NiTRO Creative Matters

Perspectives on creative arts in higher education

COVID co-design: ACUADS & DDCA partnership

It is my pleasure to welcome you to this edition of NITRO, which focuses on the Design aspect of the broad Creative Arts.

By Professor Kit Wise

As Chair of The Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools (ACUADS) and Secretary of The Australian Council for Deans and Directors of Creative Arts (DDCA), it is my pleasure to welcome you to this edition of NITRO, which focuses on the Design aspect of the broad Creative Arts. I am grateful to my esteemed colleagues Associate Professor Veronika Kelly (U.SA), Associate Professor Katherine Moline (UNSW) and Professor Laurene Vaughan (RMIT) for this dynamic and insightful cross-institutional survey, with learnings relevant to us all. At the time of writing, the largest number of Australians are in lockdown or COVID-related restrictions; the need to share ideas, news and co-design solutions has perhaps never been greater.

We are delighted to be able to share ACUADS’ expertise in the Design fields with DDCA and NITRO readers. By way of some background: ACUADS is the peak discipline body of university visual arts, crafts and design. First established in 1981 (initially as the National Conference of Heads of Arts and Design Schools – NCHADS) as an association of heads of departments, schools and colleges of art and design, 2021 marks the organisation’s 40th anniversary. Today, ACUADS represents nearly thirty Australian university art and design faculties, schools and departments and other academic units offering university degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including bachelor, master, and doctorate in art, craft and design. Increasingly, ACUADS is looking beyond Australia to the broad Asia-Pacific region, with strong links in New Zealand and South East Asia, as well as Europe and the U.S.

ACUADS plays an active role in shaping quality education for artists, crafts practitioners and designers, providing grants to members, coordinating and publishing an annual conference and conferring national awards. The organisation addresses issues affecting the sector, and is concerned with the status of the visual arts and design industries in the wider economic, social and cultural development of Australia.

The aims of the Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools (ACUADS) are:

  • to provide leadership to professional education, research and community service in art, craft and design in the higher education sector

  • to promote quality professional education of artists, crafts practitioners and designers

  • to identify, develop and foster research in art, craft and design education on a national international basis

  • to develop policy and advocate on behalf of art, craft and design teaching and research.

Later in the year, ACUADS and DDCA will again be partnering on a co-convened national conference and forum, New Networks. As a hybrid event, co-hosted in Melbourne by RMIT and University of Melbourne, we hope to explore and indeed model some of the forms of collaboration currently sustaining the sector. ACUADS and DDCA share many common goals and values and so, like this co-edited issue of NITRO,  the opportunity to work together is welcome, indeed critical. I hope you can join us either in person or online.

In the meantime, take care and keep safe.

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