News: May 2017

Ausdance responds to review of the VET student loans eligible course list and loan caps methodology

Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham 
Minister for Education and Training
PO Box 6100, Senate
Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

28 May 2017 Dear Minister,

RE: Review of the VET Student Loans Eligible Course List and Loan Caps Methodology

As per our previous submission in October 2016 regarding the exclusion of dance performance courses from the eligible course list for the VET Student Loans program, Ausdance would like to re-state its significant concern in light of the recent call for submissions regarding the review of the VET student loans eligible course list and loan caps methodology.

Following Julie Dyson’s meeting with you on 10 November 2016, we received a response to our submission by Kate Woodall, Director – VET Student Loans Branch dated 8 November 2016. Within this response, Ms Woodall stated “…the Australian Government has a responsibility to ensure that tax payers’ money is well directed and spent in a way that offers the greatest benefit to the Australian Community...(and) the list targets those courses…(that) reflect good employment prospects”.

This perspective appears at odds with the Federal Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Honourable Ian Macfarlane’s statement in the 2013 Valuing Australia’s Creative Industries report regarding the significant contribution of the creative industries to the Australian economy, that “quite separate (to this economic value) is the intangible but undeniable worth of knowing our nation creates great software, films, TV, radio, music, theatre, dance, design, media, writing, marketing and architecture”.

As previously identified, a number of Australia’s leading dance training institutions such as Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and the TAFE SA Dance program as delivered by the Adelaide College of the Arts, remain excluded from the eligible list which will result in significantly adverse impacts on their enrolment numbers. This will consequently limit the opportunities for such organisations to provide specialised career pathways in ballet and contemporary pre-professional dance training, and thus limit the future contributions to the creative economy in Australia. Alongside fellow institutions such as The Australian Ballet School and the National Aboriginal & Islander Skills Development Scheme (NAISDA), these courses have produced generations of high calibre graduates that have/are contributing to the dance profession and the creative industries more broadly, as evidenced throughout their 36 and 30 year-histories to-date.

The courses offered in both of these organisations clearly meet industry needs, contribute to addressing skills shortages, and align with strong employment outcomes—all key factors outlined in the proposed methodology for approving courses.

We therefore recommend that:

  • Appropriate targeted industry consultation and evaluation of the quality and impact of the professional dance courses excluded from the eligible list is undertaken. Industry benchmarking between courses is a common and required practice as part of re-accreditation and/or quality assurance processes, therefore the sector would have information to contribute to this point.
  • Reinstatement of Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses in dance onto the eligible list or alternatively, extension of eligibility to specifically recognised training institutions that provide these courses and can demonstrate the achievement of strong education and industry outcomes.

We greatly appreciate your consideration of these points and would welcome an opportunity to discuss this further with you at any time.

Yours Sincerely

Associate Professor Gene Moyle ARAD MAPS MCSEP GAICD SFHEA
National President
Ausdance National Council

PDF version: Ausdance National's letter to Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training about the review of the VET Student Loans Eligible Course List and Loan Caps Methodology (80 Kp PDF)

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National forum to explore dance practice in the digital age


16 May 2017

The 2017 National Dance Forum will bring together makers, producers and presenters to discuss and share knowledge on current digital practices and technological developments. The two-day forum will focus on strengthening the dance sector’s capacity within the digital domain.

Led by the dance sector’s advocate for 40 years—Ausdance National—the fourth National Dance Forum (NDF2017) will take place at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, 25–26 September 2017 and will follow the Australian Dance Awards (Arts Centre Melbourne, 24 September 2017).

Dance artists, companies, presenters and researchers looking for ways to grow meaningful audience relationships and understand the issues around making art in a digital environment, need to attend.

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ArtsPeak sets new goals, welcomes new members

ArtsPeak’s new goal

Drafted at its planning session in Sydney on 15–16 March, the following new goal will be included as a discussion point in the next ArtsPeak meeting in September:

That the cultural, arts and creative industries are central to political thinking, economic priorities and civic life in Australia.

Addressing that goal, the intended outcomes are:

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National Advocates For Arts Education May 2017 update

by Julie Dyson, Chair

NAAE is coordinating the publication of a new edition of its highly successful More Than Words Can Say – a View of Literacy Through the Arts, last updated in 2003. This has meant re-engaging with the original authors and commissioning a new Foreword. We’re delighted to announce that this will be written by arts educator Professor Robyn Ewing AM of the University of Sydney, author of the influential research paper The Arts and Australian Education: Realising potential.

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Ausdance National Council President’s Report – May 2017

Following the Annual General Meeting on 19 March 2017, the new skills-based board members of the Ausdance National Council formally commenced in their new director roles. It has been great to connect as a group not only in better understanding the breadth of experience that each team member brings to the responsibility of leading Ausdance National, but how passionate everyone is about Ausdance and the dance sector in general! 

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World Dance Alliance May 2017 update

This year’s World Dance Alliance (WDA) Global Summit will be held in St John’s, Newfoundland from 23–28 July. Australian Cheryl Stock, AM has stepped down from the role of Secretary-General of WDA, having introduced new protocols, policies and procedures to the organisation and facilitating the re-forming of WDA Europe, which had not been active for some years. She also coordinated the wonderful 2014 Global Summit in Angers, France and edited the peer-reviewed papers, many presented by Australian scholars, choreographers and performers. These have been published by Ausdance, and provide (with the more recently published 2015 Dance and the Child International papers) a wonderful insight into dance processes across all genres.

Over 100 World Dance Alliance Global Summit 2012 participants on university entrance staircase holding country flags. 2012 WDA Global Summit, Taiwan. Photo: Julie Dyson.

Cheryl has been succeeded by Dr Anis Mohd Nor of Malaysia, also a distinguished scholar and long-time participant and organiser of WDA events. Anis will chair the Global Executive meeting in July, and I will join the meeting as the independent member elected in 2011. We’ll provide an update after the meeting about developments, particularly those that provide opportunities for young scholars and choreographers. 

In the meantime, the Global Education & Training network of WDA, co-chaired by Ralph Buck and Jeff Meiners, has been working with WDA and dance and the Child International (daCi) to prepare for the second joint world congress (the first was in Taiwan in 2012), in Adelaide next year (8–13 July). Panpapanpalya 2018 will focus on four interwoven themes: dance, gathering, generations, learning. These themes, summarised by the Aboriginal Kaurna word Panpapanpalya, honour Australia’s rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance practices, as well as indigenous dance cultures from around the world.

The new Panpapanpalya 2018 website has just been launched, and you are encouraged to submit proposals for papers and performances by the due dates. As an Ausdance member you will receive a discount for registration and other benefits.

I will be in Wellington later this month, and have arranged to meet with Anton Carter, CEO of Dance Aotearoa New Zealand (DANZ) for an update on his role as WDA Asia Pacific Vice-President (Pacific). Anton has fantastic dance networks across the Pacific and he will be working with WDA to promote the many and varied dance cultures that exist in the Pacific region. It will also be an opportunity to share news of Panpapanpalya 2018 with him—it would be wonderful to have Pacific dance cultures represented in big numbers next year!

Another wonderful opportunity available to Australian Ausdance members is the International Young Choreographer Program (ICYP), which offers fellowships to eight young artists: three from Taiwan, three from other Asia Pacific countries, and one each from WDA Europe and WDA Americas.

This year’s Australian young choreographer, Scott Ewen, has been selected to participate in ICYP in Taiwan, to be held in July this year. Scott also attended the WDA Choreolab as a a highly regarded choreographer last year in Seoul. 

Don’t forget the biannual publication, Asia Pacific Channels and the valuable archive of editions back to 1996. Channels has been designed and published by Ausdance National’s Rachael Jennings for many years, with co-editor Bilqis Hijjas (Malaysia), but it was first published by WDA founder Carl Wolz in 1994 with Ausdance National’s Hilary Trotter.

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