Art schools in the Asia-Pacific region are offering lecturers unlimited prospects and a better quality of life. British schools should watch out. Martyn Bull reports.
Art and design higher education institutions in the UK are gearing up marketing activities amid increasing global competition for students and academic staff.
This month, two major developments in art and design institutes emerged in the Asia-Pacific region - advertised in the jobs pages of The Times Higher .
With the quality of life in Singapore and New Zealand rated better than in London, the new initiatives promise to exert a strong pull on academic staff and overseas students alike.
Bob Masterton, director of international development at the University of the Arts London, says: "We aren't resting on our laurels, and in fact the university has just finished some major research into our positioning in the main market areas of the Far East. What we found was that London as a destination for art and design still far outweighs most other factors when students are making choices about their university. London's reputation as the cutting-edge centre of the world's modern creative industries gives us a real advantage, and the quality of the graduates we continue to produce reinforces that reputation."
The competition, however, is growing ever stronger.
Nanyang Technological University is seeking "creative gurus" to launch a new School of Art, Design and Media in 2005 - as part of Singapore's drive to become the major global arts and cultural centre in the Asia Pacific region.
With an open invitation for academics at all levels and no clear limit on positions, there are rare opportunities available to shape this new creative institute, it claims.
Visiting faculty and creative professionals interested in long-term engagements at NTU will be welcomed in areas ranging from history of film, international animation, design art and creative scriptwriting.
Students will be able to specialise in subjects including animation, digital cinema, game and interactive design, visual communication, installation design, emotive robotics, experimental and traditional theatre and dance.
Meanwhile, LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts in New Zealand is moving into a new state-of-the-art city campus, and expanding its fashion design and management programme.
Further south in New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington School of Design has also announced a major expansion in the number of staff with adverts for up to seven lecturers and associate professors to start in January 2005.
The school's facilities, located in a striking, bright red cargo building in the centre of Wellington, are widely acknowledged as some of the best in Australasia.