The NSW Government announced today that it would no longer continue to fund fine arts courses in TAFE from January 1, 2013 as there are no job prospects for art students and there are skill shortages in other areas.
4000 art students will be impacted. Many of these students use the TAFE system to go onto further study, others get work in the arts sector and still others practice as artists.
Many more apply their design skills, conceptual skills and skills as creators in media and industry, even in management.
Fine Arts are a part of the creative industries, which are not only cultural industries. They also drive innovation and add value to commercialization, distribution, marketing and design in all sectors of the economy. Creative skills are applied in the workplace with a strong degree of commercial focus, optimizing commercial output and growing creative input. They are part of the emerging services economy and therefore part of Australia‚Äôs future.
Australia‚Äôs challenge is to integrate cultural production into the economic landscape. The creative industries are enablers of creative networks and spaces and of new business models. They contribute 2.8% of gross GDP (more than agriculture; communications; and electricity, gas and water supply). The visual arts, design and architecture makes up over 11% of the creative industries and have been growing in terms of employment opportunity. (See the Centre for International Economics, Creative Industries Economic Analysis June 2009).
This makes the decision of the NSW Government to no longer to fund fine arts degrees in TAFE particularly short sighted.
Likely outcomes will be: