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Appendix 6. Award Course Program

In 2020, the course offering was tailored to ensure that the School is supporting a changing screen and broadcast industry with relevant, future-focused creative education and offered a BA Screen: Production, Graduate Diploma in Radio, MA Screen in 10 Disciplines and MA Screen: Business and Leadership.

This offering enables AFTRS to ensure a high-quality education experience to the maximum number of students.

All 2020 offerings content has been mapped across our courses to ensure screenings and resources represent the broadest possible range of makers and perspectives.

2020 Graduates by Course:

  • Bachelor Screen Arts: Production (AQF 7) – 61
  • Graduate Diploma in Radio (AQF 8) – 15
  • Masters of Screen (AQF 9) – 29
  • Masters of Screen Business & Leadership (AQF 9) – 9

The COVID-19 pandemic brought significant disruption to the 2020 delivery. All courses were moved to online delivery for the remainder of Semester 1. Hands-on learning and production activities were moved into the following semester. This has meant different things for each of the courses – and is summarised below. These changes were devised in consultation with students and faculty.

Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production

The BA Screen: Production (BASP) launched in 2017 and continues to go from strength to strength. The BASP aims to meet the industry need for high-quality graduates who are adaptable generalists, able to create content across a range of forms and formats and with the knowledge and skills to build a sustainable career.

In 2020, as at census date, the School welcomed a new intake of 91 students into BA Year 1, with 77 students progressing into Year 2 and 71 students progressing into Year 3.

Strong industry engagement continued this year. The School entered into collaborations with CJZ, Jungle, I Heart Radio and SBS Viceland.

At the heart of the course is a pedagogy that focuses on conceptual learning support by industry-relevant production activities to enable students to develop lifelong skills to enable them to navigate changing industrial landscapes. The course’s continued development has brought about operational efficiencies, such as the ongoing efforts around workload modelling and contracting. As a result, the School has recruited a stable pool of teachers who have improved course delivery through iteration.

The BASP made significant alterations to its teaching and production activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Year 1 and Year 2, production briefs were altered to account for the COVID-19 restrictions; and production equipment was loaned out to enable key learning to continue from home. Year 3 electives utilising specialist equipment were rescheduled from Semester 1 to Semester 2.

Graduate Diploma in Radio

The Graduate Diploma in Radio is the School’s flagship radio course and produces industry-ready professionals.

AFTRS Radio alumni are currently working in full-time positions in radio and podcasting. From 2019, the course was offered full-time over one year or part-time over two years.

The Graduate Diploma in Radio is a highly practical and intensive course that builds a broad range of skills through four pop-up radio stations and a range of podcasting opportunities. The skills developed during this course become more complex throughout the course. The course culminates in students building a radio station from the ground up and producing a live broadcast and podcast series. Work placements at radio stations across Australia are an essential component of this course and often leads to future employment. The Graduate Diploma in Radio consistently has a remarkable employment success rate.

The GD Radio made significant alterations to its teaching and broadcast activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Teaching was moved online, and students were provided with mobile recording equipment and software to enable them to undertake any key activities required. Radio Broadcasts were reconceived, in alignment with revised industry broadcast to allow for remote production. The longstanding relationship with the Royal Agricultural Society where AFTRS creates a specific pop-up station or the Sydney Easter Show was reconceptualised to an online station focusing on the stories of farmers and regional and rural communities.

Masters Program

During FY 2019–20, AFTRS continued its long and successful history of postgraduate study. AFTRS works closely with industry to ensure our Masters courses are relevant, innovative, and future-focused.

Master of Arts Screen: In 10 Disciplines

The Master of Arts Screen (MA Screen) offers a unique program of professional development, training, and mentorship to develop graduates who will become heads of department. The course is structured around intense cycles of practical, industry focused exercises. Students test and hone skill sets in a particular discipline, but also gain critical skills in resilience, adaptability, and creative leadership.

In 2020, the MA Screen was offered in 10 disciplines with 74 students enrolled across two years in Directing, Documentary, Editing, Music, Producing, Production Design, Screenwriting, Sound, and Animation.

The School has focused on the ongoing curriculum review of the practical, industry-led collaborations that distinguish this course. This gives students the best opportunity to create work that demonstrates their craft and collaborative skills and their artistic point of view.

The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted the schedule of productions resulting in a redesign of the curriculum delivery forcing the productions to be programmed into the second half of 2020. Theory and project development teaching was brought forward, and skills-based learning that required access to specialist equipment was moved to the next semester when they could be conducted following COVIDSafe protocols. Students undertaking specialist production courses were, where possible, able to take home equipment to enable them to continue to develop their craft skills.

Master of Arts Screen: Business and Leadership

The Master of Arts Screen: Business and Leadership (MASBL) is a transformational program enabling students to succeed and thrive as creative leaders in today’s fast-moving, increasingly global screen industry. In 2020, there are 19 students enrolled across two years of the program. Over two years of weekend intensives, students studied the latest approaches to managing creativity and creative leadership. The course also focused on the financial and strategic thinking needed to engage effectively with the global screen industry, and its complexities.

At the end of the first year of the course, the students created and developed a career-focused, professional Business Plan. By the second year, students are armed with the language and persuasive skills of ideas-based entrepreneurs. Using their distinct leadership style, fully developed projects and proposals, students have pitched to a range of Australian and international industry leaders.

The MASBL responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by moving classes to be delivered entirely online. The students were still able to undertake a live business case study with an international partner in Malaysia in this remote environment. Online learning has proved to be very popular with the students undertaking this course.