2018 Graduation Ceremony | July 2 2019

The Graduation Ceremony for 2018 graduates was held on Tuesday July 2 at the Radford Auditorium. BVA [Hons] Graduate Craig Glasson presented the graduate speech below:


I’d like to kick things off by saying what an absolute honour it is to stand before you today to say a few words on behalf of my talented fellow graduates.

In the words of the great Salvador Dalí “I shall be so brief that I have already finished.”

Only joking!

I’m going to take this opportunity to talk to you today about love and passion. Not the love and passion one may feel for another, but the love and passion one has for their field of endeavour. Arguably, there are few vocations which bring about feelings of love and passion quite like the arts. When I was invited to come up and say a few words I asked myself “Why are we here?” We’re here today because we have a love and a passion for the visual arts. These feelings and emotions have developed and intensified over time (for many of us from an early age), and as teenagers and adults our decisions about our education and careers have centred around the all-consuming, and utterly compelling love and passion we share for making things.

Now there is an ancient Greek proverb (and I quote), "It is impossible to escape from what is destined", and so it is that to live our destiny each graduate embarked on a transformative creative journey at the Adelaide Central School of Art, and along the way discovered their potential as a professional artist, maker, craftsperson, teacher or academic.  As art students each graduate here today searched their souls, confronted their inner demons, made personal sacrifices, and in doing so we have risen to the many challenges presented to us throughout the duration of our studies. You could be forgiven for thinking words like “soul”, “demon”, “sacrifice” and “risen” sound a little sermon-like, but perhaps they demonstrate that art can, in many ways, be a spiritual calling - in fact, a calling so strong that it couldn’t be ignored. For some of us our decision to take a visual arts career path was deliberate. For others it was more arbitrary - something one simply fell into. Either way, you can be certain that our studies have galvanised our love, passion and commitment to the visual arts, and we come together today to pay tribute to our hard work and dedication, and to recognise and celebrate our academic achievements.

Today also gives us an opportunity to consider our professional futures. What lies ahead for a loved-up and passionate emerging artist today? There’s no denying that the visual arts plays a fundamental and significant role in shaping and contributing to societies and their cultures. This is as true in modern-day Australia as it was for the ancient Greeks, and indeed the rich culture of the First Nation custodians of the Adelaide plains - the Kaurna people.

The truth is culture is the lifeblood of a vibrant society, and our creative expression helps define who we are, and helps us see the world through the eyes of others. In addition to its intrinsic value, culture provides important social and economic benefits. The Australia Council findings from their most recent National Arts Participation Survey, confirms the significant and increasingly personal value Australians place on the arts. With improved learning and health, increased tolerance, and opportunities to come together with others, culture enhances our quality of life and increases overall well-being for both individuals and communities. Participating in culture can benefit individuals in many different ways, some of which are deeply personal. They are a source of delight and wonder, and can provide emotionally and intellectually moving experiences, whether pleasurable or unsettling, that encourage celebration or contemplation. And so as emerging visual artists we have a part to play through our love and passion for creative expression, to forge our individual identities, and enhance or preserve our society’s sense of culture.

As we transition from the formal structure of academic life into what is often considered the unconventional and unpredictable reality of careers in the creative arts, we are faced with challenges and opportunities in equal measure. The good news according to Dr Tully Barnett, Senior Lecturer in Creative Industries at Flinders University is (and I quote) ‘The world is starting to realise that it is Humanities and the Creative Arts that are the go-to disciplines of the future.’ Dr Barnett reassuringly goes on to say that ‘as the Fourth Industrial Revolution changes the nature of work, creativity and critical thinking become the two flagship skills not (or at least not yet) replaceable by machines.’

Our success will also depend on our ability to connect with the supportive networks within the eco-systems of the creative arts profession, which began with a nurturing spirit of camaraderie during our time at Adelaide Central School of Art, and continues as we take our place in the wider arts community.

Personally, I am also an advocate for what I refer to as the ‘three A’s’ – that being one’s Attitude, Atmosphere and Actions. These ‘A’ words signify the development of one’s personal drive and ambition; one’s resilience and persistence; and one’s self-belief and interpersonal skills. Combined, these characteristics are a force to be reckoned with, and together with our newly acquired knowledge and skills, our visual arts dreams can come true.

So on that note I would like to finish off by taking this opportunity on behalf of my fellow graduates with all our creative love and passion to acknowledge Adelaide Central School of Art including the benefactors, Board members, CEOs past and present, the truly inspirational lecturers, and last but not least the indefatigable administration and support staff – all of whom contributed in no small way to our world-class visual arts education.

 

References:
Clark, Kate. Connecting Australians: The National Arts Participation Survey, Australia Council for the Arts, [Media Release]. 27 June 2017.
Boland, Brooke. On future employability in the creative arts. ArtsHub, [Website]. 23 May 2019.