As the University’s prestigious art school prepares to invigorate the main campus with its many disciplines and dynamic creativity, we take a fresh look at all it has to offer.
Sydney College of the Arts is having an historical moment. The University of Sydney’s acclaimed art school is packing up its paintbrushes, pliers, benches, blowpipes, chisels, canvases, glazes, cameras – even the kilns – and moving to the University’s main campus.
In 2020, the SCA will take up residence in the historic Old Teachers College building, which has been completely redesigned with a multimillion-dollar budget by international award-winning architects ARM. And that’s just the start. Once the students move in, they will activate it with their diverse and critically informed creativity, showcasing their work in a dedicated gallery.
No discipline left behind
The new digs have plenty of room for all of SCA’s studios, from painting, photography and printmedia to glass, ceramics and jewellery – and everything in between. SCA comes with traditional techniques along with cutting-edge technologies such as virtual reality. And there’s one other signature SCA ingredient: a stellar reputation for nurturing the next generation of artists.
While students will learn in studios and technical facilities of exceptional quality, opportunities to explore subjects across the University will be considerably easier, which means students can now carefully curate the expertise with which they wish to graduate.
Professor Annamarie Jagose, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
“I am delighted to welcome this famous art school to Sydney’s main campus,” says Professor Annamarie Jagose, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
“Not only does it bring its reputation as a training ground for many of Australia’s most influential living artists – the likes of painter Ben Quilty, filmmaker Jane Campion and designer Marc Newson – but the SCA is also renowned for a form of critically savvy contemporary art practice taught by its highly specialised and award-winning creative-practice academics.”
SCA’s new central location means all Sydney students will be able to take a visual arts elective from the SCA’s generous suite of options, while visual arts students will have greater access to all the benefits that come with the main campus, including subject breadth, clubs and societies, cafes, libraries, and cultural institutions such as the new Chau Chak Wing Museum, the Tin Sheds Gallery, Verge Gallery and nearby Carriageworks, White Rabbit Gallery and the Chippendale creative precinct. All Sydney students are invited to explore the exhibitions, performance and film nights that are part of the SCA’s fare.
“While students will learn in studios and technical facilities of exceptional quality, opportunities to explore subjects across the University will be considerably easier, which means students can now carefully curate the expertise with which they wish to graduate,” says Professor Jagose. “Study at SCA in this new location offers a remarkable opportunity for the astute artist or creative practitioner.”
On the subject of breadth and depth, let’s take a closer look at what the SCA has to offer:
This studio embraces a diverse range of approaches to the medium of clay and encourages experimental and individual expression. We teach throwing, handbuilding, mould-making and casting, as well as kiln and materials technology. You can also develop conceptual approaches to sculptural and installation work to include a variety of media. If you are interested in becoming a designer or maker of one-offs or architectural collaborations, you can develop design skills, including computer-aided design and manufacturing techniques. We also invite you to explore and expand your understanding of cultural issues related to contemporary ceramics.
Facilities: We have a throwing studio with 14 pottery wheels, slip-casting and mould-making facilities including plaster lathe, jigger-jolley and drying cabinet, glaze and clay laboratories and kiln rooms with electric, gas and raku kilns that can accommodate large-scale artworks.
This studio explores a wide range of historical and contemporary concepts and techniques. You will explore glass blowing, hot sculpting, glass fusing and slumping, coldworking, flameworking, aspects of architectural glass and installation, design, lighting and production options. Through focused and self-initiated projects, we encourage you to develop your own approach and set your own parameters, creating a valid and diverse studio practice.
Facilities: We have a range of specialised kilns designed for various applications, some with multipoint annealing computers, while others are designed for quick, sample firings. We offer wax and mould-making equipment, excellent coldworking facilities including lathes, diamond saws, linishers, suhners, core drill, engraving station and flatbed grinders (one with diamond pads). We have sandblasters, a spray booth, lampworking, a new hot-glass facility, including a specially designed US furnace, three glory holes, two large annealers, a knock-off bench with hand torches, LP torches and numerous punties and blowpipes.
Jewellery and object
You’ll gain and build formal metalsmithing skills and be introduced to a diverse range of materials and processes for work of both a utilitarian and conceptual nature. We encourage you to experiment broadly so you can develop a rich and individual visual language. We offer conceptual and practical investigations through projects designed to develop your ideas and expression while acquiring technical and material knowledge. We also invite you to explore and expand your understanding of contemporary cultural and historical issues.
Facilities: We offer fully equipped workshops and studios with hydraulic presses, enamelling kilns, plastics and smithing facilities and 3D-visualisation equipment.
You’ll gain a comprehensive introduction to digital film, digital sound, animation and digital media in the context of contemporary art and cinematic practice. Learn how to use film and video cameras, location and studio sound-recording techniques, location and studio lighting, digital video editing and motion graphics. We encourage you to explore and experiment with our full range of media and technology to produce digital films, video and sound installations, interactive works and animation.
Facilities: We have a production studio with studio lights and a portable green screen; a sound recording and post-production studio, a traditional film-editing studio, an analogue lab for converting analogue media into digital, two specialist labs for producing digital-media projects and post-production for digital video projects. There is also a viewing room for screening work. You can also borrow from our extensive range of production equipment to use on location.
We’ll equip you with the creative skills related to all aspects of this dynamic and expanding studio. We emphasise conceptual and practical investigations through projects designed to foster individual interpretations and aesthetic development. We’ll guide you in gaining technical skills and enhancing your engagement with research. We offer instruction in digital photomedia and chemical photography, as well as photomedia installation, including the still and moving image; documentary photography; and experimental and contemporary practice using analogue and digital technologies.
Facilities: We have a range of photographic facilities that allow for the use of a variety of analogue photographic media from 35mm through to large format. This includes film-processing, black-and-white wet darkrooms and specialised mural enlarging and processing facilities, as well as the opportunity for utilising a range of alternative photographic practices and synthesising digital and analogue practice. We also offer a range of digitally oriented facilities including fully equipped photographic lighting studios with a selection of flash and constant lighting and computer labs with a comprehensive offering of image editing and manipulation software.
We believe painting should be an entirely unfettered enterprise that takes place in full recognition of the overall vitality and inventiveness of contemporary art. It is critically and materially engaging and viscerally seductive. You’ll engage with representation, abstraction and a range of compositional methods. We’ll help you expand your approaches to painting by considering a variety of other contemporary media: you may choose to fuse painting with digital, sculptural or other spatial elements. You might think about painting from the perspective of installation or its relationship to architecture or particular sites. We’ll investigate diverse technical skills that span both water-based and oil-based mediums. We tailor demonstrations of other mediums (such as tempera, encaustic and watercolour) to individual needs. Our teaching bridges historical and contemporary approaches and takes into account how these inform one another. We’ll encourage you to consider the many contexts in which painting can be displayed, as well its many potentials as an important interdisciplinary medium today.
Facilities: We have a specially designed oil-painting studio and another studio devoted to water-based painting. We offer paint and stretcher preparation areas, painting racks to store large canvases in progress, easels, data projectors and space in which you can experiment with painting in an expanded field.
Printmedia explores the use of print processes, both digital and traditional, within a contemporary visual-art context. Drawing, photography, collage and digital graphics are signature mediums and we encourage you to engage with these processes in a wide variety of ways. Students can produce a wide variety of work, from fine-art prints to comics, screen-printed artworks to drawing, artist books to installations. We’ll cover primary print processes including screen-printing, etching and relief printing, through to digital prints, artists publications and installation.
Facilities: Our excellent facilities support screen-printing, artist publications, digital printing, screen-printing and etching.
We’ll address the language of three-dimensional space not only by exploring materials, objects and processes, but also through the relationship between the body and its spatial surrounds. We encourage a range of approaches to making art, including site-specific, institutional critique and ephemeral work. You will develop techniques central to the history of sculpture such as casting, carving, welding, and assemblage. The heritage of conceptual art is also a fundamental consideration, and we encourage you to include video and photography in your spatial explorations, either as mediums in their own right or as tools for documenting your work.
Facilities: We encourage you to explore and use all the facilities in the College workshop (see below).
All students enrolled in SCA units of study have access to our comprehensive timber and metal workshop. We offer small handtools, electric tools and large, specialised equipment for a range of materials and processes. For timber, facilities include a panel saw, a mitre saw, radial arm saws, a scroll saw, a drill press, a thicknesser, a lathe, band saws, a belt sander and a disc sander. For metal, a Mig welder, a stick welder, an oxy cutter, a metal drill press, a steel band saw, a metal linisher, a sheet metal roller, a guillotine and a plasma cutter.
Timber workshop provides speciality equipment such as panel saw, mitre saw, radial arm saws, scroll saw, band saws, belt sander and disc sander, drill press, thicknesser and wood lathe.
Before using this workshop, you will need to complete a safety induction.