BY LUCAS BAIRD
The Shadow Minister for Cities, Tourism, and Infrastructure and Transport has leant support to a movement critical of the merger of the Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) and UNSW’s arts faculty.
Anthony Albanese appeared on the steps of the NSW Art Gallery with over 100 other protesters from the Let SCA Stay group and spoke out against the proposed amalgamation that was announced last month.
Mr Albanese said that the SCA was important to Sydney and slammed the “commercial imperative” that would see the schools merge.
“The idea that the SCA is the same as an urban design faculty, is the same as other institutions at UNSW and serves the same purpose misses the whole point. It is also a focal point of the Inner-West community,” he said.
“Not only have the students of SCA been given any certainty of their future, of what will happen to them from 2017. The local community, the businesses of Darling St and Balmain Rd that rely upon the students and teachers for their living. The residents of the Inner-West who are looking for the Callan Park site to actually build the cultural diversity and build the cultural activity are concerned also of whether this is a sell of of that land or for inappropriate use.”
“Art is something that you can’t always put a dollar sign on.”
Let SCA Stay organiser, Eila Vinwyn, said that this was an example of the support and momentum they have gained throughout their campaign.
“We are gathering incredible momentum… It’s not even one month and we have gathered massive support,” she told City Hub.
“We have got support from the Sydney College of the Arts, from national art schools, from NAVA, from other artists, and a lot of social commentators are on board with us. It feels like it is just the beginning and already we have reached so many.”
Ms Vinwyn said that it was a “sign that all areas of politics aren’t about crash and burn (sic) for arts” and praised Mr Albanese for standing up for cultural issues.
The event took place the same day that the winners of the prestigious Archibald Prize was to be announced at the NSW Art Gallery.
The protesters were wearing red and white, and held signs with messages in support of the SCA.
The protesters remained silent for majority of the vigil, with occasional breaks in the silence to clap out SOS in morse code.
Let SCA Stay are planning to hold similar events in the near future.