NiTRO Creative Matters

Perspectives on creative arts in higher education

Edition 1

Welcome to the first edition of NiTRO, DDCA’s dedicated space for views and news in the tertiary creative arts community. Every six weeks we explore an issue of particular interest to creative artists practicing in the university sector.  Our first edition focuses on the changing higher education landscape as we ask: Watt’s next for creative arts?

In this edition of NiTRO, Contributors from the higher education and arts sector consider how creative arts disciplines are positioned in this rapidly changing landscape...

The Australian Government’s Federal Budget announcement in May was confirmation that funding for the Office for Learning and Teaching would be discontinued after this year. The news, though not unexpected, represented a blow to funding for teaching and learning scholarship in Australia.

The impact will be particularly acute for the creative arts. Australia’s universities can continue to count on research funding to support many areas of scholarship. But for a host of reasons the ARC’s record for funding and advancing creative disciplines is not high relative to other fields. With no funding for innovation in learning and teaching, the creative arts

‘In God we trust.  All others bring data,’ quipped US statistician, W. Edwards Deeming.  As he implied, measurement is an inherently conservative occupation.  Units of appraisal have to be agreed in advance, while the aim of measuring something is usually to compare it with something that already exists...

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At the DDCA annual conference in Adelaide in 2015, a group of 25 leaders in the creative arts engaged in rigorous and expansive discussion following a series of highly astute commentary and presentations by invited colleagues.  Our goal was to determine how to advance our profession amidst the volatility of the higher education sector.  

The glaringly obvious fact occurred to us that, this material, so useful to progress our profession, had been heard only by the 25 people in the room, and that was all. The discussion and debate featured only the experiences and perspectives of those of us attending.