New Heads of Animation and Documentary at AFTRS

AFTRS has appointed two new heads of department of Animation and Documentary. 

Former Learning and Development  Manager at Animal Logic, Krista Jordan will take up the position of Head of Animation. With over twenty years professional industry experience Krista’s credits include: The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, Rabbit- Proof Fence, Moulin Rouge and the Academy Award-winning Happy Feet.

The new Head of Documentary is Richard Welch, formerly Co-Director of the Antenna Documentary Film Festival, who has been running the AFTRS Graduate Certificate in Documentary for the past three years. Richard has extensive contacts in the industry and his latest film, Tea for Two, premiered at the 2018 Revelation International Film Festival recently.

DDCA welcomes new board members

2019 brings a change of faces to the Australian Council of Deans and Directors of Creative Arts (DDCA) Board. We say a fond farewell to board members Sarah Miller (Wollongong), Matthew Allen (Deakin), Kim Vincs (Swinburne) and co-opted members Frank Millward and Bruce Watson who stepped down from their roles at the end of 2018. Here at NiTRO we thank them for their inspiration and enthusiasm and will miss their camaraderie.

DDCA’s continuing board members will be joined by Craig Batty, David Cross and Cat Hope.

Professor Craig Batty

Professor Craig Batty

Professor Craig Batty was recently appointed as Head of Creative Writing at the University of Technology Sydney, moving from RMIT University where he had spent 7 years as Creative Practice Research Leader and HDR Director, Specialising in screenwriting practice (craft and research),

Craig is passionate about creative practice research broadly, and creative doctorates specifically. He has published widely on both, including the recent co-edited book, Screen Production Research: Creative Practice as a Mode of Enquiry (2018), andScreenwriters and Screenwriting: Putting Practice into Context (2014). He is currently researching the screenwriting doctorate. Craig is Chair of the Australian Screen Production Education and Research Association (ASPERA) Research Sub-Committee, and head of the research portfolio for the Australian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP).

In his role with the DDCA, he hopes to bring more prominence to the areas of screen production and creative writing, which are important disciplines within the DDCA community. Passionate about HDR supervision, he also hopes to create opportunities for enhancing the research training of creative candidates, especially in a constantly shifting landscape where Government imperatives are forcing universities to re-conceptualise how they structure and supervise research degrees.


Professor David Cross

Professor David Cross

Professor David Cross is an educator, curator, artist, writer and public art consultant. His  art practice extends across performance, installation, sculpture, public art and video and is known for his inflatable structures and for the ways in which the work examines risk, pleasure and inter-personal exchange. 

He founded Litmus Research initiative at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand in 2007, an organisation focused on the commissioning and scholarship of public art. Litmus produced a number of ground breaking public art projects including One Day Sculpture a 1.5 million dollar series of temporary public artworks that took place across five cities in New Zealand in 2008/9.

He was the CAST 2011 international curator in residence in Hobart where he developed Iteration:Again 13 Public Artworks Across Tasmania He was Deputy Chair of the City of Melbourne Public Art Advisory Board in 2015/6 and a former arts-sector advisor for Creative New Zealand. Since 2014 he has been Professor of Art and Performance at Deakin University where he recently developed Treatment: Six Public Artworks at Western Treatment Plant (2015) and was artistic director for the sophomore exhibition Treatment Flightlines (2017). The book of treatment published by Surpplus was published in March 2017. 

In 2017, along with Claire Doherty he convened the Melbourne Biennial lab. He has published extensively on public and contemporary art and the monograph on his practice Air Supplied was published in 2016 by Punctum books. In 2018 he founded with Katya Johansen Public Art Commission, a research initiative at Deakin University focusing on the making and scholarship of temporary public artworks.


Professor Cat Hope

Professor Cat Hope

Professor Cat Hope is an artist scholar with an active profile as a composer, sound artist, soloist and performer in music groups internationally. She is the director of the award winning new music ensemble Decibel that focuses on digital graphic notations.

Cat’s composition and performance practices focus on low frequency sound, drone, noise and improvisation and has been discussed in books such as Loading the Silence (Kouvaris, 2013), Women of Note (Appleby, 2012), Sounding Postmodernism (Bennett, 2011) as well as periodicals such as The Wire, Limelight, and Neu Zeitschrift Fur Musik Shaft.

In 2013 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study digital graphic music notations internationally, and she is a Fellow of Civitella Ranieri. Cat is the co- author of ‘Digital Arts - An introduction to New Media’ (Bloomsbury, 2014) and is Professor of Music and Head of School at the Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University. 

Craig and Cat are already contributors to NiTRO and we look forward to hearing from all three over the coming months.

Leadership change at WAAPA

UK academic David Shirley has been appointed as incoming Executive Dean of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) when the current longstanding Dean Professor Julie Warn AM retires in early 2019.

Mr Shirley is currently the Director of the Manchester School of Theatre at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). He is a director and trained actor, and has previously held the role of Head of Drama at MMU and the Head of the School of Theatre at Rose Bruford College.

He is due to take the WAAPA hot seat in April.

National Art School gets long-term lease on its Darlinghurst location

The National Art School has been given a 45 year lease of the historic Darlinghurst Gaol location. Recognising the institution as an organisation of state significance which should give the school access to a multi-year funding arrangement with the state government that is typically for other similarly designated organisations such as Carriageworks and the Museum of Contemporary Arts, the lease closes a disruptive period of uncertainty for NAS which included a number of university merger proposals.

ANU Art and Design press refresh button

After a number of voluntary retirements in 2018, ANU’s School of Art and Design welcomes a significant cohort of new staff that represents almost a third of its workforce.

Former Fellow of University of the Arts Berlin Alex Martinis Roe joins as the new Head of Sculpture and will continue her project To Become Two: a series of films, workshops, public events and a book, as a social history of the feminist practices.

Fresh from completing his PhD with UNSW Art and Design in 2019, ANU lecturer Peter Alwast takes over as Head of Painting. Peter has an extensive artistic career with over 17 solo exhibitions and in group exhibitions including at the Tate Modern (London), Museum of Old and New Art (Tasmania), the Greater Taipei Biennial, Gallery of Modern Art (Brisbane) and the Australian Centre for Photography (Sydney).

 Contemporary artist Baden Pailthorpe moves from UNSW Art and Design to take up position as Lecturer and Convenor Hybrid Arts Practice; Ella Barclay, whose work incorporates installation, sculpture, performance, electronics and moving image to map the terrestrial aesthetics of network architecture and the politics of information hierarchies, has been appointed as photography lecturer; Textile artist Lucy Irvine who is also completing her PhD at ANU joins as lecturer in Textiles; NiTRO contributor Amanda Stuart has been appointed as  Lecturer Environment Studio and Foundation Studies and will be leading the Environment Studio Balawan courses;  Sean Dockray, founder of the Telic Arts Exchange in LA and initiator of the knowledge-sharing platforms The Public School and AAAARG.ORG  joins as Lecturer in Contemporary Art (Sculpture and Spatial Practice); Beck Davis moves from Queensland College of Art Griffith University to take up a position as  Design Lecturer and  Contemporary Craft Studios and Textiles Coordinator, and will continue her work in awareness of the broader function of design as a method for shaping creative, innovative and ethical outcomes; Kate Warren brings expertise and skills  as an independent artist and former Assistant Curator at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne to her new role as Art History and Curatorship lecturer. She is joined by Keren Hemmerschlag whose specialisation in Victorian and Edwardian art and visual culture, and the many intersections and frictions among art, visual culture, medicine and science work includes research undertaken in the US and the Courtauld Institute of Art in the UK.

 The school also has an extensive program of visiting scholars, artists and designers planned for 2019 including: Roderick Bamford (Ceramics), Gemma Smith (Painting), Amy Rueffert (Glass), David Walker (Jewellery and Object), Julian Laffan (Print media and drawing) and Nick Mangan (sculpture and spatial practice).

The future of USQ Artsworx under review

Artsworx, the University of Southern Queensland’s creative services, academic support and event/ activity unit is under review, following on from the university’s academic restructure last year that saw the creation of separate schools of creative arts and humanities. The official consultation period is ongoing until April.

A university spokesperson confirmed: “The University of Southern Queensland is pleased to announce the new School of Creative Arts. The School presents further opportunities to focus on the academic programs, community engagement and activities in the Creative Arts. This is an exciting opportunity for the School of Creative Arts to continue its links with Arts practice and the University aims for research, teaching and learning, industry connection and community engagement. The USQ Artsworx program activities are proposed to be integrated into the new School. We have a proud and long history as a supporter of the Visual Arts, Theatre, Music, Film, Television and Radio disciplines. As the consultation process is still underway, we cannot make further comment as this time.”

VCA’s new Head of Dance

Creative research scholar, academic and professional choreographer Carol Brown has been announced as the new Head of VCA Dance at the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Music. Carol, currently Associate Professor in Dance Studies at the University of Auckland, will take over from long-term Head Associate Professor Jenny Kinder who stepped down in late 2018. Carol will start in mid 2019.

Angelica Mesiti to represent Australia at 2019 Venice Biennale

UNSW Art & Design Alumna Angelica Mesiti has been selected to represent Australia at the Venice Biennale 2019. She is acknowledged as one of Australia’s most celebrated contemporary artists working across video, performance and installation and her work uses cinematic languages and performance to explore deeply personal stories of the individual and the collective, grappling with the complex dimensions of human experience.

The selection was made by an independent panel of highly respected arts professionals chaired by Professor Callum Morton from Monash University and comprising: Chris Saines, Director, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art; Franchesca Cubillo, Senior Curator Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art, National Gallery of Australia; Professor Nikos Papastergiadis, Director of the Research Unit in Public Cultures, University of Melbourne; Kathryn Weir, Head of Cultural Development, Centre Pompidou in Paris; and Louise Neri, Director, Gagosian Gallery in New York.

US and UK museums and galleries face protests over ethics of philanthropy gifts

Major art galleries and museums in the UK and US are being challenged to consider the ethics of their gift acceptance policies following a wave of protests.

In the UK, 350 protesters occupied the British Museum to protest the Museum’s sponsorship relationship, and particularly its sponsorship of its I am Ashurbanipal exhibition which features Ottoman artifacts removed from modern day Iraq. Campaigner Yasmin Younis is reported as saying: “When I saw there would be a special exhibition on my culture and my history I was ecstatic … but finding out the sponsor was BP was a massive slap in the face. These are the very same sponsors who advocated for the war which destroyed my homeland and slaughtered my people all in the name of oil.” ¹

Meanwhile in New York, the Guggenheim and Metropolitan Art Museum were both targeted by protests against their policies of accepting funding from the Sackler Family whose money comes from the pharmaceutical manufacture of the drug Oxycontin a product which is currently the subject of lawsuits and public outrage as a significant contributor to the US ‘Opioid crisis’. ²

The Met has instigated a review of its gift acceptance policy and promised to report back.



Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Lunch Hour concert series

Event date: Every Monday lunch time until 27 May 2019
Event location: Melba Hall, Gate 13, The University of Melbourne , Royal Parade , Parkville, Melbourne

The Melba Hall Lunch Hour Concert Series returns for Semester One, 2019 with a vibrant and eclectic program that features visiting international guests and staff and celebrates music in its many forms and styles. The concerts are free, but seats are strictly limited so reservations are required.