Attitudes and Trends in Australian Art and Design Schools


The challenges presented by developments within the Higher Education sector over the past 15 years have altered the nature and capacity of Australian art and design schools, leaving many barely viable and most reflecting on their intrinsic values, as they grapple with the dwindling budgets and staffing allocations and significantly increased workload. Drawing on his experience as head of two Australian art and design schools, and current government policy directions and recent legislative changes and responses to a survey of art school heads that he instigated in 2005, Noel Frankham’s paper charts changes over the past 30 years and forecasts possibilities for the future of Australian art and design schools. He uses the evolution of the Tasmanian School of Art as a reference for speculating on a range of factors that will impact management and leadership of schools in the near future.

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Noel Frankham has been Professor of Art and Head of School, Tasmanian School of Art, University of Tasmania, since February 2002. He was Professor and Head of School with the South Australian School of Art, University of South Australia from June 1999 until January 2002. This followed four and a half years as Director of Object – Australian Centre for Craft and Design. Prior to Object, Frankham was the Director of the Australia Council’s Visual Arts/Craft Board, May 1989 until September 1994, which followed two and a half years as a project officer and program manager. Frankham was Extension Services Officer with the Queensland Art Gallery’s Education Section prior to joining the Australia Council. Frankham completed a Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts – Photography) TCAE, in 1980. Noel Frankham has undertaken several significant research and review projects for government. His current research centres on public art, especially site-specific art and design. In 2005, he edited the book, Claiming Ground: Twenty-Five Years of Tasmania’s Art for Public Buildings Scheme.