By Cat Hope and Craig Batty
Arts and culture in Australia is on the turn. We hope. Since the recent federal election, from which the Australian Labor Party came back into power after a 9-year hiatus, there has been a lot of “noise” about the potential of a real future for arts and culture. “A New National Cultural Policy”, which is currently accepting submissions (the DDCA is collaborating on a submission with our colleagues at the Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities – DASSH), is just one sign of the Federal Government’s commitment to what many of us already know to be the lifeblood of a healthy and vibrant society.
More closely aligned with the Higher Education sector, it is pleasing that there has also been recognition of the need for arts-based representation on the Australian Research Council (ARC)’s newly established advisory board though noting that the addition of Professor Susan Dodds is a win for the arts broadly, not the creative arts specifically. The DDCA also welcome the Government’s commitment to a review of the ARC – of its purpose, functions and operational model – and in a recent meeting we had with the ARC’s new CEO, Ms Judi Zielke, there was a genuine interest in creative practice disciplines and non-traditional research outputs. The DDCA will keep members posted on developments here, but needless to say, now is the time for the DDCA to exercise its power and help the creative arts gain greater recognition in the academy (and beyond).
Speaking of new horizons and crossing thresholds, in this issue of NiTRO we hear about boundary crossings, and how creative arts practitioners and academics are thinking through models of best practice in interdisciplinary collaborations. Across the five articles, we delve into a cross-section of disciplines that the DDCA represents and learn about how teaching, research and engagement come together in inventive and important interdisciplinary projects that seek to tackle some of our greatest challenges. Thank you to Professor Vanessa Tomlinson (Griffith University), a new DDCA Executive Board member, for bringing this great issue together.
In other crossings, Professor Cat Hope will be taking leave from the position of President of the DDCA from August 2022 to undertake a nine-month overseas research fellowship. Professor Craig Batty will act as President during this period, and the DDCA will continue its advocacy work campaigning for recognition and support of the creative arts in the tertiary sector.
Wishing you a safe and warm winter,
Professor Cat Hope (Monash University) and Professor Craig Batty (University of South Australia).