Focus on new Associate Deans in the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music
The 2022 academic year has ushered in a new Director of the VCA and a new suite of Associate Deans for the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music. These executive-level positions help shape the narrative and direction of the Faculty through their in-depth knowledge of their portfolios and represent a critical part of the Faculty’s governance structure.
Leading the Faculty’s international portfolio is Professor Mark Pollard as Associate Dean (International). Mark has built close bilateral connections for the last 15 years through the New Colombo Plan, Universitas 21 offshore and local interdisciplinary experiences.
Mark is excited by the challenges that global interactions bring; “I am a passionate believer in the importance of offshore and regional intensive projects, and student and staff exchange and study abroad. I believe bilateral interaction propagates profound learning, catalyses collaboration and interdisciplinarity, stimulates recruitment, engenders practice-led research and development, and enhances understanding of self.”
Over the last ten years Mark’s successful competitive national grant applications resulted in funding to realise global projects for 200 Faculty students.
The critical issue of student wellbeing is now a topic firmly at the top of the agenda of the University, and the Faculty’s new Associate Dean for Student Wellbeing, Professor Kat McFerran, is passionate about supporting students.
At Fine Arts and Music we are committed to creating a campus where our students can feel safe, learn, and thrive. Across the University, we know we have more work to do to ensure wellbeing, so we are taking proactive steps to improve how we respond to reports, disclosures, and complaints in order to provide a safe and supportive response when issues are raised.
Kat’s priorities for 2022 include creating a framework to enable students to better manage challenging situations, and to listen, support and take careful, fair, and decisive action where required.
As the incoming Associate Dean for Research, Professor Felicity Baker brings a strong focus on mentoring both early and midcareer researchers. “I enjoy hearing about their research vision and offering my reflections upon how to best make it happen, to think strategically about their choices.”
Important to Felicity is the promotion of the value of artistic research. “I am passionate about raising awareness of the value of artistic work within the University. My broad interdisciplinary approaches mean I can speak a research language that other Faculties can understand and relate to.”
Felicity brings a high level of expertise in traditional research along with experience in developing industry partnerships and is a veteran of the ERA process having gone through two ERA rounds – one at UQ and the other here at the University of Melbourne. Her background is in music therapy, a field in which she has both practiced and researched for the past 30 years.
Diversity and Inclusion
Associate Professor Sally Treloyn brings deep experience and insight to her role as Associate Dean (Diversity and Inclusion). She cites two decades of collaborative research with First Nation’s artists and organisations as helping her appreciate how both people and vast systems of knowledge have been excluded from the academy and Australian society. It’s this exclusion that drives her commitment to dismantling barriers and inspires her passion to create a more equitable and just academy and society where structures of access and inclusion are free from bias.
Her background is in applied ethnomusicology, a field that she has proudly practised for over 20 years. She’s worked at both the Conservatorium and the VCA and admires the commitment, experience and expertise of professional and academic staff and students in exploring, challenging and championing diversity and inclusion. Sally regards the University’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2030 as an important vehicle to “accelerate this work, to leverage our lived experience and expertise, to recognise excluded voices and the create a better academy for our collective staff, student, and public community”.
A key priority for Sally is to “amplify the voices, practices and projects in the VCA, Conservatorium and Faculty that exemplify good practice for diversity and inclusion.” She is also committed to ensuring University action plans reflect the diverse perspectives and experiences of all those within the Fine Arts and Music community.