A secure future for circus arts in Australia

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Two National Institute of Circus Arts students on swing with stained glass in background.

NICA students graduate with a Swinburne qualification and go on to great success as circus performers around the world.

In summary

  • Swinburne established the National Institute of Circus Arts in 1999
  • Federal Government support for NICA through to 2022 
  • Funding guarantees the future of NICA’s three-year Bachelor of Circus Arts degree

Swinburne and the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) welcome a historic $17.5 million funding agreement from the Australian Government’s Ministry for the Arts.

The new funding deal locks in Federal Government support for NICA through to 2022 and guarantees the future of NICA’s three-year Bachelor of Circus Arts degree.

NICA students graduate with a qualification backed by Swinburne and go on to great success as circus performers around the world.

The Executive Director of NICA, Ms Rose Stephens, says it is an historic agreement.

“This is a vote of confidence from the Ministry for the Arts that NICA is firmly delivering on its stated missions,” says Ms Stephens.

“Six years of secure and increased Commonwealth funding will ensure a strong basis for the future of NICA’s highly specialised programs for the long term. This also means that the agreement will enable NICA to guarantee students a continued educational experience for the term of their degree.

Ms Stephens says as well as providing confidence about the provision of training for the next generation of circus artists, the agreement allows NICA to put in place plans for the maintenance of assets and facilities and bigger picture projects.

“NICA has a very focussed vision for the future and we are confident that we can continue to achieve excellence on the world stage,” she says.

The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer, Federal Member for Higgins: “I am delighted that following my recent arts forum, we have been able to provide NICA with funding certainty over the next six years.

“This funding gives certainty to our elite performing arts training programs and ensures that Australian performers can continue to be trained at the highest level.”

Since 1999, NICA had been funded through a rolling succession of one-year agreements. NICA had previously welcomed a four-year funding agreement until June 2017. The new agreement supersedes this agreement, providing an additional six years of funding.

NICA will also continue to operate at its current location, including space shared with Gymnastics Victoria at Swinburne University of Technology in Prahran.

About NICA
NICA is a national not-for-profit arts training organisation registered as a cultural organisation. It is primarily funded by the Australian Government’s Ministry for the Arts and is supported by the Victorian Government through Skills Victoria and is the only arts training institute in the Southern Hemisphere to offer a degree in circus arts.