Culture At UNSW Post-Workplace Change
The pandemic’s impact on UNSW has been widely reported with significant job losses and a major restructure.
Simultaneously, UNSW has been gradually encouraging its student and staff communities back to the campus, and we have been able to take the first tentative steps towards in-person engagement.
Head of Culture, Sonia Maddock explains what has changed and what has stayed the same throughout this tumultuous period, and why Sir John Clancy Auditorium is the heart of culture at UNSW Sydney.
The State of Culture
UNSW’s recent workplace change has had substantial impact across the organisation, and of course the pandemic has crippled the arts and culture industries. At a time when engagement with the arts adds so much value to community connectedness and creativity, we were particularly thankful that UNSW’s commitment to Culture has continued, and we can continue to work with and beyond our university community.
The structure emerging from the workplace change process has left the Music Performance Unit largely intact. We said goodbye to Operations and Artistic Coordinator Yvette Goodchild in October and are currently in the process of recruiting a Music Events Assistant to join the team. Eleasha Mah remains as our Team Lead, and Alex Siegers as our Operations and Communications Assistant.
Together, the Music Performance Unit, and the even smaller Art Unit and Religious Centre, forms the Culture portfolio, lead by Head of Culture Sonia Maddock within the team of the Director of Wellbeing, which also includes Head, UNSW Colleges; Head, Sport; and Head, Health.
Geoffrey Collins Returns To UNSW Sydney
With the reopening of the South Australian border, Adelaide-based Geoffrey Collins was able to return to Sydney. Geoffrey was excited to undertake some video projects on campus at UNSW, wherein some of his expertise was captured to benefit the next generations of flute players.
However, he was perhaps most delighted to be able to undertake a face-to-face masterclass with three fortunate UNSW students, back in the Australia Ensemble’s home, the Sir John Clancy Auditorium, under strict COVID-Safe guidelines.
While obviously an exciting and positive opportunity for the student performers, it was something of a relief for Geoffrey to be back on the Clancy stage and making an impact in the musical realm.
Burgundian Consort Returns to Face-to-face Rehearsals
It was with considerable excitement that five members of the Burgundian Consort returned to campus for the first face-to-face rehearsal in seven months, with the remaining choristers tuning in through an online streaming of the session.
Passers-by couldn’t help but stop and take in the live sound, with some settling down on the nearby lawn for their own private choral performance. The delight was palpable.
Public Art Returns To Clancy
Like the MPU, the Art Unit has also made steps to return activity to campus, happily focusing on the MPU’s home of performance, the Sir John Clancy Auditorium.
A new exhibition to celebrate NAIDOC week, JILAMARA: Tiwi art in the UNSW Art Collection, has seen the installation of a collection of contemporary works from the Tiwi islands into the Sir John Clancy Auditorium foyer, bringing together paintings, prints and sculpture.
The exhibition will run until 28 February 2021, perhaps confirming Sir John Clancy Auditorium to truly be the cultural home of the UNSW Kensington campus.
Pauletta Kerinaiua (b.1982)
natural ochres on paper 56 x 76cm
Purchased 2020. UNSW Art Collection
© Pauletta Kerinaiua /Copyright Agency, Australia
Raelene Kerinauia Lampuwatu (b.1962)
Pwoja-Pukamani body paint design 2005
natural ochres on paper 56 x 76 cm
Purchased 2020. UNSW Art Collection
© Raelene Kerinauia/Copyright Agency, Australia