Accounting for creative arts research

In 2017 the Deans of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences agreed to survey decision makers in creative arts disciplines about the perception that “While every other FoR has increased its average score in each of the ERA rounds … FoR19 is the only code in which the average score across the sector has decreased in each ERA round” … We turned to the ERA Outcomes data to test this, and to review how FoR19 (Studies in Creative Arts and Writing) stacks up not only against closely related disciplines but also against the very different (scientific) disciplines selected for the 2009 ERA pilot.

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More transparency needed to back research excellence claims

A new paper by Emeritus Professor Frank Larkins questions whether Australian research performance, particularly in science disciplines, is really improving. Noting the lack of transparency in the benchmarks used to evaluate performance, Professor Larkins asks whether claims of excellence can really stand up to scrutiny.  His paper, Research at Australian Universities: Is Excellence Really Excellent? released through Melbourne University’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education, also discusses the contrast in results between science based disciplines and those in Social Sciences and Humanities. The full paper is available at:

Call for nominations for AAANZ book and PhD prizes

Deadline for book prize nominations: 28 June 2019
Deadline for PhD prize nominations: 4 October 2019

The Art Association of Australia and New Zealand (AAANZ) invites nominations for its 2019 prize awards for the best in Arts writing and research in Australia and New Zealand. Award categories include prizes for books, catalogues, artist books, indigenous art writing and an award for recently completed PhD graduates. Those wishing to nominate publications for a prize must be a member of AAANZ or affiliated with museums that have AAANZ institutional membership.

It’s about time: literary research and the inarticulate voice of scientific measurement

Within the broad definition of practice-led research, how has contemporary literature fared in terms of its categorisation, measurement and funding compared with the visual and performing arts? I interview Professor Jill Durey, previous head of English at ECU and now retired, and who has lived through the various incarnations of ERA.

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Melbourne launches new Conservatorium home with ACO partnership news

The long-awaited formal opening of Melbourne Conservatorium’s new home at The Ian Potter Southbank Centre on 1 June featured the announcement of a $1 million partnership with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

At the official launch of The Ian Potter Southbank Centre by Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley, Melbourne University VC Duncan Maskell announced that Melbourne would be the official University partner of the ACO for the next 5 years with an investment of $200,000 per annum.

Professor Maskell said: “The ACO partnership, made possible by the Sidney Myer University Trust, will provide our students at the Conservatorium with exceptional educational enrichment opportunities to engage and learn from the national orchestra’s musicians.”

The $109 million Ian Potter Southbank Centre was funded by the University of Melbourne, the Victorian Government, and generous philanthropic support, particularly from The Ian Potter Foundation, Martyn and Louise Myer and The Myer Foundation.

"Art should make life more interesting than art": An exhibition of work by Debra Porch

UNSW galleries pay tribute to the late, and much missed, academic and artist Debra Porch in an exhibition of her work, drawing upon Debra’s projects from 1979 to 2017 and including many first time exhibits.

Curator Jose Da Silva said: “UNSW Galleries is excited to be staging the first institutional survey of Porch’s incisive work, which for 30 years has explored the potency of memory and its ability to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary”.

The exhibition in the Nick Waterlow Gallery will run from 21 June to 7 September 2019.

Symposium: Correct, but not beautiful performance II: Deciphering the hidden messages in 19th-century notation (call for papers/ recitals: 21 June 2019)

Call for papers/recitals: 21 June 2019
Event dates: 23-25 September 2019
Event location: Festsaal MDW, Vienna, Austria

This three day symposium hosted by Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the University of Music and the Performing Arts Vienna (MDW) as part of an ARC Discovery Project Grant, will focus on exploring the hidden messages in 19th-century notation and in experimentally applying well-documented 19th-century expressive practices in performance.

Keynote speakers are: Professor Clive Brown (University of Music and the Performing Arts Vienna); Professor Neal Peres Da Costa (Sydney Conservatorium of Music) and Professor Robert Toft (University of Western Ontario).

Prospective applicants (from all musical disciplines) are invited to submit a proposal/abstract for presentations (25-45 mins) including papers, lecture recitals, workshops and panels.

Is it time for the arts sector to lead the impact agenda?

Impact is something that cuts across the lives of artists both outside and inside the academy. Considerations of impact have always been core to creative artists as they have activated the power of the arts to influence people, places, practices, and politics across many diverse cultural contexts and time periods. What is far newer is a bureaucratic turn towards measuring these impacts for the sake of accountability and measuring return on public investment.

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A New Approach by the Australian Academy of Humanities

Five Australian researchers have been appointed to support a new Australian Academy of Humanities-based independent think tank designed to “champion effective investment and return in Australian arts and culture.”

Established in 2018, A New Approach is supported by a $1.65M commitment by The Myer Foundation, the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and the Keir Foundation. Its new research working group comprises AAH Fellows:

  • Professor Malcolm Gillies AM - Chair (higher education leader, musicologist and linguist);

  • Distinguished Professor Ien Ang (transnational, multi-cultural and cross-cultural studies; local government engagement);

  • Professor Tony Bennett (cultural policy, cultural practice and consumption; museum studies);

  • Distinguished Professor Stuart Cunningham AM (creative and cultural industries);

  • Professor Jennifer Milam (art historian, public humanities).

Over the next 18 months, they expect to release a series of reports and case studies that explore the “diverse benefits of arts and cultural activity as well as current and potential approaches to advance public and private investment in cultural activity.”