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Celebrating 40 years of creative arts at UOW

Celebrating 40 years of creative arts at UOW

Alumni panel of renowned graduates to focus on future of creative arts education

Creative arts are fundamental to society and to humanity, enriching our lives, our identities, and the world around us.

This week, the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) School of the Arts, English and Media is celebrating 40 years since creative arts was established as a discipline at the University.

Since 1983, the University has been at the vanguard of creative arts education in Australia, nurturing generations of artists, designers, musicians, performers, and writers, and establishing a legacy of outstanding graduates.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Patricia M Davidson said the University has become a vibrant hub of creativity and inspiration since creative arts was introduced 40 years ago.

“Fundamentally, society is built on stories, and our best storytellers lie within creative arts. It is our performers, our artists, our musicians, our writers who hold a mirror to society, who capture the beauty and the nuances of what it means to be human,” Professor Davidson said.

“The School of the Arts, English and Media at UOW is led by incredibly talented, passionate researchers and teachers, who are dedicated to nurturing the next generation of artists, musicians, writers, and creative thinkers. We are thrilled to celebrate 40 years of creative arts and the immense contribution we have made to the Illawarra community and beyond.

“We also thank the many donors who have contributed to the richness and diversity of our art collection and the beauty of our campuses.”

Associate Professor Jo Law, Head of the School of the Arts, English and Media, said creative arts was more important than ever in fostering a society that is joyful, empathetic, and dynamic.

“Creative Arts researchers, academics, practitioners, and educators at UOW enrich the landscape of the University through their work and wealth of connections to local, national, and global communities in higher education, creative and cultural sectors, and industries. 

“The creative arts at UOW engages people of all ages and nationalities. Stories through art not only shape culture, but they also create the future. The creative arts is breath to the body of the university.”

Associate Professor Catherine McKinnon, Deputy Head of the School of the Arts, English and Media, said creative arts graduates contribute to the community in myriad ways.

“Over these 40 years, we have seen the achievement of our many graduates who have become artists, teachers, and cultural leaders, who have, in turn, given back to their communities. The stories we tell through our art, create the future. Culture is constantly changing; it is not a static force. UOW graduates have been at the forefront of connecting to this evolving culture, making sense of it as well as shaping it.”

To celebrate the milestone, the School will hold an alumni panel discussion exploring the future of creative arts education in Australia. The panel will demonstrate the versatility of a degree from the School of the Arts, English and Media, with the high-profile graduates drawn from fields across the creative arts landscape:

  • Lisa Havilah, Chief Executive, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney
  • Sarah Furnari, Actor, Singer, Dancer, Star of Ten Pound Poms
  • Stephanie Beaupark, Associate Lecturer and PhD candidate, Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, UOW
  • Stella Lauri, National News Director, WIN News
  • Dr Gareth Jenkins, Publisher, Writer, Researcher, Senior Community Engagement Coordinator for City of Sydney
  • Emily Duncan, Project Officer, Youth and Youth Development Worker, Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra

The panellists will focus on the future of creative arts education, the intersection of arts and societal issues, how their own studies have helped them to launch careers in respective fields, and their own creative journeys.  

Creative arts at UOW encompasses music, performance and theatre, visual arts, journalism and media, design, creative writing, photography, and English literature.