A new Chair in Australian Literature at The University of Western Australia will play an important role in developing Australia's cultural and intellectual capital, the University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Robson said today.
"Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Julia Gillard's announcement will enable Australian literature to regain its place as a vibrant and vital component of the nation's cultural life," Professor Robson said.
Under an agreement with the Commonwealth, the University will match the Commonwealth funding of $1.5 million, ensuring the $3 million Chair becomes a permanent resource dedicated to the study of Australian literature.
Professor Robson said the University's excellent reputation in the field of Australian literature had clearly been recognised as the highest in a strong national field.
The Chair will be located in UWA's Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
"UWA's School of English and Cultural Studies is one of the strongest in Australian literature and creative writing in Australia, and continues our proud tradition of being at the forefront of national literary development," Professor Robson said.
"UWA's unique position on the western rim of the continent and the eastern rim of the Indian Ocean fosters a unique cultural and artistic perspective on art and literature."
He said the role of the Chair would be to provide national and international leadership in the study and appreciation of Australia's creative writers and their work, taking Australian literature to national and international audiences.
"The importance of the Chair in shaping the future direction of teaching in literature, from schools to universities, should not be under-estimated," he said.
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) 61 8 6488 5563 / 0432 637 716