Uni needs new arts faculty head

THE University of Tasmania's arts faculty is  scouting for a new head of school after Professor Marie Sierra announced her resignation effective from June.

In July she will take up the role of  deputy dean of the College of fine arts at the University of NSW.

Professor Sierra moved to Launceston in early 2010 to head  Launceston's School of Visual and Performing Arts.

Two years later SVPA morphed into a statewide campus collective, with Professor Sierra at the helm.

 The collective incorporated the Conservatorium of Music and Hobart's Tasmanian School of Art, and is now known as the Tasmanian College of the Arts.

At the time of that restructure, Professor Sierra said: ``Change can cause concern and be disruptive for students and staff alike, but programs will be pretty much as normal, although we will always be looking for fresh synergies to keep the faculty at the cutting edge.'' 

Last year the University of Tasmania slashed jobs across all faculties and rumours circulated that Launceston was set to lose its arts campus when the new $75 million Academy of Creative Industries and Performing Arts complex was complete in central Hobart.

Launceston's Inveresk campus also came under community scrutiny when head of theatre Dr Helen Trenos initiated significant program changes, including the axing of the Student Directed Festival and disbandment of CentrStage after 23 years' operation.

This week as students across the state returned to tertiary study, Professor Sierra said: ``Change always challenges people, but I believe students have embraced TCotA.

``It becomes necessary to refresh courses over time, to change to keep pace with where industry is going: the [new-look] theatre course is indicative of that need.

``There is value in bringing disciplines together for critical mass. Sustainability is the important reason to take on these challenges.'' 

During her tenure, Professor Sierra has helped drive university negotiations with the Launceston City Council to sign off on an $18 million, 120-unit accommodation complex for students at Inveresk.

``While the university is not responsible for the Gas Works redevelopment across the river, I believe these together will go a long way to making Inveresk the vital hub it should be for Launceston,'' she said.

Professor Sierra undertook her masters in fine arts at the school of art in Hobart in 1984.

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