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: https://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/workspace/uploads/files/australia-council-corporate-pl-5d68738684ece.pdf

Associate Professor in Art History Victoria Uni Wellington

Victoria University in Wellington NZ is inviting applications for a continuing position of Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer in Art History, located in the School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies. The successful applicant will be expected to develop new areas of teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level and enhance the potential for future interdisciplinary teaching collaborations across the Faculty, the wider University and relevant external communities.

Applications close on 8 November 2019. Further details can be found at: https://ejye.fa.ap1.oraclecloud.com/hcmUI/CandidateExperience/en/sites/CX/job/1000064/?utm_medium=jobshare

Viewing art at work reduces stress

Research undertaken by University of South Australia Artist and researcher Bridgette Minuzzo has revealed that including artwork in the workplace can reduce stress and mental fatigue in workers. Working with a neuroscientist, Bridgette’s study tested mental wellbeing of 91 people across 18 work sites where there were no windows or direct views of nature, to explore whether locating a realistic artistic representation of nature affected mental wellbeing.

Existing research shows that experiencing nature through a window reduces stress and Bridgette’s research confirmed that similar benefits can result from viewing a realistic artistic representation of nature.

She said: “Engaging with art is restorative, visually stimulating, can foster creative thinking and also helps our work weary brains, so the next thing is to acknowledge that art is not a decorative distraction, it’s actually good for our brains.”

Metropolitan Museum of Art announces 2019-2020 fellows

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced that 56 scholars have been awarded fellowships to conduct art history, curatorial and other research in 2019-2020. Fellows are drawn from 18 countries across the world and over 30 Universities. Sadly, Australia isn’t represented in this round but applications are being accepted for the next round and are due in November – so perhaps 2020-21?

Details on application is available at: https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/fellowships/how-to-apply

ACUADS deadlines for early bird registration and grants

The Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools (ACUADS) has issued a reminder about its upcoming deadlines:

  • Early Bird Registration for 2019 Conference: 7 October 2019.
    ACUADS 2019 conference, with the theme of Engagement, will take place in Melbourne on 31 October and 1 November

  • Applications for grants (round 2):  4 November 2019

Funding of $1000-$5000 for initiatives of national relevance for the art and design sector. Cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional applications are encouraged.

Further details on both are available through the ACUADS website.

New report highlights drop in government funding for arts and culture

A new report produced by “A New Approach”, published by the Australian Academy for the Humanities, tracks the reduction in federal government funding on per capita basis over the past decade, showing that state and local government are stepping in to fund the shortfall.

The report includes recommendations for all three tiers of government and issues a call for a coordinated effort to ensure the future sustainability of arts and culture.

The report, The Big Picture: public expenditure on artistic, cultural and creative activity in Australia, is available at: http://www.humanities.org.au/new-approach/report1/

Commons Social Change Library launches new Arts and Creativity area

The Commons Social Change Library is an online resource freely available to anyone with an internet collection. They gather resources from Australia and around the world on a broad range of topics, including campaign strategy, organising, digital campaigning, communications and media, working effectively in groups, diversity and inclusion and much more. 

People who are working towards social or ecological justice goals tend to be extremely busy with limited financial resources. It’s hard for people to find the time to track down information or develop skills while they are responding to big challenges. The Commons supports their important work by making information accessible, and enables sharing and collaboration across movements and struggles. 

The Commons recently launched a new topic area on Arts and Creativity. The topic includes articles, podcasts, songs, templates, interviews, case studies and practical guides. The emphasis is on inspiring ways to use art and other creative approaches to get people’s attention and change public debate.

The Commons Social Change Library welcomes queries and contributions to the collection. Visit the library at https://commonslibrary.org/ and contact the librarians via https://commonslibrary.org/contact/

A good ally to disabled artists?

QUT researcher Bree Hadley has published an interesting article on her research in ArtsHub entitled: Am I a good ally to disabled artists?

She notes that despite policy reform and recognition of the need for improved representation for disabled artists, little system wide change has resulted. She argues the need for “more scaffolded, sophisticated approaches to allyship … by which those who occupy positions of privilege support.”

Her article identifies “problematic behaviours” by art workers that are well known but discussed behind closed doors. These include:

  • the “optical” or “performative” ally, who will “like” a facebook campaign but does nothing to practically support

  • the “ally of convenience”, who expresses a desire to empower the disabled but denies financial credit and moves on when funding opportunities shift

  • the “pseudo” ally – who gaslights those they claim to empower.

Bree explains: “In an industry reliant on relationships, dealing with problematic behaviours is difficult for any artist. It is more difficult for disabled and otherwise diverse artists, who deal with barriers to employment beyond those faced by their peers. A starting point for any would-be ally, then, might be to take up burden of beginning the conversation about better allyship – and the self-reflective process that comes of it – themselves. By asking the question: am I a good ally? Though challenging, asking this question that has the potential to be transformative, for the individual, and for the industry as a whole.”

Bree’s article can be accessed at: https://www.artshub.com.au/education/news-article/opinions-and-analysis/professional-development/bree-hadley/am-i-a-good-ally-to-disabled-artists-258881

Our thanks go to ArtsHub for their permission to quote.

New report calls for more diversity in arts leadership

A new report by Diversity Arts Australia has called for a range of measures to include representation of CALD Australians in arts leadership and increased research and policy inclusion measures. The report, Shifting the Balance: Cultural Diversity in Leadership within the Australian Arts, Screen and Creative Sectors, revealed that CALD Australians were under-represented across every leadership role in every cultural sector, organisational type and jurisdiction included in the study. A copy of the report is available at: http://diversityarts.org.au/app/uploads/Shifting-the-Balance-DARTS-small.pdf