By Professor Kit Wise
In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the devastation of the 2019-2020 Australian bushfires, in parallel with the 2020 ACUADS Conference, this edition of NITRO explores the theme of crisis and resilience through examples from across the Creative Arts.
With the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic yet to be realised and a recent Australian defence report warning of Australia’s vulnerabilities to overlapping “crises as diverse as cyberwar, climate-induced catastrophe and a pandemic”, is our sector prepared for an unpredictable future? Dr Nancy Mauro-Flude (RMIT) discusses the connections between art, technology and economy and Associate Professor James Oliver (RMIT) takes stock of the year noting how it has shaped our sense of location and engagement.
Collaborative research and education have never been more important as we face multiple shared crises. How can art intersect with other disciplines, industries and communities to help, and what are the unique contributions only artists can make? Professor Matt Delbridge (Deakin) shares the story of two UK based artists whose stage performance was disrupted by lockdown, while Dr Kate Cantrell (USQ), Dr Emma Doolan (SCU) and Dr Kelly Palmer (QUT) chart some of the impacts on teaching and learning during the pandemic including a fascinating observation on changing student creative focus.
In this time of unprecedented global uncertainty, what can be learned from the impacts of recent overlapping crises? Furthermore, how might strategies developed insulate the student and academy of the future? As we begin to assume the “new normal”, how do we discard practices that no longer serve us? And, how do we shape what has worked to build the optimism and resilience needed to flourish in our new paradigm? Dr Julia Prendergast (AAWP, Swinburne) reflects on the recent AAWP conference and the solidarity that such initiatives offer to writer-researchers; and Dr Kate Cantrell (USQ) and Associate Professor Jessica Gildersleeve (USQ) explain the concept of ‘academic kindness’ and demonstrate how they applied this in their teaching.
As we farewell 2020 and hope 2021 will be kinder, this edition considers approaches, discoveries, learnings and values that will help find the way forward.