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: https://melbourne-cshe.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/3058221/2019_F-P-Larkins_ERA-Excellence.pdf

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.

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.”

New Minister for the Arts but Education remains the same

Australian PM Scott Morrison has announced a reshuffle of his cabinet. While Dan Tehan remains Minister for Education, there is a new face fronting the arts portfolio. Former Arts Minister Mitch Fifield is expected to take up a diplomatic posting and Paul Fletcher will be appointed as Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts.

NSW-based Fletcher has held a number of ministerial positions since 2013, most recently as Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities and Minister for Families and Social Services from August 2018. With a pre-parliamentary background in Law, Minister Fletcher has been involved in several communications and cyber security committees since commencing his parliamentary career.

Consolidation creates New Zealand’s largest creative and IT independent tertiary institution

Five art and design colleges in New Zealand have joined together to create New Zealand’s largest independent creative tertiary education institution. Yoobee Colleges brings together South Seas Film & Television School, Animation College, Yoobee School of Design, and AMES - The Institute of IT and Design and Arts (Canterbury) to offer a range of specialist IT and creative qualifications from bachelor degrees to certificates. The new combined entity features five specific schools: Design, Animation, Film, Technology and Short & Online Courses to deliver programs in design, animation, technology, film, makeup, fashion and performing arts.

$7 million boost to NZ gaming research

NZ government and the University of Canterbury have pooled investments to provide NZ$7million into the University’s Applied Immersive Gaming Initiative, which uses gaming technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, social, and artistic concepts to improve public engagement with activities such as quitting smoking, increasing exercise and school learning. The research, to be conducted by Canterbury’s Human Interface Technology (HIT) Lab, will collaborate with international experts from NZ and around the world.

DDCA thanks Professor Su Baker AM for her leadership

By Professor Clive Barstow

As incoming president of the DDCA, I would like to pay my utmost respects to Professor Su Baker AM for her outstanding leadership and advocacy for the arts over many years in her capacity as president of the DDCA. Su has gained tremendous respect across so many arts and higher education communities both in Australia and overseas and has been a major influence on national arts policy here in Australia through her ongoing professional relationships with government and private sector organisations.

I think I speak on behalf of all academics, students and arts graduates across Australia in acknowledging Su’s tireless contribution to make life richer for all of us, and in influencing our policy makers about the important role the arts play in the forming of our cultural and national identity.

Su established the DDCA in 2013 with the vision of bringing together our various peak bodies so that the arts can speak as one voice, and a voice with unity and authority. Under Su’s direction the DDCA has achieved so much in its brief history, and it has achieved this with strong moral and ethical principles that are key to our understanding of humanity, a core value as a result of Su’s leadership that is often taken for granted.

During Su’s Presidency, the DDCA has represented the views of the tertiary creative arts sector in a range of fora, including submissions to federal government consultations on research policy, funding, training and the engagement and impact agenda and established NiTRO as a vehicle to support discussion and debate within the sector.

Following Su is like accepting a role after Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Ghandi have stepped down once they have realised there is more to life than running a committee! While I could never emulate Su’s achievements, I rest easy in the knowledge that the DDCA has a wonderful committee of movers and shakers, which will include Su as a contributing member for a few more years to come. The collective insight and leadership of the DDCA will continue its mission to work closely with our colleagues in all the arts disciplines and to advocate for a strong and robust cultural policy that will benefit the nation into the future.

I am very proud to be given the opportunity to take on the presidency of the DDCA and very thankful to Su for her strong leadership and guidance over many years.

Professor Clive Barstow
President The Australian Council of Deans & Directors of Creative Arts
Executive Dean Arts & Humanities Edith Cowan University

DDCA welcomes Professor Clive Barstow as its new President

18 March 2019 marks quite a momentous date for DDCA. At the DDCA Board meeting held on that date, Professor Su Baker  AM formally tendered her resignation as DDCA President, handing over to DDCA Vice President Professor Clive Barstow to continue the good work.

IMG_welcome-to-clive.jpg

As someone who has been involved with DDCA from its early days (and even prior to this during discussion about the need for DDCA), it will seem strange not to have Su’s energy and insight at the helm. Of course Su would be the first to acknowledge that DDCA is very much a group enterprise by ‘DDCA active’ colleagues from across the sector and, particularly, current and former DDCA board members.  It is therefore fitting that the DDCA Presidency now passes to Clive, who has been part of the DDCA journey since its beginning.

Clive is Executive Dean of Arts & Humanities at Edith Cowan University, as well as Honorary Professor of Art at the University of Shanghai Science & Technology China, Honorary Professor of Design at Guangdong Baiyun University China and global faculty member of Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey USA.

He has an extensive history of teaching and researching in creative arts. Prior to moving to Australia in 1992, he taught at Middlesex University in London and the Kent Institute of Art and Design. He trained under Eduardo Paolozzi at the University of the Arts London (Chelsea School of Art) and holds a PhD from Griffith University Australia.

Clive is also practicing artist and writer. His exhibition profile includes forty years of international exhibitions, artist residencies and publications in Europe, America, Asia and Australia. His work is held in a number of collections, including the Musse National d'Art Modern Pompidou Centre Paris and the British Council USA. Clive is President of the newly formed Sino-Australian Artists Association. and President of the newly formed Sino-Australian Artists Association. He is also Director of the Open Bite Australia Print Workshop, which encourages the development of printmaking within a number of local indigenous communities.

His recent exhibitions include “Tomorrow is History” at the Turner Galleries Perth WA, “Giving Yesterday A Tomorrow” at the Hu Jiang Gallery Shanghai China, “Cultural Pruning” at the Meou Art Gallery M50 Art Space Shanghai and recent publications include “Encountering the Third Space:  a study of identity and hybridity through trans cultural artistic practice in Australia and China” Oxford University UK. In 2005 Clive was awarded the distinguished teaching award by the Australian Council for University Art & Design Schools, for his contribution to art and design education in Australia.

Clive has been a regular contributor to NiTRO since its beginning and we look forward to working closely with him as DDCA President over the coming years.

Australian Research Council Engagement and Impact Assessment results revealed

The ARC has now released results for the first Engagement and Impact assessment that accompanied the ERA research exercise.

The E & I assessment was introduced in December 2015 by the federal government to examine how universities translate their research into economic, environmental, social, cultural and other benefits. Each Unit of Assessment (UoA) was considered, with Field of Research 19 ( Studies in Creative Arts and Writing) and 12 ( Built Environment and Design) of most relevance to creative arts researchers.

High – medium – low assessments were made in three areas:

  • Engagement: the extent to which university research engages with ‘end users’ outside academia

  • Impact:  the impact that university research has outside academia; and

  • Approach to impact: institutional approaches to facilitating the impacts.

FOR 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing E & I assessments

Institution Engagement Impact Approach to Impact
Bond University n/a n/a n/a
Charles Darwin University n/a n/a n/a
Charles Sturt University medium high medium
Central Queensland University n/a medium medium
Curtin University of
  Technology
high medium medium
Deakin University high high high
Edith Cowan University medium high high
Federation University
  Australia
n/a n/a n/a
Flinders University medium medium medium
Griffith University medium medium medium
James Cook University n/a n/a n/a
La Trobe University medium medium medium
Macquarie University medium medium high
Monash University medium medium medium
Murdoch University n/a n/a n/a
Queensland University of
  Technology
high high high
RMIT University high low medium
Southern Cross University n/a n/a n/a
Swinburne University of
  Technology
medium low low
The Australian National
  University
medium medium low
The University of Adelaide medium medium low
The University of Melbourne high high High
The University of New England n/a n/a n/a
The University of Newcastle high high High
The University of Notre Dame
  Australia
n/a n/a n/a
The University of Queensland medium medium Medium
The University of Sydney medium high High
The University of Western
  Australia
medium medium Low
University of Canberra medium high Medium
University of Divinity n/a n/a n/a
University of New South Wales high high High
University of South Australia n/a medium Low
University of Southern
  Queensland
n/a n/a n/a
University of Tasmania medium low Medium
University of Technology
  Sydney
n/a n/a n/a
University of the Sunshine
  Coast
n/a n/a n/a
University of Wollongong high high Medium
Victoria University n/a n/a n/a
Western Sydney University medium high High

FOR 12 Built Environment and Design E & I assessments

Institution Engagement Impact Approach to Impact
Australian Catholic University n/a n/a n/a
Bond University low n/a n/a
Charles Darwin University n/a n/a n/a
Charles Sturt University n/a n/a n/a
Central Queensland University n/a n/a n/a
Curtin University of
  Technology
high low medium
Deakin University medium medium high
Edith Cowan University n/a n/a n/a
Federation University
  Australia
n/a n/a n/a
Flinders University n/a n/a n/a
Griffith University high high high
James Cook University n/a n/a n/a
La Trobe University n/a n/a n/a
Macquarie University n/a n/a n/a
Monash University high high high
Murdoch University n/a n/a n/a
Queensland University of
  Technology
high medium high
RMIT University high high high
Southern Cross University n/a n/a n/a
Swinburne University of
  Technology
high high high
The Australian National
  University
n/a n/a n/a
The University of Adelaide high medium low
The University of Melbourne high high high
The University of New England n/a n/a n/a
The University of Newcastle medium medium medium
The University of Notre Dame
  Australia
n/a n/a n/a
The University of Queensland high high/medium high/low
The University of Sydney high high high
The University of Western
  Australia
medium high medium
University of Canberra n/a n/a n/a
University of Divinity n/a n/a n/a
University of New South Wales high high medium
University of South Australia high high medium
University of Southern
  Queensland
n/a n/a n/a
University of Tasmania high medium medium
University of Technology
  Sydney
high high high
University of the Sunshine
  Coast
n/a n/a n/a
University of Wollongong n/a n/a n/a
Victoria University n/a n/a n/a
Western Sydney University medium high high