Faculty launches arts prize to celebrate milestones

7 September 2010

An arts prize with $1000 prizemoney has been established to celebrate seven decades of social-work teaching and the centenary of education as a discipline at the University of Sydney.

The Faculty of Education and Social Work has announced the competition and invited entries of creative works – visual art (including painting, drawing and photography), video art (including animation), performance or creative writing – from all current and former staff and students of the faculty and its predecessors within the Faculty of Arts and at Sydney Teachers College.

First, second and third prize will be awarded to the creative works judged to best represent 100 years of Education and/or 70 years of Social Work at the University of Sydney.

Visual and, more recently, performing arts have a strong tradition within the disciplines of education and social work at the University, beginning with the interest of the first professor of education, Alexander Mackie, in acquiring artworks for display in teaching areas.

Professor Mackie – who was concurrently Professor of Education at the University and principal of Sydney Teachers College – believed in the edifying and civilising properties of art. He bought and hung artworks to produce these characteristics in his students, as well as to use in teaching. Art appreciation and technical skills such as drawing were taught until after World War II.

All entries for the prize will be eligible for display in an exhibition – to be curated by Dr Robyn Gibson and Dr Marianne Hulsbosch – that will celebrate the faculty, its predecessors and the contribution of its graduates to University life as well as Australian society. The winners will be announced at the '100 years of education' dinner on November 22.