The Faculty of VCA and MCM draws together two historically distinguished arts institutions in Melbourne to form a vital and dynamic new research faculty:
- the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), with its heritage rooted in the National Gallery of Victoria Art School which first admitted students in 1867; and
- the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM), the former Faculty of Music - the oldest university music school in Australia.
The Faculty is also home to two research centres:
- the Centre for Cultural Partnerships - through partnerships and collaboration, CCP's programs focus on the role of the arts in strengthening communities, promoting social inclusion, building leadership and fostering community cultural vitality.
- the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts - for over ten years, the the Wilin Centre has connected Indigenous artists with a pathway to their future in the worlds of visual and performing arts, design, film and television and production.
With the VCA campus in the heart of Melbourne’s arts precinct at Southbank and the Melbourne Conservatorium’s home in Parkville on the main campus of the University of Melbourne, researchers at the Faculty have access to the state’s rich cultural resources, and work with the University of Melbourne’s cultural collections, associates and facilities. These include:
• Melbourne Theatre Company;
• Ian Potter Museum of Art, which has custodial responsibility for the university's art collection, and a strong research agenda;
• Margaret Lawrence Gallery;
• George Paton Gallery;
• Grainger Museum;
• Melba Hall;
• Centre for Studies in Australian Music;
• Early Music Studio;
• Open Stage;
• Grant Street Theatre;
• Federation Hall; and
• specialist library facilities including the Lenton Parr Music, Visual and Performing Arts Library; the Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library and the Baillieu Library.
Faculty staff and graduate students have the opportunity to network with experts and professionals in Australia and abroad, and to present and perform their research in international settings including professional conventions, concert platforms and art galleries.
The Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM), as well as the two research centres Wilin and the CCP, are generously supported through bequests and scholarships, which aim to support and nurture emerging talent in the creative arts.
For example, The MacGeorge Bequest offers scholarships for graduate research candidates in the visual, creative and performing arts, music, architecture, conservation, literature, creative writing, language, history, philosophy and anthropology to travel overseas on research trips. It also offers fellowships for distinguished overseas scholars and artists who enrich the learning environment. Recent visiting fellows include: Professor Barbara Stafford (University of Chicago), Professor Michael Rosenthal (Warwick), Thierry Dufrene (University of Paris), A/Prof Chris Berry (University of California Berkeley), and Domenico Fabris (Conservatorio di Bari).
Research at the Faculty is characterised by a spirit of enquiry, collaboration and a willingness to cross multi-disciplinary boundaries. It has internationally acclaimed scholars working across traditional research modes such as musicology, ethnomusicology and music therapy. A productive tension exists between these traditional and other experimental approaches to research in the arts, as practice-led research is also encouraged, whereby creative works and performances may be explored through innovative interpretation or cross-media experimentation.
The Faculty is recognised for research excellence in the following areas:
• cultural traditions, including modernity and post-modernity across the art forms of Art, Film and Television, Music and the Performing Arts;
• experimental and avant-garde practices in contemporary cultural production;
• digital media and mediating technologies in the context of new art forms;
• the contribution of the creative arts to issues of human values and rights in interdisciplinary projects and the work of the Centre for Cultural Partnerships.
• the Wilin Centre aims to foster innovation in the research, development, advocacy and presentation of Indigenous arts.
• the Music, Mind and Well-being initiative at MCM which links neuroscience with music and social wellbeing through a unique set of collaborations spanning music, science, health, education and industry.
• Music Therapy which comprises a trajectory of investigations into the use of music for the prevention of mental health problems and intervention with people who have severe mental illness.
• Musicology and Ethnomusicology whose sub-areas of music research are by their nature interdisciplinary and links exist between staff and graduate researchers with history, Asian studies, linguistics indigenous studies, politics, gender studies and culture and communication.
The University of Melbourne is a research-intensive university. International rankings and the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) outcomes confirm its place as an Australian leader in research in the creative and performing arts. Studies in the Creative Arts and Writing received a ranking of 4 in the 2010 ERA assessment indicating that is ‘above world standing’.
Whether you are interested in coming to Melbourne as a student, PhD candidate, visitor or future colleague, the Faculty of the VCA and MCM offers a dynamic, creative research culture in Australia’s premier research institution.