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Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne

The Faculty of Fine Arts and Music (formerly known as the Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music) is a faculty of the University of Melbourne, in Victoria, Australia. It is located near the Melbourne City Centre, on two campuses: one – the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (The Conservatorium) – on the Parkville campus of the University of Melbourne, and the other – the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) – on St Kilda Road, at Southbank.

Faculty of Fine Arts & Music
Melbourne Conservatorium.jpg
Other name
Victorian College of the Arts, VCA, FFAM
Established2009; 10 years ago (2009)
DeanBarry Conyngham
DirectorGary McPherson, Jon Cattapan
Academic staff
Location, ,
37°49′29″S 144°58′13″E / 37.8248°S 144.9702°E / -37.8248; 144.9702Coordinates: 37°49′29″S 144°58′13″E / 37.8248°S 144.9702°E / -37.8248; 144.9702
(Southbank Campus)
4 Hectares
The Elisabeth Murdoch Building looking towards Melbourne Arts Centre spire on St. Kilda Road

Since 2019 a large majority of the Melbourne Conservatorium has moved to the Southbank campus alongside the VCA[4].


The faculty was created in 2009 from the amalgamation of the university's faculty of music (founded as the University Conservatorium in 1895) and faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts. Founded in 1972, the VCA integrated into the University of Melbourne in 2007 as a separate faculty. Due to dissatisfaction – particularly from students of the old VCA – with the structural changes imposed by the university, in November 2009 former Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski was appointed to chair a review. A number of his recommendations were adopted, resulting in the resignation of the inaugural dean,[5] abandonment of the previous push for full amalgamation, the creation of the present divisional structure with a more centralised administration and two relatively distinct teaching entities at the Parkville and Southbank campuses,[6] and a change in the title of the head of the two divisions to Director. The appointment of a new Dean under this new structure, occurred in 2011.[7]

This was not the first time, however, that sharing of resources across two institutions had been attempted. In 1974, at the time of the establishment of the VCA School of Music, the original entity called the University Conservatorium was finally unincorporated. Symbolically as well as in practice, the central place of instrumental tuition at the Faculty was removed to the new VCA and replaced with a more academic syllabus.[8] Between 1975 and 1981, the teaching of most woodwind, some brass, double bass and guitar was undertaken by VCA staff at the Southbank campus.

Although much work has been done to ensure the autonomy of the VCA, the economic climate of the late 1980s led to a full amalgamation of the VCA and the Faculty of Music that took effect on 1 July 1991. The new organisation was known as the Faculty of Music, Visual and Performing Arts. John Poynter was appointed as dean of the new super faculty. In September, Warren Bebbington was appointed to the vacant Ormond Chair and, at the urging of staff on both sides, worked to reverse the amalgamation, which was effected in 1994.[9]

On 1 January 2012 the faculty's name was changed to reflect the two operating divisions and is now known as the Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (Faculty of the VCA and MCM).

On 1 January 2018, the faculty's name was changed again to the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music. The Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium remain as schools within the faculty.[10]


  • Peter Oyston, 1976-1984
  • Andrea Hull, 1995-2009
  • Sharman Pretty, 2009–2010
  • Warren Bebbington, 2010 (acting)
  • Barry Conyngham, 2011 – present

Melbourne Conservatorium of MusicEdit

Relocation of Melbourne ConservatoriumEdit

In early 2019 the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music relocated from University of Melbourne's Parkville campus, to its Southbank campus. This was due to the worsening condition and lack of space of the original facilities it had been using since it was founded in 1894. Moving to the Southbank campus allows it to be alongside the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne's Art Precinct.

The relocation and build cost $104.5 million dollars[11] which included the construction of a new 400-plus-seat auditorium as well as a public square, Linear Park. The move was also part of a larger initiative by the Victorian Government (who also contributed funding towards the project) to completely renovate the Southbank Arts Precinct[12].

Victorian College of the ArtsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "VCA Staff Directory". Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  2. ^ "MCM Staff Directory". Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Sydney Morning Herald - New Home for Melbourne Conservatorium". Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Southbank Campus Redevelopment".
  5. ^ VCA chief quits amid overhaul accessed 4 Feb. 2011
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Tregear, Peter, The Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne: An Historical Essay to Mark its Centenary, 1895–1995, University of Melbourne, 1997, p.125
  9. ^ Tregear, The Conservatorium of Music, p.136
  10. ^ "Faculty of Fine Arts and Music – a new name for the Faculty of VCA & MCM" Precinct, 14 December 2017
  11. ^ "Southbank Campus Redevelopment".
  12. ^ "Transforming Southbank".

External linksEdit