University of New South Wales College of Fine Arts

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UNSW Art & Design (previously College of Fine Arts (COFA)) is the creative arts faculty of the University of New South Wales and is located on Oxford Street, Paddington, Sydney, Australia.


UNSW Art & Design, a faculty of The University of New South Wales UNSW, can trace its history from the formation of The Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts in 1833, which led to the formation of Sydney Technical College in 1878.

In 1958 the New South Wales Government combined all its Technical Colleges under the name of The National Art School. Also in 1958 the college reopened as Alexander Mackie College, dedicated to teacher training . The first student intake was in September of that year. Further incarnations followed: in 1970 the visual art section of The National Art School was amalgamated with the Alexander Mackie College; in 1975 the Alexander Mackie College was made a College of Advanced Education, becoming a ‘multi disciplinary’ college with a School of Art and a School of Teacher Education;[1] and in 1982 Alexander Mackie CAE joined Sydney Teachers' College and several other teaching institutions to become Sydney College of Advanced Education (Sydney CAE). At the same time, the AMCAE School of Art was reconstituted and became known as the City Art Institute.[2]

The City Art Institute seceded from Sydney CAE in 1987 and joined the Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) to create the NSW Institute of the Arts. The two institutions remained at their original locations in Paddington and Balmain but the partnership was short-lived. In 1988 Federal legislation removed the distinction between state-owned Colleges of Advanced Education and federally funded universities, resulting in the amalgamation of most CAEs with existing universities. The devolution of NSW Institute of the Arts was included in these changes, made effective on 1 January 1990, when Sydney College of the Arts joined the University of Sydney and the City Art Institute, renamed the College of Fine Arts (COFA), became a faculty of The University of New South Wales.[3]

Still located at the original Paddington Campus, COFA was renamed UNSW Art & Design in July 2014. Its activities include teaching of and research in art, design and multi media, art history and theory and art education. It offers bachelor, master and doctoral degrees in fine art, art education, art theory, design and art administration.

In May 2009, the Federal Government gave UNSW Art & Design $48 million, through the Education Investment Fund (EIF), for the $58 million Gateway@COFA redevelopment.[4]


UNSW Art & Design offers fifteen undergraduate degrees including some double degrees associated with other UNSW faculties. Bachelors degrees are offered in Fine Arts, Fine Arts/Arts, Fine Arts/Education, Commerce/Fine Arts, Fine Arts/Laws, Design, Design/Education, Design/Media (PR and Advertising), Art Theory, Art Theory/Arts, Art Theory/Laws, Art Theory/Social Research and Policy, Media Arts, Media Arts/Education and Media Arts/Science (Computer Science).

Postgraduate degrees in coursework are offered in Art, Art Administration and Design. UNSW Art & Design also offers Masters by research degrees and has a PhD program.

The Paddington campus houses the Clement Semmler Library],[5] which maintains a large collection of art and design literature, journals, periodicals and electronic resources. The Ivan Dougherty Gallery, which had a regular schedule of exhibitions and seminars throughout the year, was closed in 2013 for campus reconstruction.[6]

Arc @ COFA[edit]

In 2007, the COFA Students' Association[7] was wound up and combined with the two previous Kensington student organisations as a new student organisation known as the Arc @ UNSW. This new student organisation is a service provider on campus, running student media such as Zing Tycoon (a student zine) and the College Voice, operating the student-run Kudos Gallery, and funding the Grants and Sponsorship Scheme for non-academic artistic initiatives. The Arc Student Representative Council COFA Department represents COFA students to COFA, the University, and externally. The Arc also provides support and funding to university clubs and societies.

Kudos Gallery[edit]

The Kudos gallery is a student run initiative run by the Arc Kudos Gallery Management Committee. The Committee is made up of COFA students from each COFA School. In 2008 the Gallery celebrated its 10th anniversary with the exhibition 'Kudos to Kudos'.


Academic units are supported by various administration staff including a large technical support staff that helps maintain the various art, design and digital media disciplines undertaken at the College.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°53′02″S 151°13′13″E / 33.88394°S 151.22032°E / -33.88394; 151.22032