The story of how the ANAM became the AIMP and then ANAM again.
December 5, 2008 § 2 Comments
Once upon a time there was a marvellous music academy called the ANAM. It was a magical place for talented music students from all across Australia. Although not a perfect organisation (which is an oxymoron) it was loved and valued by those who attended, those who worked there, and the orchestras and public who benefited from its well-trained graduates.
There was much jealousy about the ANAM’s existence. Some reports about the academy held concerns that it wasn’t run like a university. “But we’re not a university” said the ANAM. “We’re a place where musicians can learn to be better performers. “Well we want you to be more like a university” said the reports. For the time being, the reports were left alone and the ANAM continued to improve anyway.
Allowed to flourish and prosper without too much interference, ANAM began producing incredible results. Many of its graduates won important postions in orchestras around the country. Others won the prestigious “Young Performer of the Year” while still others were the finalists in the same competition.
In 2007 there was much rejoicing by people in the arts community when a performing artist from the left became their federal minister. “He’ll understand the importance of keeping cultural institutions like the ANAM”, they all thought.
But they were wrong. The minister decided that the conclusions in the reports should be acted upon, so without ever setting foot inside the ANAM, told them they had to lift their game and become more “efficient and effective”. With little time to act on the minister’s recommendations and without any real sense that failure to act upon his advice could have grave consequences, the board did the best they could with the time they had been given. Unable to meet the deadline they asked for an extension. “Too late”, the Arts minister said. ” I have decided that as of the end of this year, that I will withdraw your funding as you have failed to meet my criteria.”
In shock and disbelief the staff and students of the ANAM set about letting the media and other Federal members about their situation. Underturd, (a deliberate spelling error) the minister stood by his decision. An online petition to save the ANAM was set up which eventually had over 11,ooo signatures. Important arts figures from around the world also publicly shared their concerns about ANAM’s closure.
Hurriedly, the minister decided to come up with a new ANAM, which he called the AIMP. The opponents of his plan were outraged and the AIMP lasted for only nine days without ever having got off the ground. The ANAM was reinstated but without any certainty about when and where it would open, how many students it would have, who would teach there and how Melbourne Uni could possibly accommodate it properly.
The students decided that if the minister wasn’t going to come to ANAM then they would visit him in Canberra and serenade the parliamentarians as they arrived for work. The students met with the minister for some “fruitful discussions”. This is sometimes political jargon for not very much at all.
Thankfully, on the 8th of December it was announced that ANAM could continue and we can hopefully end this fairytale with everyone living happily everafter.