Onward: Building the CCP Together
On 10 May 2018, the CCP turned 21 years old. The May 10 date celebrates the day of the first CCP class ever held. That class had six students, now the CCP is the largest photographic department in South Australia with hundreds of students enrolling in courses every year.
These 21 years are extraordinary considering we are a small business, and an arts organisation at that. So many arts organisations, galleries and similar ventures open and close in a matter of short years or even months. As a business, the CCP has remained viable, and as a school we have remained accredited, to offer a very high level of service to our students. Maintaining this requires constant work.
These years have seen many changes at the CCP, the result of countless hours imagining, planning and modifying those plans over time. All that has been achieved, we couldn’t have done without you, our students. The CCP is always growing and improving and that means the planning never stops as we plan for new classes and services.
We like to say that “without students we don’t have a school”, that is, the CCP could not exist without our students. We want students to truly feel that the CCP is your school. In that spirit, we welcome the CCP community to read on about some of our plans, short-, medium- and long-term.
Please forgive the dot points, but there is a lot to get through – and this list doesn’t even include the many other items too small or too behind-the-scenes to warrant mention here.
As the CCP benefits from no government funding at all, we always have and continue to be funded by our students. We thank you for your continuing support as we continue to build the CCP together.
Plans for the curriculum
- New courses for the Cert IV and Diploma programmes
- One topic we will offer is video. To teach video we need to include post-processing which requires upgrading the digital suite.
- We plan to offer a business course – not just a workshop; a term-length course that can count towards your Diploma. That said, don’t miss the fantastic annual Transitions Masterclass.
- We continually update all lectures delivered in classes, and want to spend more time doing this. Gavin dearly loves writing new lectures and planning more subjects.
- Gavin regularly meets with members of the photographic industry to further extend the CCP’s links to working photographers, but he can’t always make as much time as he’d like. This industry consultation is largely why Mark Zed and Gee Greenslade have recently joined our teaching faculty, it helps keep our courses current and leads to planning new workshops and other initiatives.
- Workshops to supplement your skill sets
- Running a commercial photography business
- Running a fine art business
- Architectural photography
- Newborn photography
- Bridging courses for Cert IV/Diploma students. Photoshop is an area of specific interest and we also want to create opportunities to get students into the Darkroom and Studio as early as possible to accelerate your technical development.
- More darkroom and alternative processes classes. The CCP is one of just a few institutions that still has a darkroom, and we love making the most of this – especially with interest in “historical” and alternative processes growing in the past few years.
- Digitising all of the reference images for classes. Given we have about 20,000 slides, this will be a major undertaking and will likely require a dedicated person to do this.
- Guest speakers – students would benefit hugely to hear photographers talk from a fine art background, or from a business perspective. Students may like to hear from potential future clients – people in advertising, from galleries, from commercial clients from all walks of life.
- Investing in new student resources. A CCP textbook has been an on-and-off topic of conversation for some time. We’d like to support students with more online resources.
- Postgraduate support programmes, and further active promotion of our world-class graduates.
Plans for the space
- Upgrading the Digital Suite computers for improved performance, and to be able to run video courses – which require editing capabilities.
- Replacing the projectors in all classrooms with HD projectors or displays.
- Improving disability access for all facets of the CCP; access and egress points, bathrooms, classrooms and equipment as appropriate.
- Heating and cooling in the studio. We would love to do this, but it will be expensive to install and run; we definitely need to be able to budget for that. At the very least we want to install whirlygigs to extract heat in summer or wall-mounted fans in each studio.
- Creating additional storage space, which is necessary to make as much open floor space in the studio as possible.
- We would like to re-paint much of the school; there’s a lot of grey. But as anyone who has done any painting knows, it’s an undertaking – we have to budget for this to take a lot of time, planning, and bumping in and out.
- Planning for environmentally-friendly practices – installing solar panels to reduce our carbon footprint, and investigating water-saving measures for the darkroom.
- The studio gear works really well but always requires maintenance. There are always more pieces of equipment to add to the collection for students to learn with.
- Refurbish the student kitchen and lounge. This isn’t exactly mission-critical. But we really do want every aspect of the CCP to be as good as possible for you students, and for the facilities to be practical, tidy and pleasant to work in.
- Improvements to the office space could even be included on this list. As Gavin always says, CCP lecturers really are wonderful and the most dedicated crew he has ever worked with. They made do at the old CCP when we didn’t even have space for class prep—the photocopier was in the studio area! As time goes on these miracle workers truly deserve an enjoyable, functional, comfortable space in which to put together the best courses imaginable.
Plans for the CCP as a business
- We need to reduce time spent reminding current students to enrol for the next term, so we can put more resources, including time, into attracting more new students. With higher growth in new student enrolments we can slow the increase in course fees, or hopefully even reduce fees.
- Put more resources into promoting studio hire. The CCP is one of the best studio spaces in Adelaide and ensuring it is a preferred resource centre for the photographic community is core to our mission statement. It is a joy to have CCP graduates return to work in the studios for commercial client work. And again, growing this part of the business means lower course fees and even better gear.
- We need more time to maintain compliance and update administrative “stuff”—this very much links with the need to reduce time spent reminding students to re-enrol. Administration isn’t inspiring or very interesting but it is a prerequisite for the school remaining accredited and functional for you.
Plans for Student services
- We want to open a new role, a dedicated front of house person. This will mean better service for students on a couple of fronts – most visibly, all email and phone enquiries can be handled near-immediately, and more time can be spent helping students undertaking homework in the studios and darkroom. Behind the scenes this will mean that management and faculty will be able to spend far more time running the CCP, which includes implementing the improvements on this list (and more).
- Similar to the above point, we aim to pay a staff member (or maybe a student) to keep the place open Saturdays for studio and darkroom usage during the term.
- We are always looking for ways to add more value for existing students. This could mean bridging courses and out of class support. Our lecturers could provide business mentorship to students; we could proactively explore exhibiting opportunities for aspiring fine art photographers.
- It would be great for lecturers to be available to students outside of class time, beyond the extensive email support they already offer to students.
- We prefer to have studio assistants in all studio classes, not just the full classes. Ideally, we would pay one or two graduates or Diploma students to assist in studio classes. We love supporting CCP graduates with work, and we know students love taking their education full-circle and helping others.
- Sometimes we also just want to spend a little time on the simple things – we’d like to organise more social events for students to spend time together. There is already a lot of interest in the recently-announced “Darkroom Club”. Initiatives like this, as well as exhibition openings, gallery visits and parties have the benefits of networking and professional development… but they’re also just a lot of fun. A creative career isn’t always easy, and you have to make time for fun, with a good group of friends for support.
Plans for the Light Gallery
- The CCP’s exhibition space, the Light Gallery, is the only fine art gallery in Adelaide that is dedicated exclusively to photography. If it’s the only one it deserves to be great. We’d love to put in new lighting, maybe raise the ceiling, perhaps expand the space somehow.
- To sustain a high-quality functioning gallery, we need to be able to put in more time and money to maintain a brilliant exhibition programme, with an at least part-time gallery curator.
- It would be wonderful to offer a CCP scholarship. We would love to raise the profile of photographers in Adelaide by offering a CCP art prize for photography. Such proposals require planning, partners, judges, and time to get a great deal of soft infrastructure in place. Certainly, an ongoing source of additional revenue would be required for the scholarship.
- We want the CCP to exist forever. Long past our lifetimes. With this in mind, the CCP may well be better suited to a not-for-profit model as is the case with most independent schools. This would mean establishing a board, a fundraising exercise for the gallery, perhaps even a foundation for the educational and scholarship programme. Building this, needless to say, would be a huge undertaking of an order of magnitude greater than even all that we have accomplished over the past 21 years.
We literally cannot even think about this kind of future without a solid foundation of consistent student enrolments. This all starts with you and the CCP, today. We cannot do any of this without you, and we’re all in this together. Thank you all so much for joining us on this journey.