Why attending a uni info session can be invaluable for your arts career

RMIT University’s upcoming information session on 5 February can answer practical information about a range of courses in the creative industries.
Why attending a uni info session can be invaluable for your arts career

Kate McWilliam's Defacing God's Work, 2018 (detail).

Just as it’s easier to thrash out a problem with a friend face to face rather than over the phone or by email, it’s better to attend an information session at RMIT University and hear from expert staff directly, rather than trying to glean the requisite course information you need by scouring the university’s website for details.

‘It’s so good to get a sense of what you’re in for straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak,’ said Dr Ray Cook, the manager of RMIT University’s Bachelor of Arts (Photography) Honours program.

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Ranked 11th for Art and Design in the 2017 QS World University rankings – and first in Australia and Asia – RMIT University offers a range of courses designed to hone your creative skills and prepare you for a career as a professional artist.

On Tuesday 5 February, students interested in a range of course, including the Bachelor of Arts (Photography) (Honours); Master of Photography; Master of Arts (Arts Management); Master of Arts (Art in Public Space); and Master of Fine Art (Coursework) can learn everything they need to know by attending the Art and Photography Honours and Coursework Masters Information Session at RMIT’s central Melbourne campus.

‘The managers of all of these programs will be there, so you can ask them all sorts of questions. We’ll also have students in attendance who are doing the first year of a Masters’ program, so there will be people to have a chat to about their experiences. There’s an insight that you can get from someone who’s done the degree or is doing the degree that you can’t really get from anyone else,’ Cook told ArtsHub.

‘Everyone’s got specific goals that they want to achieve, and so it helps to test them out in person – and coming to the information session gives you a feel for the culture of the place as well.’

As well as having the opportunity to question staff and current students, attending an information session is also a valuable opportunity to sound out the people who may soon be members of your student cohort – even future friends.

‘I’m in my 50s and I still have people who I met in my first year of university who I count as my best friends. Studying is a great environment in which to make great connections, professionally too of course. The more connected you are in the creative industries, the more competitive you are when it comes to securing projects and the like,’ Cook explained.

Potential students can also explore the campus and discover the resources available to students at RMIT University.

‘Oh yes, we get to show off all our fancy toys,’ laughed Cook, who like the majority of his RMIT colleagues is also a practicing artist.

‘We all maintain individual practices as well as teaching – in fact we consider teaching as part of our practice, really,’ he said.

As such, lecturers like Cook are a living example of the ways in which artists can balance creative practice with the realities of paying the bills.

‘Our courses are also an introduction to some really valuable networks, in a lot of ways – certainly in the Masters programs there are lots of visiting curators, lots of visiting practitioners, lots of masterclasses, lots of sessions with external people from the industry, so there is absolutely attention paid to the need to professionalise that we now have in this era,’ Cook concluded.

The RMIT Art and Photography Honours and Coursework Masters Information Session takes place at RMIT University Building 6 on Tuesday 5 February from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. Bookings are free. Visit www.eventbrite.com.au to register.

About the author

Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on community radio station Three Triple R FM.

The founder of the Emerging Writers' Festival, Richard currently serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's Committee of Management 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.

Twitter: @richardthewatts