Tertiary creative arts, and artists, have experienced significant changes over time in their working life. For many, perhaps the greatest change was the move of creative arts into the university sector nearly 30 years ago. Since then we have seen the numbers of students and staff grow, creative art schools form, restructure and even close. We have seen arts curriculum evolve to reflect new developments in technology, cultural expression, audience and student expectations, and shift to meet funding opportunities and university priorities. And the academic staff that inhabit our schools are changing. Graeme Hugo signalled academia’s demographic changes in 2005 and we are experiencing this personally with every retirement and leaving party that we attend.
Our newer tertiary arts staff face a working environment that is much changed from the ‘post Dawkins’ world that older staff had to come to grips with but it is still fraught with challenges and uncertainties - and some of the challenges that colleagues grappled with twenty years ago are still in evidence.
In this edition of NiTRO we ‘hand over’ to the next generation of teachers, researchers, students and graduates who inhabit academia and who will take both their art form and tertiary education in the arts forward into the future. Erica Seccombe (ANU) presents the case for Life Drawing as an example of STEM to STEAM in action; Kate Hunter ( Deakin) and James Newitt (UTas) focus on the challenges faced by early career academics from institutional demands as they seek to maintain sustainability for both careers and the identify of their disciplines. Sam McAuliffe (Monash) considers how his academic study has contributed to his thinking, practice and future career; Lienors Torre (Deakin) argues that in a digital world where the ‘background research’ undertaken to produce an artwork can be produced more quickly than in years gone by, teaching curation is a critical focus for educators; Steph Kehoe (VCA) writes of the hopes and aspirations of new generation theatre degree, and Budi Miller (VCA) adds more detail to the program and its aims. Niklavs Rubenis (ANU) explains the particular challenges, and benefits, of teaching studio-based craft and design. Donna Franklin (ECU) provides two articles - the first, co written with Jane Whelan (ECU), a review of a recent exhibition featuring her colleagues: Annette Nykiel, Dr Sarah Robinson and Jane Whelan; and the second a reflection on her own work in the bio-art sphere.
Special Feature: Next gen journalists on next gen artists
We also include a special feature by journalism students at Deakin University who, under the watchful eye of the fabulous Jennifer Martin (Deakin) interviewed graduating creative artists to produce a series of articles which were included as an assessment item for their degrees. In her introduction to this special feature Jen reflects upon the process of including such an exercise as part of a formal assessment and introduces us to this special feature’s guest writers: Shay Beck (on artist Louise Richardson); Amellia Wood (on artist Jessika Schweintek); Erica Brady (on artist Catherine Holder); Mitch Clarke (on artist Suf (Sophie) StJames); Zoe Duggan (on artist "Almost Iris" - Marta Oktaba): Jo French (on artist Maddy Newman); and Sam Dimitrieska (on artist Alice Radford).
 For those interested in the other side of the demographic coin, Catherine Earl, Phillip Taylor and Fabian Canizzo have just published an interesting article in the journal ‘Work, Ageing and Retirement” entitled: “Regardless of Age”: Australian University Managers’ Attitudes and Practices Towards Older Academics. Accessible at: https://academic.oup.com/workar/article/doi/10.1093/workar/wax024/4344842/Regardless-of-Age-Australian-University-Managers