NiTRO Creative Matters

Perspectives on creative arts in higher education

Edition 45, 2022 – Ethical Rules of engagement

Creative industries are characterised by a gig economy featuring short-term, intensive contracts, word-of-mouth recruitment, ten-hour days, and precarious work. Such conditions can pose challenges for filmmakers with disability to flourish.

Screen stories have evolved away from the simplistic dichotomies of conflict between good and evil, goodies and baddies. Audiences expect and appreciate more nuanced and complex depictions of character, culture and conflict … ‘engaging writing’ features three dimensional characters and dramatic irony which follow from the application of the ethical values of honesty, fairness, accuracy and respect.

The screen market has experienced a contraction of traditional free-to-air distribution in favour of pay on-demand or subscription services … (and) begun to cross-over into gaming, and gamification content towards incentivised engagement of consumption … Such change has … produced a requirement to equip screen business students with a discrete ethical foundation … to prepare them for producing screen and audio outputs for the national and international marketplace.

When the world went into isolation with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, educators and researchers everywhere had to rethink the classroom model. Artist Anna Tow and curator Deborah Turnbull Tillman used the opportunity to disrupt traditional models (coded male) with the mode of learning via social systems (coded female) through the School of Art & Design at UNSW.

Over the last few years, the creative industries have faced a series of reckonings in relation to the ethics, or lack-thereof, underpinning our industries and outputs. While questions about the lack of diversity and ‘authenticity’ in the creative arts have circulated for decades, the spotlight shone by #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite; broader social movements like Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQIA+ movement; and the rise of First Nations voices have set in motion a much-needed ethical re-evaluation of the status quo. In creative collaboration and commercial relationships, the ends no longer justify the means.