The cutting edge course that welcomes flexible thinkers

Richard Watts

Get a headstart on your peers by starting your study in November, at a university that is focused on developing adventurous, interdisciplinary artists.
The cutting edge course that welcomes flexible thinkers

Hello Machine 201, by Visual Arts student Rachel Hanlon. Image supplied.

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Flexible thinkers know that the academic year doesn’t have to start in March 2019. Deakin University’s undergraduate Art and Performance program allows would-be students to get a head-start on students at other institutions by commencing study in November and continuing across the holiday period.

This flexibility is particularly valuable for mature age students and others returning to study, whether a year or two after completing secondary school or after an extended period in the workforce. 

‘Deakin has three trimesters. You don’t have to study in all three, but you are able to study more part-time, and keep your degree within more reasonable proportions. And you can effectively start early – you can start studying with us in November while everybody else is waiting to go to another university in March,’ explained Professor Matthew Allen, Head of School, Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University.

Deakin’s flexibility also extends to embracing disciplines outside the Bachelor of Creative Arts, which students can study online, thus freeing up more time to attend to their core creative subjects.

‘Students do elective units in other forms – writing, for instance, or perhaps something from the business faculty or another humanities subject,’ said Allen. 

‘These can be done through Deakin’s premier online environment, The Cloud Campus, and that allows students to spend their time on campus focused absolutely on their creative practice,’ Allen said.

Because of the small but effective size of the Bachelor of Creative Arts program, Deakin staff and guest artists are also able to give students more of their time.


The orchestration of light by photography student Therese Jenkins. Image supplied.  

‘So there’s flexibility too in developing your own unique voice across the three, four or five years you spend in the degree,’ said Allen. 

‘Plus, if you have already got a great practice developing and you’re wanting to get that little bit of extra critical and creative insight from a university degree, Deakin is quite positive in recognising your prior studies or even your prior practice, and you may be able to reduce the time that it takes to get your Bachelor’s degree,’ he added.

Collaboration creates adventurous artists

Deakin’s smaller student cohort, in comparison to other universities, also increases opportunities for collaboration and social cohesion. 

‘The program at Deakin is small enough that students get more individual attention; they also get more access to equipment that they need and the facilities that we have, which really are very good,’ Allen explained. 

‘And because our program is not overrun by hundreds of students, the people in our creative arts degrees can work with filmmakers or animators or designers, either inside shared units of study or as collaborators outside of the classroom.

Deakin’s Art and Performance program is focused on developing adventurous artists no matter which field they choose as their focus.

‘We’re cutting edge in that our program focuses on interdisciplinary public art and performance – making work, not simply reproducing the conventions of what used to be a traditional art or drama education. They have their place but at Deakin we’ve stepped into the future, where we see creative artists working across all of the disciplines and media with a very strong emphasis on making their work in public, for the public, shaping the world for a better future,’ said Allen.

The program also ensures artists are as much focused on their career as on their chosen creative discipline.

‘We want every student to leave the course with a very strong sense, not only of their own creative ability but how to make that work for a long-term a career. And I think that’s a cutting edge education in creative arts – focused on the public and focused on what you can get out of that when you graduate,’ he concluded.

Learn more about Deakin's undergraduate Art and Performance program at deakin.edu.au/create.

About the author

Richard Watts is ArtsHub's Performing Arts Editor and Team Leader, Editorial; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on community radio station Three Triple R.

The founder of the Emerging Writers' Festival, Richard currently serves on the Committee of Management for La Mama Theatre, on the board of literary journal Going Down Swinging, and on the Green Room Awards Independent Theatre panel. He is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and in 2017 was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Festival Living Legend.

Follow Richard on Twitter: @richardthewatts

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