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

Particular types of artwork change views on climate change

New research by Norwegian researchers Laura Kim Sommer and Christian A. Klöckner has shown that artistic works do have the capacity to change viewers’ perspectives on climate change, but their research indicates that it is restricted to a particular artistic style. Their research, reported in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, focused on visitors’ reactions to works included in the ArtCOP21 climate change festival held alongside the 2015 UN climate change conference in Paris. The researchers categorised the 37 works on show into four categories based on their content: “the comforting utopia,” “the challenging dystopia,” “the mediocre mythology,” and “the awesome solution.” Only three of the works, in “the awesome solution” category, described as “beautiful and colourful depictions of sublime nature that are showing solutions to environmental problems” made people feel able to do something about climate change. The full paper is at: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2019-36639-001

New Federal performance measures for university funding

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has announced four new conditions that will be applied to universities seeking Commonwealth funding from 2020. Universities will be required to report performance on four measures: graduate employment outcomes; student success; student experience; and enrolment of Indigenous, disadvantaged and rural students.

Let’s hope that universities use this planning time to ensure that their current systems for measuring graduate employment better reflect graduate employment and success in the creative arts.

Two thirds of Australia Council operational funding applicants rejected at EOI stage

According to recent media reports, nearly two thirds of expression of interest applications for operational funding from arts organisations to the Australia Council have been rejected in the first round. This year was the first to adopt this EOI approach to securing funding for January 2021 to December 2024. Those who have been successful in the EOI round are not guaranteed funding in the next round.

Theatre Network Australia warns that a quarter of currently funded organisations are likely to lose Australia Council funding in this round. Melbourne’s Theatre Works is one of those who have missed out. Despite receiving funding from the Australia Council and the short-lived Catalyst program for six years, the organisation’s funding will run out at the end of 2019.

Ausdance National closes

Dance advocacy body Ausdance National has announced its closure after an unsuccessful search for alternative funding to compensate for the loss of federal funding in 2016. Ausdance was one of the bodies to lose operational funding when the then Minister for the Arts, Senator Brandis, reduced funding to the Australia Council for the Arts. Ausdance’s state-based networks will continue in ACT, NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and WA. Calling on State Governments to continue their support for Ausdance, National President Gene Moyle said, “With the demise of Ausdance National, the state-based organisations become even more essential to the health of the Australian dance sector.”

NiTRO is Three!

NiTRO celebrates its third anniversary in July 2019. Since our first edition in July 2016 we have produced 22 editions, which have been accessed by nearly 30,000 users from across the world. NiTRO articles are increasingly cited in scholarly literature and general media, and included in institutional repositories.

While readership numbers of our most accessed articles change rapidly as people access previous editions and re-read articles - as of July 2019, our three most-accessed articles between July 2016 and 2019 were:

  1. A Fond Farewell to Debra Porch – Mostyn Bramley-Moore (Edition 12)

  2. All that is Bad – Ian Haig (Edition 3)

  3. Four Memos to Myself: Things I’ve known, wish I’d known, have learned, unlearned or forgotten – Rupert Myer (Edition 18)

Our steadily-growing readership is due to the erudite commentary of our contributors who include academic staff from all creative arts disciplines, institutional leaders, students, arts professionals, media and not-for-profit organisations.

We would like to sincerely thank the Australian Council of Deans and Directors of Creative Arts for their ongoing support for NiTRO, and all of our fabulous contributors for their commitment and collegiality!

Singapore considering arts university

Nominated MP Terence Ho, Executive Director of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, has issued a call for the transfer of art institutions such as Lasalle College of the Arts and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa) into fully-fledged art universities.

Mr Ho said: “As an aspiring arts nation, I believe we should have our own arts university. By transforming or upgrading our art academies, this will draw local and overseas talents to enrol in these institutions.”

Responding to the proposal, Senior Parliamentary Secretary Baey Yam Keng promised to “study carefully Mr Ho's suggestion for an arts university”, noting that the government is “committed to developing our young talent, and are constantly exploring new ways of doing so.”

New IETM reports on funding, cultural democracy, inclusion and artist identity

IETM has released a number of reports from its recent plenary meeting in Hull UK which focused on “inclusion in today’s societies, in their artistic representations and in the process of creation.”

  • Everyone has an opinion, but only mine is right, looks at issues related to inclusion, diversity and difference;

  • Everyday creators: friends or foes? discusses what makes an artist

  • If funders really wanted to support artists, what could they do? looks at issues of at funding alignment

  • Cultural Democracy in practice addresses issues of cultural participation

The reports are available at: https://www.ietm.org/en/ietm-hull-plenary-meeting-2019/reports-0

Useful resource: Pro Bono Grants listing

Pro Bono, the not-for-profit website, has just launched a grants site in collaboration with Strategic Grants. Although the site includes a range of disciplinary granting bodies, it does include schemes and philanthropic funding sources interested in arts and culture. The site can be accessed at: https://probonoaustralia.com.au/grants

ARC Linkage Grants announced

The Australian Research Council has announced seven new Linkage Projects grants in the field of Creative arts and writing. Our congratulations go to the successful recipients.

Chief Investigators Administering university Project title
Prof Dennis Del Favero; Prof Claude Sammut; Dr Fabri Blacklock; Dr Carol Oliver; Dr Susanne Thurow; Mr Matthew Connell; Mr Arul Baskaran UNSW Redefining museum experience as an immersive networked narrative.
Prof Roger Dean; A/ Prof Tara Hamilton; Dr Christian Walder; Mr John Davis; Dr Ajay Heble Western Sydney University Music can speak for you: making music with a deep net partner.
A/Prof Sandra Gattenhof; Dr Donna Hancox; Prof Helen Klaebe QUT The Role of the Creative Arts in Regional Australia: A Social Impact Model.
A/Prof Melanie Swalwell; Dr Denise de Vries; Dr Helen Stuckey; Mr Nick Richardson; Ms Carolyn Murphy; Mr Andrew Piper; Ms Angela Goddard; Mr Jonathan Parsons Flinders Archiving Australian Media Arts: Towards a method and national collection.
Dr Oliver Bown; Dr Samuel Ferguson; Dr Alexander Davies; Dr Linda Candy; Mr Anthony Rowe; Mr Bruce Tulloch; Mr Craig Donarski UNSW Artistically rethinking creative coding for digital media.
Prof Dennis Del Favero; Prof Michael Thielscher; Dr Baden Pailthorpe; Mr Brian Dawson; Prof Craig Stockings; Dr Rhys Crawley; Ms Robyn Van Dyk UNSW memorySCAPE: the commemoration of war using a database narrative framework
A/Prof Melanie Swalwell; Dr Helen Stuckey; Dr Denise de Vries; Prof Angela Ndalianis; Mr Sebastian Chan Flinders Play it again: preserving Australian videogame history.