Tisch Asia To Close Permanently

Bet you didn’t know that Tisch had a graduate campus in Singapore. Well, neither did anyone else, and since it opened five years ago, Tisch School of the Arts Asia “from the start faced considerable financial challenges and required increasingly unsustainable annual subsidies from Tisch,” said Tisch Dean Mary Schmidt Campbell in a statement. Today she officially announced that it is “not possible to maintain Tisch Asia without, in fact, increasing the annual subsidy beyond what is an already unsustainable level.”

During its brief existence, the Tisch Asia campus has offered Masters of Fine Art degrees in four areas: Film, Dramatic Writing, Animation and Digital Arts and International Media Producing. The campus is officially slated to close in 2014, meaning some students will have to be transitioned to New York in order to complete their coursework. According to Film Biz Asia, Singapore’s Media Development Authority will be offering Media Industry Scholarships to help with this transition.

It’s no secret that NYU has made great strides in recent years to expand itself and  further advance its presence as a “Global University”- with campuses all over Europe, as well as in Accra, Shanghai and, of course, Abu Dhabi. However, all of these programs focus specifically on undergraduate education, and only one of them (to date) is a four-year, degree-granting campus. While Tisch Asia’s “academic and artistic model” may have “proved itself,” according to Schmidt Campbell, one might indeed have a harder time making the  decision, as an adult seeking a terminal, professional degree rather than a wide-eyed 18-year old hungry to explore the world, choosing to receive training in filmmaking or playwriting so far away from where one actually plans to practice these professions.

The dean, however does see the potential in a partnership with Singapore for the benefit of undergraduate students. Such plans were in the works before the campus was found to be totally unsustainable. However, Alvin Tan, assistant managing director of Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) said, “Notwithstanding the winding down of Tisch Asia’s operations, EDB remains open to future collaborations with NYU and Tisch.”

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    Share Your Thoughts


  1. Kenny Gee says

    Mr. Pastore,

    The truth is being disputed as we speak. Here’s a link that might help:

    Is Tisch Asia closing for purely financial reasons? Or are financial reasons the convenient excuse that suits the narrative of those who would shut us down?
    If Mr. Greller or yourself had done a little bit of research about our school and the circumstances surrounding its closure, this is a story that might have interested you. It would have taken a little more effort, of course, and a little more concern in the fates of your fellow NYU students, but I guess that isn’t Mr. Greller’s style. He might not have attacked our academic achievements directly, but neither did he accord us any degree of respect in characterizing us as a group of naive, immature individuals making an odd decision in coming to Tisch Asia to further our education.

    As a reporter yourself for NYULocal, it’s also rather appalling that you would respond to our comments, which have been largely polite and cordial if impassioned, in the manner you did. You should be quite embarrassed with yourself.

  2. Kenny Gee says

    By the way, I don’t think it’s weird that we know who you are at all. You condescended to us, and behaved like a child, so we looked you up. That’s something Mr. Greller and you should have done when the two of you found out about us. Looked us up, checked us out. It might’ve actually led to some proper reporting.

  3. says

    Hi Ken,

    Its no surprise that you, like most others have chosen to notice Tisch Asia only when its in dire waters. I’m an animation graduate from there. I learned so much about the art of animation and the various possibilities out there with it that it has been the best academic experience of my life. I feel grateful to my professors and to the fact that I got to interact with so many people from different parts of the world. Over the last 4 years I have had colleagues who have made it to Lucasfilm, worked on Hollywood films, been able to start their own ventures into animated installations, worked on TV shows in Singapore and Taiwan, worked in Ubisoft, started their own comic book series, had their films screened at Annecy in France, at Stuttgart and at various film festivals in Singapore and India etc etc etc. Could you maybe have found out a bit about where all this work went and what all went into this work before posting this?

  4. Dean Mary Schmidt Campbell says

    I want to add my thoughts in response to this NYU Local piece.
    While media accounts understandably focused on the recent news of Tisch Asia’s closing, the faculty and students there are rightly proud of the artistic community they have built in Singapore, and they are right to expect that their many accomplishments should be recognized and honored just as fully.
    It is important not to lose sight of the fact that in just a few short years, Tisch Asia students and grads have won more than 20 film festival awards; that over 150 of their works have been screened at such festivals as Cannes, Venice, and Toronto; that they have been the recipients of seven film fellowships; that they have received 10 writing awards, and that they have been key contributors for 10 film and television productions. That is a remarkable record, given the size of the student body and the fact that Tisch Asia first opened its doors in 2007.
    Tisch Asia is not closing immediately – the program there, and wonderful artistic output of its students and faculty, will carry on for another couple of years. We should be respectful that fellow members of the NYU community will be continuing to carry on work there, and be mindful not to think of their efforts as finished with the announcement of this news. Indeed, I expect they will earn additional distinctions during that time, and that Tisch Asia’s finish will be as strong as its start.
    Lastly, I wish to address a matter of tone: the piece seems to suggest a certain separation between the Tisch Asia community and those of us here in New York. It is certainly true geographically, and it also the case that Tisch Asia community had an independent spirit. But to my mind, the connections far outweigh the separateness: the Masters students there have the same curriculum as our students here, their academic program was designed by Tisch faculty, and the graduates earn a Tisch degree. Moreover, we are a University with a global presence, and we need our sense of community to be global, too. For all these reasons, we should as peers and colleagues honor the sadness and disappointment the Tisch Asia community feels at its closing, which comes about only because of financial considerations, and not in any way because of the work of the students and faculty, which was successful on the artist and academic level. 
    I believe those parts of Tisch Asia – the artistic and the academic – will not only shine over the next couple of years, but will continue to shine even after Tisch Asia is closed, and Tisch Asia will leave a strong and lasting legacy.

  5. Abhishek Prasad says


    Paul is just trolling you all. Ignore him. i mean, to sit at a computer screen and laugh at peoples comments sounds pretty classy to me. I mean, the time people have these days is amazing.

    This is also NYU Local, it’s not really journalism. I mean, the whole article is biased from the top. It’s slated as an opinion, riddled with a fact or two.

    I say instead of trying to defend or attack over a forum that i’m sure only a handful of people like paul visit, lets show paul the movies that we’re making.

    You know the ones shot in the vast rice fields of vietnam, or the wilted forests in korea, or the bright city lights of downtown japan, or maybe the largest above ground cemetery in the philippines, or a cock fighting arena in the middle of nowhere in Quezon city, or the back alley’s of india, or a pig farm in malaysia, or the slums of indonesia. I mean the list goes on and on.

    A picture means a thousand words, lets not waste our grammer on online forums.

  6. says

    I’m not a journalist, but I know when a script is bad. And this one is Razzie winning. Profit and graduate film do not go hand and hand. Film is an expensive business with it’s cameras and lights, and kraft services. The graduate film program at Tisch in NY does not make money. They have an undergraduate program and other arts programs that support them. We would have had that too, if not for our founder Pari Shirazi being dismissed. Every proposal to make Tisch Asia self sufficient was hindered by NY, including grants from the Singapore government and establishing an undergraduate program with NUS. Ken, Paul, understand this; we are treated so disgracefully by the NY administration and now by fellow NYU students through this article and comments. But what affects one NYU campus far away also affects NYU in NY. Why is NYU expanding so rapidly if it can’t keep an academically successful campus open? What kind of reputation is NYU trying to establish when a pass/fail curriculum in Abu Dhabi thrives and campus that propels students to the highest film festivals/awards fails? P.S. an undergraduate film program will soon open in Shanghai, coincidence?

    If you want a real story check out
    http://www.nycourts.gov/supctmanh/ (go to case information, then library, then search Shirazi under plaintiff).