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Funding for VCA expansion

18 Mar 2014

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The Victoria College of the Arts’ (VCA) Southbank campus is set to enjoy an even greater presence within our arts precinct after a $42.5 expansion was announced last month.

The expansion will see the Police Stables become part of the VCA (see story on page 3) as its visual arts wing.

Dean of the Faculty of the VCA and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Professor Barry Conyngham, himself a resident of Southbank, said it was a commitment of funds from philanthropists, including the Myer Foundation, that got the ball rolling on the expansion.

“Nowadays, when you get philanthropist money, it enables the university and the local and state governments to get involved and get things moving,” Prof Conyngham said.

He also explained the VCA’s desire to create a community facility to be enjoyed by all locals, and not just exclusively by the students who attended.

“We want everybody and anybody to enjoy what the students are up to, and the immediate neighbours here in Southbank are the best placed to do so. A lot of people don’t see a university as theirs, but we are in fact a public facility,” Prof Conyngham explained.

“The students love having the public see their work,” he added.

“The whole idea for this campus is that it will have a new feel for education, where the general public feels like the space is theirs. We foresee interaction between students and the public in this space.”

He explained that the process of Victoria Police handing over its land to the university started 40 years ago and, with the acquisition of the stables, is now complete.

“We’re determined to ensure the police presence here won’t be forgotten. We will disturb the architecture and structure of the building as little as possible,” Prof Conyngham said.

“We don’t need to knock buildings down and build new ones. Where there are sturdy buildings in place we’re more than happy to adjust and renovate,” he added.

Minister for the Arts, Heidi Victoria, said the VCA expansion was a major project within the Melbourne Arts Precinct Blueprint.

“This VCA project is an important development for Melbourne, and the Victorian Government looks forward to working with stakeholders at all levels, to ensure the area can realise its full potential in the future,” Ms Victoria said.

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