NiTRO Creative Matters

Perspectives on creative arts in higher education

Edition 22

Our planet and world is at a tipping point due to global heating, the emergence of extreme right-wing and populist leaders and the continuing dominance of colonising and austerity politics … Artists cannot afford to merely represent Rome burn or the polar bear as the ice melts; it is important that we are also engaged and collaborating with researchers from other disciplinary fields.

What do photographers and poets have in common? Despite the contemporary ease of digital publishing, they both yearn for the authority of a physical book. Funnily enough, this is also the case with academics.

I am fascinated by research that brings together the arts, design, science and technology having worked collaboratively across these domains for most of my academic career. My own interdisciplinary journey began with two research projects funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the Australia Council for the Arts through their Synapse initiative.

At one stage in my academic career, I spent time teaching into a broad postgraduate degree in which my teaching team and I coordinated cohorts of students in study areas. Mostly, these were what we might consider to be traditional discipline areas, such as creative writing or interactive design. I, on the other hand, was the coordinator of the cohort of “Interdisciplinary” students.

Arts training institutions … reflect the complex and rapid shifts of information and technologies available to us. Is it really possible to be immersive and discipline-specific in a world where access to many knowledges provides such rich counterpoints and ruptures to singular practices?

This edition of NiTRO considers the topic of interdisciplinarity to explore what collaboration means for creative arts disciplines themselves.

Judging from past attempts at exclusion of the creative arts from consideration as research … reform will not involve reasoned argument. The arbitrary nature of all classification processes becomes the perfect arena for selective disempowerment by using semantic word juggling and modification. This means that terminology is always vitally important.