Why you should study an arts degree in regional Australia

Based in the heart of Ballarat's historic arts precinct, Federation University’s Arts Academy boasts a strong sense of community, a tightly-knit student cohort, and an abundance of creative inspiration.
Exquisite Corpse at Federation University

If you’re considering enrolling in an arts degree, you might initially be drawn to studying in a capital city like Sydney or Melbourne. But there are many benefits to studying in a regional centre you should consider.

‘Being regionally focused means there is a really good staff/student relationship and a real sense of community about the place,’ said Associate Professor Richard Chew, Director of Federation University’s Arts Academy in Ballarat.

‘Located in regional Victoria, Ballarat is fast becoming the city of the sustainable and resilient practitioner, supporting all forms of artist, maker, creative and producer. This makes it the perfect backdrop for someone wanting to study the arts,’ Chew explained.

‘At the Arts Academy, we’re looking for people who are open-minded and looking to really engage with arts practice.’


By virtue of their setting, regional campuses can offer an abundance of creative inspiration.

‘Our campus is located in central Ballarat, so the Arts Academy is well placed in the historic precinct of the city,’ said Chew. ‘It’s a beautiful place to be, especially for artists.’

‘It’s a beautiful place to be, especially for artists.’

Associate Professor Richard Chew

The Camp Street campus locates Ballarat students in a creative precinct featuring contemporary public and private exhibition and performance spaces.

‘Visual arts and design students often look to the campus’s natural landscape or visit the University’s Switchback Gallery for inspiration,’ Chew continued.

‘We have interesting ways of engaging students with the community and its surroundings,’ he said. ‘For example, our visual arts students have their final exhibition in the Ballarat Mining Exchange, which is a beautiful historic building.’


Campuses in regional cities offer a wide range of disciplines, many of which are tailored to the strengths of the local area.  

‘The focus is on creativity across the whole art school, and visual and performing arts students often have the opportunity to work together,’ said Chew. ‘Sometimes visual art students will be producing posters for the performing arts productions and so on. We try and open opportunities to collaborate across the cohort as much as possible.’ 

Federation University offers programs that align with local industry needs, giving students ample opportunity for co-op and post-study work while strengthening a sense of community.

‘There will be moments along the line where students have been involved with something like Ballarat Heritage weekend or the Ballarat Photo Biennale. We’re making those connections with industry,’ Chew said.

This strong community connection provides students with the chance to build strong relationships with local arts organisations, developing future career opportunities.

‘We’re constantly getting queries from local arts organisations saying, “How can your students engage with us? How can we make the Ballarat creative strategy come to life?”’ Chew explained.


The best way to get a sense of what to expect from Federation University’s Arts Academy is by attending the Virtual Open Day on Sunday 15 August. ‘Open Day gives you the best opportunity to get guidance on what is next for you and your study career,’ Chew said.

‘Open Day gives you the best opportunity to get guidance on what is next for you and your study career.’

Associate Professor Richard Chew

‘Current students act as ambassadors on the day, so they will be there to guide you and answer questions about studying. You’ll have the opportunity to virtually meet staff and students.’

‘One of the key things to think about when looking at potential programs, is where do you want to be when you when you’re studying? What kind of environment do you want to be in? Open Day gives you the opportunity to explore this further.’

Whether you know what your future holds or are weighing up your options, Virtual Open Day on Sunday 15 August is the perfect introduction to the range of art degrees on offer at Federation University. Book a VIP tour for any day if you are not able to join the Virtual Open Day.  

Giselle Bueti has written for publications such as The Advertiser, The Adelaide Review, RIP IT UP, BMA magazine and Yewth Mag. Previously, Giselle worked as Arts Editor for The AU Review and Content Growth Editor at ArtsHub. She is based in Melbourne, Victoria.