Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) currently occupies the historic Kirkbride complex at Callan Park which was the largest project undertaken by the colonial architect in the 19th century. Kirkbride is listed on the National Estate and became home to the SCA in 1996 after an investment of around $19 million dollars to renovate the site and create purpose-built facilities.
The University of Sydney has indicated it intends to move SCA from the site in 2017.
“Callan Park is colloquially known as the ‘jewel of the inner west’ and that is because people cherish its historical, social and environmental values. SCA has been a significant tenant in Callan Park for almost 20 years,” said Jamie Parker MP, Greens Member for Balmain.
"This move is more about saving money than it is about creating an arts centre of excellence.
“With the attack on arts funding at a federal level, combined with financially squeezed universities, this move could spell the end of courses deemed as too expensive. SCA contains highly specialised facilities including some of Australia’s best glass and ceramic kilns. This move may prove the end of these important glass and ceramic courses."
“It is no surprise there is public cynicism about the move considering there has been almost no consultation with the local community which has a real stake in the future of the SCA.
“The University is yet to confirm details whether the facilities will be relocated, merged with another faculty or external institution, or even remain available to visual arts students. SCA has a more conceptual and academic focus which is very different to the design focus or traditional arts approach of the National Art School or the College of Fine Arts (UNSW).
“Whilst there are many compelling reasons for continuation of the SCA Rozelle campus, if the Kirkbride buildings were to be vacant there are a range of mental health NGOs likely to express interest in expanding their existing Callan Park services into Kirkbride.
“With the University abandoning the Rozelle campus, it reinforces the need for the State Government to expedite a properly funded, independent Callan Park Trust to protect the whole site from subdivision or sale in the future.
“The Minister and the Office of Environment and Heritage must commit to urgently finalise the Masterplan, establish the Trust and allocate adequate funding to safeguard the site from demolition-by-neglect,” said Mr Parker.
Further comment from Jamie Parker MP: 0413581603 (Lesa)