To: University of Adelaide Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Pascale Quester

SAVE CASM -The Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music

SAVE CASM -The Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music

We are deeply concerned by the Draft Change Proposal Regarding the Proposed Changes to the Academic Organizational Structure of the Elder Conservatorium of Music (6 May 2015), at the University of Adelaide, and specifically the following proposed changes to the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music (CASM):
* The closure of three (3) integrated programs of study
~The Diploma in Aboriginal Studies in Music
~Advanced Diploma in Aboriginal Studies in Music
~CASM Music Foundation Year
* The expectation that Aboriginal students will be expected to enroll in existing degree programs
* A proposed relocation of CASM within a Faculty Centre of Aboriginal Language and Music Studies (encompassing both CASM and the Mobile Language Team)
* The creation of a new Director position, and the disestablishment of the current five staff from CASM.

Why is this important?

The Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music (CASM) has a venerated 40 year long history of a unique contribution to Indigenous music education and to the production of Australian Indigenous music for which it is recognised nationally and internationally. The current proposal will have negative long term social and cultural consequences with the potential for national impacts for Indigenous musicians and Australian music.
CASM has a culturally specialized peer learning environment and community engaged programs that have proven successful in supporting the production of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music and the wider music industry. This is a holistic approach to education through music.
We are particularly concerned that the highly successful and specialised intercultural curriculum and community engaged pedagogy that has developed by CASM to meet the specific learning needs of Indigenous music students will be endangered through this proposal, and wish to register our concerns about the potential loss of a program recognised widely for its unique focus on capacity building and empowerment of Indigenous musicians and the expression of Indigenous identity and culture through music education.
The applied research focus of the work of CASM is also recognised both nationally and internationally for its special focus on social justice and community engagement through music, and wish to express concern about any restriction of this effort.
This proposal is not supported and is not acceptable to the Australian Aboriginal community.
The proposal is in breach of the United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including but not limited to Articles 5 (…the right to maintain and strengthen…distinct political, legal, social, and cultural institutions…); Article 8 (…the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of…culture); Article 11 (…the right to practice and revitalise…cultural traditions … [including] the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of…cultures such as…performing arts); and Article 14 (…the right to establish and control…educational systems and institutions…in a manner appropriate to…cultural methods of teaching and learning).

We recommend
We call upon the University of Adelaide to:

* Immediately stop this intervention and maintain and support existing CASM programs

* Engage in proper consultation and adhere to internationally recognised protocols requiring negotiation of approved outcomes in service to an Aboriginal stakeholder community

* Reverse a history of neglect and properly support CASM programs, students, staff, and the historical relationships between the University and Aboriginal communities as embodied in CASM

How it will be delivered

This petition will be hand delivered to the Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Pascale Quester a copy will also be given to Chancellor Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce

Reasons for signing

  • Music heals
  • I went to CASM in the late 90s I learnt so much from there and met so many wonderful people and wonderful skills please don't take this opertunity away for the future generations
  • because CASM provided a unique gateway into learning and employment for indigenous students having difficulty with mainstream schooling.


2015-05-27 17:37:16 +1000

1,000 signatures reached

2015-05-25 12:28:14 +1000

500 signatures reached

2015-05-23 11:13:27 +1000

100 signatures reached

2015-05-22 23:36:51 +1000

50 signatures reached

2015-05-22 21:41:12 +1000

25 signatures reached

2015-05-22 21:08:42 +1000

10 signatures reached