Thursday, 20 July 2017 2:17pm
Music, Theatre and Performing Arts staff (from left) Music Technician Stephen Stedman, Dr Jennifer Cattermole and Dr Graeme Downes at the site of the planned new music building beside the Robertson Library in Union Street. Photo: Otago Daily Times.
Staff from the University’s Department of Music, Theatre and Performing Arts say a planned new building will be a focal point for a reinvigoration of their department.
Last week the University of Otago announced a $26 million project for the Department – including the construction of a new recording studio building beside the Robertson Library in Union Street East and the refurbishment of the nearby Music Suite, Teaching Wing and Tower Block on the University of Otago Collage of Education campus.
The announcement was greeted with excitement and relief by staff, says the Head of the Department’s Music Programme, Associate Professor Peter Adams.
It follows a difficult year for the Department last year, which saw it undergo job cuts under a Management of Change – one of five Humanities Departments to do so.
"It’s a recognition of the value of music, theatre and the performing arts at Otago and means that we’ll be able to remain a vibrant contributor to the cultural life of the University and the wider Dunedin community."
Otago staff member Dr Jen Cattermole says last week’s announcement gives the Department a greater sense of support and security moving forward.
“It means we can now plan for the future with greater confidence,” she says. “It’s a recognition of the value of music, theatre and the performing arts at Otago and means that we’ll be able to remain a vibrant contributor to the cultural life of the University and the wider Dunedin community.”
The Department is currently spread across campus in multiple locations, including the Albany Street recording studio, Black/Sale House, Marama Hall, Archway East, two locations on the College of Education campus, in the old Unipol building on Anzac Avenue.
Music Technician Stephen Stedman says the planned project will bring the Department together.
“I think the new building will be a focal point for a reinvigoration of the Department and it’s a really good fit with the other significant work we are continually doing to make our courses vital, meaningful and appealing for undergraduate and postgraduate study.”
Mr Stedman says the new redevelopment will be used for future generations.
“We have a responsibility to get it as right as possible so that it will be a flexible and creative learning space. It gives us the opportunity to build-in the things we feel are missing from our current situation. We hope it will be a place where our whole cohort will want to come in and feel inspired.”
When the new building is completed in 2019 the Albany Street building will be demolished. Black/Sale House, one of the University’s original professorial houses, will become available for other uses.