Editorial - Watt's Next For Creative Arts?

Welcome to the first edition of NiTRO, DDCA’s dedicated space for views and news in the tertiary creative arts community. Every six weeks we explore an issue of particular interest to creative artists practicing in the university sector.  Our first edition focuses on the changing higher education landscape as we ask: Watt’s next for creative arts?

In this edition of NiTRO, Contributors from the higher education and arts sector consider how creative arts disciplines are positioned in this rapidly changing landscape...

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OLT Demise Severe But Not Fatal

The Australian Government’s Federal Budget announcement in May was confirmation that funding for the Office for Learning and Teaching would be discontinued after this year. The news, though not unexpected, represented a blow to funding for teaching and learning scholarship in Australia.

The impact will be particularly acute for the creative arts. Australia’s universities can continue to count on research funding to support many areas of scholarship. But for a host of reasons the ARC’s record for funding and advancing creative disciplines is not high relative to other fields. With no funding for innovation in learning and teaching, the creative arts will be the poorer.

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The Rough Magic of Engagement Measurement

‘In God we trust.  All others bring data,’ quipped US statistician, W. Edwards Deeming.  As he implied, measurement is an inherently conservative occupation.  Units of appraisal have to be agreed in advance, while the aim of measuring something is usually to compare it with something that already exists...

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“Is There An Artist in the Lab?”

There are a lot of things that happen in universities that the majority of the population don’t know about. Research is one of them. The average punter – even the average undergraduate – would have little idea as the scope, scale and importance of research that takes place. And having a scientist try to describe it usually doesn’t help. A quick read of successful research grants of the two major granting bodies explains why. This is esoteric stuff. It’s arcane, mystical and cabalistic all at the same time. Not stuff ordinary people like me can even begin to comprehend...

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Strategic Manoeuvres

The strength and relevance of IDEA lies the rich diversity across, and within, the 12 programs; while at the same time they share the same dynamic external context, the impact of which has led to institutions competing nationally and internationally to elevate themselves within various university ranking systems. The contest is to re-position reputation and strategic relationships so as to attract high quality researchers and students, and therefore increase their portion of the limited available funding. The battle to prevail is political and financial...

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ATSE’s Research Engagement for Australia May Just Fit Creative Arts

The National Innovation and Science Agenda, launched in December 2015, has significant consequences for tertiary institutions, and in particular, for the art and design disciplines, as well as the broader arts, humanities and social science (HASS) fields. The Agenda’s embrace of innovation rests on four key pillars: one that address tax breaks for business; another that supports students to adopt digital strategies (primarily in science and maths); another to amend the visa system to attract international talent, and depict the government as a facilitator of digital know how. The fourth pillar, collaboration – specifically collaboration with industry – will directly affect university art and design schools, programs and divisions...

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Policy Changes Stymie Industry Engagement Benefits

Australia is engaged in completing a transition that will result in academic endeavour being placed squarely within the ‘triple helix’ of university-industry-government. Priority research projects will be those that can secure funding from ‘end-users’. The challenge for researchers is now shifting from publication and peer review to benchmarks of impact and industry engagement.  At present, highly ‘engaged’ work in screen production research often leads to outputs that are either not counted as research or counted inadequately without any effective recognition of impact...

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Welcome to NiTRO, Your Non-Traditional Voice in the Academy! 

At the DDCA annual conference in Adelaide in 2015, a group of 25 leaders in the creative arts engaged in rigorous and expansive discussion following a series of highly astute commentary and presentations by invited colleagues.  Our goal was to determine how to advance our profession amidst the volatility of the higher education sector.  

The glaringly obvious fact occurred to us that, this material, so useful to progress our profession, had been heard only by the 25 people in the room, and that was all. The discussion and debate featured only the experiences and perspectives of those of us attending. This would not do.

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