THE University of Newcastle will discontinue its Bachelor of Creative Industries (BCI), after it received seven enrolments for next semester and zero for next year.
The three-year degree combines skills essential to entrepreneurial activity with a major in either communication and media; creative and performing arts; design; information technology; music; visual arts; or writing and publishing.
Head of the School of Creative Industries, Professor Paul Egglestone, said the program was not financially viable.
"There are several reasons but one of the main ones is the core of the BCI is the understanding that creative professionals need to know how to market themselves, they need to understand how to present themselves, how to perhaps cost a quote, how to run a small business et cetera," he said.
"I like all that enterprise and entrepreneurial piece. It was rooted in, kind of aligned with, the BCI and not quite so prevalent in one or two of our existing degree programs, so I took the decision that we could take that learning from the BCI over the last three years and start to embed that across the other core disciplines.
"Because the BCI is made up of majors in those core disciplines, that's where the vast majority of those students resided anyway, so being able to transplant some of those enterprise and entrepreneurial skills into existing core provision rather than having necessarily a separate course that kind of just focused on enterprise and entrepreneurialism, it made sense to combine the course discipline skills with enterprise and entrepreneurial skills."
Enrolled students will continue in the program. UON will contact students who have applied but haven't yet started their studies to offer them alternatives through existing degrees in core disciplines.
Professor Egglestone was recruited from England to launch the school and the degree in 2017.
It expected about 70 applications that year but received about 135.
"In many cases some of the students were perhaps arriving at university without any real clear understanding of what they wanted to do and what they started with was BCI, but fairly quickly, certainly by the second year, some of those students had already gravitated to and used that as a springboard into one of those traditional degrees," he said.
"Maybe when they arrived at the uni they didn't quite know that's where they were going to be, I think that comes down to how people are directed in the first instance and how courses in creative industries that sit underneath the banner of creative industries are described and sold."
Professor Egglestone said the future of staff who deliver the BCI was subject to an "ongoing internal discussion". "It's difficult to say, we are all in challenging and uncertain times," he said. "We are still going to need staff with the appropriate skills to deliver programs in visual art, as we do in design..."
He said the school would retain its name and continue to cover the same core disciplines. He said the end of the degree would not change UON's plans to open a building with extra facilities for the school at Honeysuckle.
Student Keighley Bradford was in the degree's first cohort and graduated last year. She is now studying her Master's in creative industries, focusing on marketing.
"I'm a little bit disappointed because as much as there were teething issues I think the degree had a lot of potential, it just needed tweaking in some areas," Ms Bradford said.
She transferred into the degree from an arts degree and chose writing and publishing for her major, but it was only covered in one course.
She said she valued learning entrepreneurial skills, but there was limited understanding in the community about what the creative industries comprised.
Kristen Lawrence handed in her last assessment a few weeks ago.
"My experience over the three years of doing the Bachelor of Creative Industries has been really positive," Ms Lawrence said.
"I majored in Visual Art studio practices for my degree and the learning opportunities I have had in relation to exploring different art mediums and nurturing my creative practice have been invaluable.
"For my final year major project I have been working towards a solo exhibition at a local gallery which I've postponed to later this year due to Covid19.
"The business side of things was really helpful for this in learning how to approach galleries and different factors to consider when planning my work and the event itself.
"I have had a spectacular group of tutors and technical officers who have been incredibly supportive and a key part in my development as an artist.
"It's really saddening that other creatives won't have the same opportunities as I have had."
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