RMIT reduces hours, again

1 12 2014

In sad news, I have learned that the studio-based classes in the RMIT Object-based Practice Gold & Silversmithing degree will now be reduced (again) to just three hours per week.

Utterly impossibly ridiculous and such a shame.

In my time at RMIT, yes many moons ago, we had five hours per studio subject and on some days that was barely enough for each student to get time with the teacher; and there were only twelve of us (I believe there are now more per class).

How on earth will any genuine technical skills be imparted in such limited hours? I already hear stories of students who have wonderful ideas they cannot bring to physical reality because they don’t have the skills required to realise their vision.

A reduction in contact hours will only reinforce the generally held opinion that RMIT is not the place to learn technical skills, but is where you go after you’ve learned handskills and want to develop conceptually.

I feel for the teaching staff – I’m convinced they would want more time too, for they will bear the burden of unskilled students not receiving the teaching attention they require or expected when they signed on for the course.

This is all to do with funding. It is sad that the arts seem to be valued less and less by universities and governments.

A reduction in funding has no doubt contributed to the reduced effort being put into exhibitions for the students – there is no longer a 1st and 2nd year exhibition, and the graduate exhibition this year is not in a gallery but in one of the university rooms.

The students are the ones who will suffer for it all.

Enough of my rant … best not to start me …

Update (a few hours after initial publication): Victorian governments and universities best get themselves clear on the fact that Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s “capital of culture” is entirely due to such courses being available to artists … you remove or undermine the places of learning and experimentation, and you force the culture to migrate elsewhere. If Melbourne wants to keep trading on its rich artistic culture, it must keep investing in the places it is incubated and nurtured.

Update (2nd December): an important note about funding … Universities are federally funded and each university then takes that funding and shares it among its schools, who then allocate accordingly; TAFEs are state funded.

Hence university departments/schools, like the RMIT School of Art, make decisions about how to spend their monies (staff, facilities, etc .. and we all know how expensive equipment for G&S can be); but the university is the one holding the purse-strings and determining how much each school is funded; and these university decision-makers in turn can only give out what the federal government has given them.

[a note for clarity: many thanks to Simon Cottrell for his facebook comment; these aren’t Simon’s words though, they’re mine; but his comment made me realise that this kind of information is important to the debate]

RMIT student work

29 11 2014

While you’re at RMIT visiting ‘Hey Handsome‘ and ‘Greater Than, Less Than‘, make sure you make a quick visit to the basement level of Building 2 to see the student work in the cabinet.

RMIT student cabinet

RMIT student cabinet

This is the closest thing to a 1st and 2nd year exhibition we’ll see this year … yes, much sad face.


RMIT graduates ‘Greater Than, Less Than’ @ RMIT

28 11 2014

You’d be forgiven for not knowing about this exhibition … graduates of RMIT Object-based Practice Gold & Silversmithing are showing some of their work at RMIT Building 2 (level 2, left at the top of the stairs).

They’ve titled the show ‘Greater Than, Less Than‘ and are using the >< signs in the catalogue  … the mathematician in me loves this.

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

Participating artists are:

  • Corin Adams, Cecilia Casillas, Rossmore Childs
  • Brooke Everett, Phoebe Harkness, Henry Hazeldine
  • Ada Hodgson [website], Vicky Kanellopoulos, Christopher Lee
  • Amanda Lo, Tian Lu, Stephanie Martin
  • Zeffarniah Montgomery, Jenna O’Brien, Mirinda Oosten (tumblr)
  • Natasha Sutila, Julia Tran

I walked away with my works lists scribbled all over, highlighting the pieces I liked.

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

Again, I fear my “liked” list would just be a repeat of the artist listing … but I’ll try to keep to a top three:

  • Jenna O’Brien’s enameled neckpieces ‘Hyde #1‘ and ‘Jekyll #1‘ are fantastic, and what marvellous feel for colour
  • Natasha Sutila’s ‘Composition III‘, an arrangement of painted pins on the wall, is clever and arresting
  • Rossmore Childs’s smithed objects pleased me (as smithed objects do!)
  • Mirinda Oosten’s ring group is displayed in an especially imaginative manner (below)

    photograph taken with permission

    photograph taken with permission

  • you’ll notice I failed to keep to just three ….

Please be sure to show your support to students and visit.

Great Than, Less Than‘ will be at RMIT Building 2 until 5th December 2014.

2013: Good+as+Gold’  @ fortyfive downstairs

2012: As Above, So Below‘ @ Victorian Artists’ Society

2011: It was like a Fever‘ @ No Vacancy Gallery

2010: Bell Weather‘ @ 1000 £ Bend

2009: Cornucopia‘ @ Guildford Lane Gallery

RMIT Honours ‘Hey Handsome’ @ First Site Gallery

27 11 2014

This is a great show! You simply must pop into RMIT First Site Gallery to see ‘Hey Handsome‘, the exhibition for RMIT Honours students from Object-based Practice, Gold & Silversmithing and Ceramics (phew, still a mouthful).

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

Participating artists are:

  • Sue Buchanan, Pamela Chan, Jia Jia Ji Chen
  • Katie Collins, Allona Goren, Kate Jones
  • Chris Massey, Lindy McSwan, Thomas O’Hara
  • Jana Roman, Lesley Walsh, Kate Wischusen
  • Michael Wong, Xuelin Wong
photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

I happened to coincide my visit, quite accidentally mind, with the visit of a Fresh! judge accompanied by RMIT staff. It was interesting to overhear some of the conversation about the work; I do like to hear the perspective of those with a more experienced eye and insight into the actual making of the pieces.

It was all quite gorgeous … if I was to list those I liked I’d probably just be rewriting the ‘participating artists’ listing.

Though if I was forced to choose just three … erm …

  • Lindy McSwan’s collection stopped me in my tracks

    photograph taken with permission

    photograph taken with permission

  • Kate Jones’s massive ceramic objects are amazing (centre in below image)

    photograph taken with permission

    photograph taken with permission

  • oh please don’t make me … there are so many to like!

Hey Handsome‘ is at First Site Gallery until 5th December 2014.

Update (28th November): make sure you check out the First Site Event facebook page for opening night photographs

Other Nov&Dec: RMIT

1 11 2014

A traipse through previous exhibitions of RMIT students:

November/December 2009

November/December 2010

November/December 2011

November/December 2012

November/December 2013

This year:

  • Postgraduates: RMIT School of Art Gallery ‘Azimuth‘ [link]
  • RMIT School of Art, Honours Graduates: RMIT First Site Gallery ‘Hey Handsome‘ [link]
  • I think the graduate exhibition may be part of this: School of Art Graduate exhibitions [link], in the RMIT buildings
  • does anyone know if there is a 1+2yr exhibition this year?

Curse the flu

22 08 2014

So I have the flu. I’ve had it all week.
It’s a right pain. And I’m a total sook when I’m unwell.

Worse, it means that I now miss out on seeing ‘Wondernamel 2014‘ and ‘Around The Table‘ at First Site Gallery.

I wish their shows went for longer. Or that they were open for a few hours on a Saturday.
For those of us who work full-time (office hours) it’s nigh on impossible to see them.

First Site has put up some photographs from the opening night of the exhibitions – but they are more focused on people than the objects, and it’s hard to really get a sense for the works.

Oh well, there goes my hope I could vicariously visit the show through the wonder of the internets. Sad.

Did you go? Do you have photographs of the work you’d like to share?

My pieces for RMIT Auction 2014

14 07 2014

So the decision has been made.

This year I’ve donated two pairs of earrings to the RMIT Object-based Practice Gold & Silversmithing 2014 Auction:


without flash


with flash

I like the back of them too.

In fact, a friend I made a bespoke pair for re-bent the ear wires to wear them ‘backwards’ – which in fact looks even more excellent.


Flat White



Check the details of the RMIT Auction on their tumblr here – get donating and/or get buying!

[Please note: all images in this post not to be reproduced without permission]