A challenge to the arts graduate unemployment myth

A recent edition of Campus Morning Mail contained an interesting snippet that may challenge those who hold the views that tertiary arts students graduate to unemployment. Data on people with post-school qualifications who are collecting Newstart (unemployment) payments released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that 7% hold Diplomas or Bachelor degrees while only 2% hold postgraduate qualifications. When this is considered by academic field, only 4.1% of these are from creative arts compared with 22.6% in management and commerce; 18.8% in engineering and related technologies; and 17% in society and culture. The figures are based on 2011 data and have yet to be fully analysed, but they do challenge the arts graduate unemployment myth.

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Book Launch: Artistic Research in the Future Academy by Danny Butt

Event Dates: 24 October 2017. 5:30-7pm
Event Location: Australian Centre For Contemporary Art, 111 Sturt Street, Southbank, Melbourne
Website: Link

Professor Nikos Papastergiadis launches ‘Artistic research in the future Academy’ a new book by Dr Danny Butt, with responses by Professor Barb Bolt (Victorian College of the Arts) and Ashok Mathur (OCAD University).

President’s Welcome: Culture Wars 2.0

Only the paranoid survive, so says William Burroughs. Similarly, as they say, you don’t have to be paranoid to think they are out to get you!

It is not hard to feel a sinister force at work as the collateral damage and excesses of global capital slices through the social fabric of nations, and produces increasing social and economic divisions through polarising economic wellbeing of the world’s citizens.

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Conference Report: DDCA Annual Conference; Melbourne, 22 September 2017

The DDCA’s 2017 conference took place at the Victorian College of the Arts during Melbourne’s recent respite from the cold weather - quite disconcerting for those of us from ‘up north’ who had dressed for the ‘polar extremes’ of our southern states. In a program designed to prompt discussion we welcomed a wide range of artists from within, and outside, academia to consider the theme ‘Beyond Research: Creative Arts in the Impact, Engagement and Innovative Agenda’.

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Who Runs the Artworld: Sydney Book Launch

Event Date: 3:30pm Saturday 4 November 2017
Event Location: Gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe NSW 2037
Contact: Gleebooks, 02 9660 2333
Website: Link

Launch of new book: Who Runs the Artworld: Money, Power and Ethics by John Conomos and Brad Buckley.  The edited collection,  which features chapters by Amelia Jones, Peter Booth & Arjo Klamer, Juli Carson, John Welchman, Brett Levine, Bruce Barber, Carol Gilchrist & Jennifer A. McMahon, Ian McLean, Adam Geczy, Stevphen Shukaitis & Joanna Figiel, Michael Birchall, Gregory Sholette and John von Sturmer, is published by Libri Books.

Calling all musicians! - your input into survey on Making Music Work

A research team from Queensland Conservatorium, Curtin University and the University of South Australia are inviting input from musicians across the country to capture information on how musical careers are navigated. It will be used to build professional frameworks for professional training, lifelong learning and sustainable careers.

The survey of 1000 working musicians forms a core part of the study ‘Making Music Work’ to create a comprehensive and detailed picture of the working lives of portfolio musicians in Australia.

The study, supported by the Australian Council, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, Culture and the Arts (WA), the Music Trust and an ARC Linkage Grant, is led by Chief Investigators: Brydie-Leigh Bartleet, Scott Harrison, Paul Draper, Vanessa Tomlinson, and Christina Ballico at the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre; Dawn Bennett at Curtin University and Ruth Bridgestock at the University of South Australia.

Details on the project, including a link to the survey are available at: https://makingmusicwork.com.au

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How Can The Show Go On? Performing Arts Wellbeing Summit

Event Dates: 13 November 2017
Event Location: Sydney Opera House, Sydney
Website: Link

A one day summit organised by the Theatre Network NSW with support from the NSW Performing Arts Wellbeing Working Group, Create NSW, and Sydney Opera House to raise awareness, share information, and generate cross-industry action around the wellbeing of performing arts and screen workers in NSW.

Screen Production Research Reporting: How are screen production works being valued by universities as research outputs?

By Craig Batty

An ASPERA Scoping Project was commissioned by the Australian Screen Production Education and Research Association and conducted by its Research Sub-Committee, for the benefit of the ASPERA community in Australia and other screen/media education and research communities internationally.

It provides an overview of current working environments of screen production practitioner-researchers in Australian universities, and how the frameworks for research reporting and evaluation within them impact on these working environments. The project was conducted through analysis of national research reports and guidelines (e.g., Excellence in Research for Australia, The Watt Review), and interviews conducted with staff working either directly in the screen production research discipline, or in broader research reporting, evaluation and mentoring roles.

The report highlights that environments for creative practice research vary greatly across universities. Despite concerted effort and attention given by universities to develop better processes for reporting and evaluating non-traditional research outputs (e.g., films and screenplays), the results of these efforts vary greatly across the sector. The project also found that the extent to which these variances impact on the practice of the screen production researcher varies: some have changed the way they conduct their research, while others have found a way to comply with university requirements yet still work on projects that may not clearly sit within the ‘research’ parameters set by the government.

The report concludes that communication involving all stakeholders in the process of conducting and reporting screen production research is important to the future of building research in the discipline. This incorporates a range of people, from the researcher, to administrative staff working in research offices, to those involved in ERA submissions within universities. This would serve to develop frameworks and processes specific to the practice of screen production, while also complying with the requirements of research as set by the government. 

The report makes recommendations on how some of the main issues and concerns raised in the project might be addressed, namely: 

  • The report found the frameworks for ERA were relatively non-stringent, and that universities could develop tighter parameters around their approaches to evaluating non-traditional research outputs. The report recommends that these approaches be standardised where possible, with instruction from disciplinary peak bodies.
  • Strong and transparent communication between research offices (data entry and evaluation staff, mentors and leaders, etc.) and researchers is important to nurture, to empower those working in the discipline, not disable them.
  • Research cultures within universities could be better designed to support practitioner-researchers through the process of reporting their non-traditional outputs, particularly in relation to writing research statements and collating material that serves as evidence of peer review (or its equivalence).
  • Discipline-specific peak bodies are an important source of information and support, and as such these organisations are encouraged to provide  resources and/or mentoring for practitioner-academics (especially early career practitioner-researchers)
  • As the peak body for screen production, ASPERA could lead the development of a framework / set of guidelines for assessing quality in (creative practice) screen production research outputs, to enhance the standing of the discipline in research evaluation exercises (e.g., ERA).

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Jon Cattapan announced as new VCA Director

Painter Jon Cattapan has been announced as the new VCA Director.  He will take the reins as former Director, and DDCA President,  Su Baker shifts gear to a new position as PVC Engagement for the University of Melbourne. 

In a profile interview for the University of Melbourne he explains one of his ambitions for his term is to capitalize upon the ‘tension between pure and applied art forms’ to produce a new and positive ethos for the College.