By Professor Cat Hope
Welcome to the 41st edition of NiTRO, our second for 2022. The pandemic is still very much with us as we are open up and international travel returns. Most students have returned to campus, yet classes continue to be plagued by high levels of absenteeism, and academics manage a range of hybrid approaches, a complex task in many artistic disciplines. The first semester of 2022 has presented as one of the most complex yet for many academics, as they juggle a range of challenges in a much reduced workforce where almost one of five positions have been lost.
Universities are contributing to the call for feedback as ERA 2023 approaches, and the DDCA is making contributions to this process, ensuing that that impacts of COVID-19 on the creative arts sector research outcomes are acknowledged, that journal lists are up to date and that the NTRO guidelines more appropriately represent the value of research in the arts.
The humanities more broadly, and the creative arts acutely, are rethinking the way they engage with the Australian Research Council (ARC), after changes announced the Federal Coalition Government late last year. These include more input from businesses and research end users into grant assessments, and an alignment of 70% of applied research funding with the six national manufacturing priorities of space, medical products, resources technology/critical minerals processing, food/beverage and defence. The DDCA will be working with the newly appointed CEO of the ARC, Ms Judi Zielke PSM, to press the case for better consideration of the creative arts in future planning for research in Australia.
This edition of NiTRO provides a range of insights into the value of artistic work and understanding, underlining how the creative arts help us better navigate the world in which we live. The edition is co-edited by Kate Cantrell, Beata Batorowicz and Melissa Forbes from the University of Southern Queensland, alongside our ongoing editor, Jenny Wilson. It features contributions from Griffith University, QUT, USQ, ANU and the University of Glasgow, Scotland and examines the theme of metaphor.