The Dean's Challenge in Arts Journalism

Starting on Tuesday 10 March 2020, the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music is launching a new initiative designed to encourage students to attend events hosted by the Faculty and make them part of their artistic development. We want you to engage not only in events in your own discipline, but also to explore other art forms and cultivate new experiences and new vocabularies to communicate your responses.

We invite you to participate in the Dean’s Challenge in Arts Journalism by attending as many events as you can of the dozens hosted each year by the Faculty on the Southbank and Parkville campuses, most of which are free for students.


As part of this initiative, we invite you to participate in a new series of workshops – starting on 10 March – that will develop your review-writing skills. Selected reviews will be published on the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music website, with up to $4,000 in prizes awarded each semester for those selected for publication.

Students participating in this project will be mentored by Dr Vincent Plush, a well-known Australian composer and ABC radio presenter/producer, and an active and pre-eminent arts critic and cultural commentator, writing regularly for such publications as The Australian and Limelight and others.

Dr Plush has also been active in Asia and North America, where he lived and worked for almost 20 years.

Reviewing workshops will be held in cycles throughout both semesters. Each cycle will be geared to a cluster of upcoming events, will last two to four weeks, and will involve several workshops, attendance at performances, discussions to explore and hone different critical responses, and assistance with writing skills and style. You can participate in just one cycle, or as many as you like.

You can participate simply to engage in the receptive process, share experiences, and acquire concepts and vocabulary. Or you can engage even further by writing reviews, submitting your work for publication and a chance for prize money.

This project is entirely voluntary and will not be a course-for-credit with a fixed syllabus. This a challenge and an opportunity to feed your artistic development in a different way. Your responses will ideally be in written form, either as more formal reviews or as informal reports or blogs, but spoken expression and other communicative responses will also be cultivated during the workshops.

When and where?

Workshops with Dr Plush will take place on Tuesdays from 12:30–2pm in the PopOut Space in the Hub,on the Southbank campus. Repeat sessions will take place on Tuesdays from 4–5:30pm in the PopOut Space. You can attend either or both sessions. Additional workshops may also be offered on Thursdays at similar times.

The first cycle of workshops starts on Tuesday 10 March and will be geared to the performances on 12–15 March of two short operas by Puccini at the Malthouse Theatre by students in the MMus degree in Opera Performance.

A more detailed schedule of workshops will be posted here soon.

For more information, and to express your interest, please contact Dr Plush – but also feel free to attend any session without advance notice.