Great performance and visual arts learning institutions from parchment to canvas and from page to stage provide excellence in teaching to their creative students, especially those who eventually make the ‘final cut’ at graduation. However at all stages of their development, they need to be and remain a crucible for change.
NIDA, our National Institute of Dramatic Art, which is based at Kensington in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney, is now with great optimism building on its significant achievements and offering their students yet more, establishing a Graduate School. This expansion of a successful institution has been supported by the Australian Government and those individuals who make up the NIDA Board and the NIDA Foundation Trust. As well they have had many supporters over the years since its establishment in 1958, who have helped make many projects possible.
In such a place as NIDA, great vision and talented individuals, while supporting the arts and our cultural heritage, are also inspiring our creative industries. One such is Hollywood success story and NIDA graduate Mel Gibson AO who flew in to open the new facility.
Since he graduated in 1977 actor Mel Gibson has remained in constant contact with NIDA, offering it his support by donating funds and helping to establish its performance and training facility, 2001.
Yesterday Gibson found himself standing alongside the Prime Minister of Australia the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, the Minister for the Arts the Hon Senator Mitch Fifield and the NIDA Director- CEO Lynne Williams, with the NIDA Chair Jennifer Bott and NIDA Foundation Trust Chair Peter Ivany.
Other alumni stood centre stage with donors, friends and supporters from across the arts and entertainment industry joining in to celebrate a defining occasion in NIDA’s evolution to date.
The award-winning campus comprises of a two-storey addition providing a dedicated space for NIDA‘s growing suite of Master of Fine Arts courses.
Purpose-built facilities have been designed to give the future creative leaders of Australia a place where they can study and broaden their research, a place where they can learn to collaborate and create innovative new work, as well as advance original research.
“This is not just a significant chapter in NIDA’s evolution. The Graduate School is a huge step forward for the Australian performing arts industry. It will provide many more opportunities for creative professionals to explore new ways of making work and new ways of engaging with audiences,” commented CEO Lynne Williams.
“Our graduates will reinforce Australia’s competitiveness in the global arts and entertainment industry and ensure Australian voices continue to celebrate, challenge and articulate who we are as a nation” she said.
Today Australia is not only multicultural but also a place where layers of diversity enrich ennoble and embolden us all.
The school will be helpful in encouraging communication and inter-cultural conversations that help contemporary Australians better understand the nature of cultural difference as well.
The government’s support received clearly reflects the diversity of Australia.
All our citizens, no matter what their background or circumstances, have a right to shape our cultural identity and its expression.
When we define the nature of our culture we provide ourselves with the best chance possible to develop our potential and inter-cultural communication skills that help us to create, co-operate and collaborate with others effectively.
Culture in the twenty first century is about how we make love and war, maintain bodily health, mental strength and inner wellbeing.
It is also about behaviours and beliefs and our moral and social mores rely on each and every one of us to help to promote the emergence of new ideas and to encourage the raising of positive voices.
It is all about having respect for each other and our stories.
Graduate student usually declare their research goal or submit a research proposal upon entering a graduate school, which is integral to offering higher education.
In a truly creative Australia the cultural sector should incorporate all aspects of the arts. NIDA with its new graduate school will help to provide the skills, the resources, and the resilience to play an active role in Australia’s future as it reflects the diversity of modern Australia.
All who attend the graduate school will be able to draw from the knowledge of the past to inspire and foster hope and ambition in the present and future while conserving and safeguarding the uniqueness of the Australian identity.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2015