2015 was a giant year for arts and cultural engagement, beginning with UWA's support of the Perth International Arts Festival.
In 2015, the University's newly formed Community and Engagement portfolio established its foundations and aligned activities with the University's strategic direction. I am pleased to report a number of successes in 2015.
2015 was a giant year for arts and cultural engagement, beginning with UWA's support of Perth International Arts Festival which took over the Perth city streets. The event engaged the Perth community and left a positive, lasting impression. The Giants generated nearly $40 million for Perth businesses with $34 million spent by Western Australians who visited the city to see the show.
Throughout 2015, UWA hosted hundreds of cultural events open to the public including a variety of Perth International Arts Festival events held on campus incorporating the popular Perth Writers Festival. Newly appointed Artistic Director of Perth International Arts Festival, Wendy Martin, also launched her first program for 2016.
Within the cultural precinct, the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery celebrated its 25th anniversary and among many other achievements, brought 19,000 visitors to see the Elise Blumann exhibition. UWA Publishing celebrated its 80th anniversary and continued to win multiple awards and receive excellent reviews of its books. UWA's cultural heritage was represented in Istanbul, with the Berndt Collection's Yirrkala Drawings featured in the 14th Istanbul Biennial.
The UWA New Century Campaign continues to produce exceptional results with approximately $300 million raised in philanthropic support, placing it on target to achieve an ambitious $400 million target by 2017. The University celebrated a century of philanthropy with the creation of the Benefactors' Wall on campus which acknowledges significant donors. UWA also welcomed volunteers at the University's inaugural Volunteer Appreciation event.
In the business development space, the Energy and Minerals Institute's (EMI) long-standing work was recognised by winning the Ashley Goldsworthy Business/Higher Education Round Table Award for Sustained Industry Collaboration with Woodside. The institute was also announced as a finalist in the Australian Financial Review Awards for Innovation. Dr Megan Clark, former CEO of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation CSIRO, became Chair of the EMI Board.
Coinciding with the Government's new innovation agenda, EMI also championed the UWA Innovation Quarter (IQ), an initiative that aims to foster greater innovation, industry engagement, and entrepreneurship.
Throughout the year the University's media presence continued to grow. Internal communications also developed significantly with the newly formed Government and Corporate Communications team developing a number of communication channels available to staff including the weekly staff e-newsletter 'UWA Forward'.
In student engagement, the University launched a new brand to reflect its evolution in a rapidly changing world. An iconic UWA commercial created to launch the new brand won a number of awards. Recruitment of future students and admissions was aligned with the University's central Brand, Marketing and Recruitment team to engage more effectively with students, both domestically and internationally. A larger intake in the second semester of 2015 suggested the improvements would return an enhanced student experience and recruitment over time.
In international engagement, the UWA Internationalisation Strategy 2015–2020 was launched: it defines the University's major internationalisation goals and priorities, along with key measures to track performance. There was also a renewed focus on developing articulation agreements where the University works with key partners, particularly China, to ensure seamless co-education pathways.
The University established an Indonesia strategy that saw former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono join UWA as an Adjunct Professor and receive an Honorary Doctorate.
The 'In the Zone' regional forum continued to be a flagship event, expanding to launch at Google Asia's headquarters in Singapore where international business and policy makers, including the Western Australian Premier, had the opportunity to discuss the challenges of our time zone.
I look forward to working with staff, students, and stakeholders to further enhance and leverage the missions of education and research in 2016.