related industries.

“The film programme has been very successful, with student numbers growing by 26 percent in the last three years and the postgraduate programme flourishing,” Dr Campbell said. “In the last two years Film has had 70 students enrol for double majors with Media Studies, forty-nine with Theatre Studies, forty-six with various other disciplines and just three - that is three out of a total of 168 double majors - with Art History. These figures give some indication of the real interdisciplinary relationships and how students may want to continue postgraduate study.”

Dr Campbell said he was very concerned at the precedent the proposal sets following the negotiation of an Investment Plan between the University and Tertiary Education Commission. “This cannot be what the Government had in mind when it called for a forward-looking, more strategic and differentiated university sector,” he said.

The Association of University staff will be asking members throughout the University to make submissions against the proposal and advocating much greater staff participation in any developments arising from the Investment Plan.

ENDS

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