Form and function and ownership: reflections on continuity and change and the ACOLA Review

The Australian doctorate is a relative newcomer, the first having been awarded by the University of Melbourne in 1948 … recently it has been through more turbulent times, namely from the ACOLA (Australian Council of Learned Associations) Review of Australia’s Research Training System (2016). The review was not an isolated event, but just another point in a process during which the nature of doctoral education has changed fundamentally, with implications for all disciplines including the creative arts.

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Research learning: complexity and autonomy in the creative doctorate

In the massified, diversifying and increasingly time-straitened space that has become doctoral education in Australia, it is easy to lose perspective about the level and type of learning that the degree represents. Institutions seek a smooth and efficient passage of candidature … when in fact candidate development presents a range of complex learning challenges – particularly, one might argue, in the creative doctorate, where many modes of thinking and practice exist.

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Embedded research(ers)

In the mid-1990s I embarked on a doctorate, deploying social research to study the field of artistic production. In the mid-2000s I embarked on a second doctorate, deploying creative writing to study questions of embodiment. The motivation for each project was similar: I wanted to investigate a phenomenon with the intention of finding answers to questions I had, which I thought had value beyond satisfying my own curiosity.

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Creative engagement with the APR Intern program for practitioner-researchers

To Higher Degree Research (HDR) students in most disciplines, a paid internship can be a helpful torch to the light their way to the end of the tunnel. The prospect is especially attractive where it fills the scholarship-free period between submission and receipt of examiner reports. For practitioner-researchers … who are often operating as sole-traders working project to project within the creative industries … the shine of such a scheme’s appeal is not quite as bright.

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The rules of engagement: creative arts doctorates and productive external networks

The return on Government investment and graduate career outcomes have been key focus areas of the Australian doctorate in recent years, following similar scrutiny internationally. Propelled in Australia by the 2016 ACOLA Review … there has been significant emphasis on how doctoral candidates can engage with “end users” (the dominant reading of this is “industry”) during their candidature, with a view to seeing this translate into end-user impact.

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Journeying with the creative writing doctorate: whose story is it?

Why would a creative writer, whose ideas are born in images and dreams, whose expression flows from them first like a spring and then a fabulous waterfall lit up by a rainbow of light, want to be so curtailed, constrained and managed by the shape and journey of a doctoral thesis? Is there a way of re-claiming the space to connect creativity with scholarship?

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Harvard Uni opens new Art Lab

Harvard University has just opened a new laboratory devoted to research into art creation and interdisciplinary creativity. The Art Lab will include students, staff and visiting artists involved in art making and “creating on the spot”. The official opening featured dancers, musicians, video and photo artists highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of the new research facility.

Australia Council’s five year strategy released

The Australia Council has released its corporate plan for 2019-2023. Entitled Creativity Connects Us, the document identifies five strategic objectives that will drive its operations over the next five years:

  1. Australians are transformed by arts and creativity

  2. Our arts reflect us

  3. First Nations arts and culture are cherished

  4. Arts and creativity are thriving

  5. Arts and creativity are valued.

The document highlights a number of specific strategies will be used to achieve each objective and explains its performance measurement criteria.

The corporate plan is available at:

2019 Lin Onus Oration: Dr Lou Bennett AM "Sovereign Language Rematriation"

Event date: 17 October 2019
Event location: Grant Street Theatre, Grant Street, University of Melbourne, Southbank, Melbourne

Dr Bennett’s project, “Sovereign Language Rematriation” (SLR), examines the importance of Indigenous research methods and practice-led research to the task of “rematriating” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. SLR involves collaborative processes of Indigenous song arrangement, composition and notation to develop Song Pedagogy for language retrieval that aligns with the diverse contemporary learning contexts and needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, especially those who do not speak their languages fluently on a day to day basis.

Jandamarra - Sing for the Country

Event Dates: 18 October 2019
Event Location: Sydney Town Hall

Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Bunuba Cultural Enterprises present Jandamarra - Sing for the Country, the story of Jandamarra, a young Bunaba Aboriginal man from the Kimberley in Western Australia, who was a warrior and courageous leader for his people.

In collaboration with the Bunaba people, this performance brings to life the powerful story of Jandamarra, which is emblematic not only of past conflict between Aboriginal people and white settlers, but also of survival and connection to country.

Elizabeth Scott will conduct the Conservatorium Orchestra and Choirs, along with the Sydney Children's Choir, VOX, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, and actors, singers and dancers from the Bunuba nation in the Kimberley.