Looking backwards, moving forwards : Global directions in tertiary creative arts

As we settle into the 2018 academic year in Australia, surrounded by the confused faces of new students (and staff) and enmeshed in ERA statements, research impact and engagement justifications and the uncertainty of government plans for teaching and learning funding, we can forget that our world of creative arts education is bigger than the institutionally created boxes that immediately surround us.

In this edition of NiTRO, our contributors invite us to step out from these localised boundaries to reflect upon what 2017 has delivered for our disciplines and what this may mean for the year ahead, and to explore how the same topic is being contemplated in other parts of our collective art education world.

Annika Harding (ACUADS) and Denise Ferris (ANU/ACUADS) reflect upon 2017 for Art and Design tracing some of the key themes that emerged in the ACUADS annual conference and Léuli Eshraghi (Monash), Grace McQuilten (RMIT) and Marnie Badham (RMIT) introduce a new network for social practice in Art and Design for 2018. Craig Batty (RMIT/ASPERA) and Bettina Frankham (UTS/ASPERA) reveal the work that has been done in Screen Production research as they and their colleagues take on the challenges that 2018 will bring. Steph Hutchinson (QUT) turns to dance training and marvels at the journey of students to arts professionals.

Bringing us back to the responsibilities common to all creative arts disciplines, Antonia Pont (Deakin/AAWP) introduces us to a new ERA impact and engagement-related verb - ‘to self select’, while Paul Gough (RMIT) invites us to channel the album cover wordsmiths of the past when writing ERA statements.

Our international contributors call us into the bigger world of tertiary arts education. Welby Ings (Auckland University of Technology) sees positive moves being led by creative arts to embrace indigenous approaches to research and learning in New Zealand; Bala Starr (Lasalle) notes a closer relationship growing between art museums and art students and her colleague Aubrey Mellor (Lasalle) recounts recent developments for tertiary arts in Asia more broadly. In conversation with DDCA Vice President Clive Barstow (ECU), Chen Huagang (Guandong Baiyun University) gives us some insight into how art education is developing in China.

Alexander Damianisch (University of Applied Arts Vienna), a senior executive of the Society of Artistic Research, highlights how artistic research is developing within different parts of Europe. Alfdaniels Mabingo (Makerere University) gives a fascinating update on tertiary arts education in Uganda, part of our world which received little attention and which has had to overcome significant challenges to its artistic expression and education.

We end with a reflection by Mostyn Bramley-Moore on the life and contribution made by Debra Porch, a much loved and admired visual arts colleague who sadly passed away recently. On a personal note, as someone who has previously been lucky to work with Debra, I know that she will be much missed by the creative arts sector.