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The Crawley Campus and surrounding lands are recognised as Noongar land with the Noongar people as the spiritual and cultural custodians of their land.
UWA has a unique relationship with the WA community, being the first university in the State, with traditionally close ties to the local community. It has a reputation for quality, and through its endowments, bequests and other private income, has been able to maintain a prominent role in the cultural life of the community.
One of the key priorities is to improve the University's positioning and reputation, developing strategic relationships and community engagement. World-class universities are recognised as strong intellectual and creative resource for the communities they serve and while this service is primarily through its graduates and research, leading universities also make a major contribution to the intellectual and cultural life of their communities.
A key initiative of the University is the development of a Cultural Precinct. With the interaction between the Precinct and the teaching, learning and research activities associated with a new undergraduate Design degree, there will be increasing community and cultural activities.
The University provides a number of educational facilities and services for the local community. UWA Extension is involved with community education programs including Summer School, running for two weeks every January. UWA Extension provides more than 550 individual community education programs, events, workshops, seminars and customised courses for the wider community and private business each year, as well as Community Education courses. The University of the Third Age (U3A) offers non-award courses as a series of monthly lectures. There are also continuing education courses run by faculties, centres and schools, and lectures and symposia by prominent speakers across all disciplines. The University’s Institute of Advanced Studies conducts cross-disciplinary programs for students, staff and the wider community, attracting eminent international scholars.
UWA Publishing holds regular book launches, panel discussions and lectures.
The University provides a number of cultural facilities and amenities for the community. Perth International Arts Festival was founded in 1953 to provide evening entertainment for people at Summer School. It, has retained its links with the University, but has grown to become a major State institution as a festival for film, visual and performing arts. University Theatres, such as Winthrop Hall, the Octagon Theatre, Dolphin Theatre, Sunken Garden and the New Fortune Theatre also host several hundred events every year. The School of Music has an extensive concert program. Many of these events celebrate the diversity of local ethnic and cultural communities.
The Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery is both a centre for research and scholarship in the visual arts and a major gallery showing the UWA Art Collection and significant visiting exhibitions. The Berndt Museum of Anthropology was established to house the Berndt collection of Indigenous and Asian artefacts, and is also known for its linkage to Aboriginal communities and support for cultural maintenance. The Edward de Courcy Clarke Earth Sciences Museum houses geological specimens, maps and other exhibits. SymbioticA was established in 2000 within the School of Anatomy and Human Biology and is now recognised internationally as a centre of excellence in bio-art. The Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art was donated to the University in 2007, and is housed within the Dr Harold Schenberg Arts Centre. The Cullity Gallery, within the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts, provides a showcase of activities of the Faculty and an exhibition venue for the wider community.
The University has promoted links with primary and secondary schools, including Shenton College, and runs numerous cultural courses with school age children, such as SmARTS and the UWA Junior Music School.
The University has an ‘open campus’ policy, which encourages the informal use of campus grounds, including family picnics and passive recreational use by local residents. Car parking bays and other facilities are available to the general public out-of-hours and outside of the academic year.
UWA has a number of heritage places (buildings and gardens) at Crawley which are of significant tourist value. The campus is a popular venue for weddings, conferences, modelling sessions and film settings. The iconic value of the Hackett Memorial Buildings is recognised by local, state and federal heritage agencies. Throughout the gardens are sculptures and artworks and other notable buildings by the State’s leading architects. The heritage significance of campus buildings, landscape and external artworks have been detailed in the Crawley Campus Conservation Management Plan 2008. The campus is on the Tourist Tram route, which includes Burswood, Perth City and Kings Park. The campus attracts many local, interstate and overseas visitors. The Visitors Centre is a focal point for visitor information and activities.
The University’s libraries are part of the Library Information Service of Western Australia run by the State Library. UWA’s specialist libraries (such as Humanities, Law, Architecture/Education, Sciences) are regarded as some of the State’s strongest reference resources.
The University Club, opened in 2005, has become the premier venue for social events for the University and outside organisations.
The University values the ongoing participation of its alumni and the local community in its cultural life on-campus. There are many clubs and activities under the Cultural Precinct umbrella in which alumni are encouraged to participate, including groups such as the UWA Graduate Dramatic Society (GRADS).
The University promotes numerous societies and 13 friends groups with a focus on arts and culture, including UWA Historical Society, Friends of Grounds, and Friends of the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery.