NiTRO Creative Matters

Perspectives on creative arts in higher education

Edition 37

Film school programs are only useful to students and industry if attention is paid to the winds of change surrounding screen authorship. With SVOD expansion and proliferating online platforms shifting workplace models and a post-#MeToo student body wary of over-indulging a singular auteur, the “future-focused” film school curriculum must reflect on the faltering relevance of the film director as auteur and the likelihood of the TV showrunner facing a similar fate.

In the cosmologies of Indigenous peoples, we live in a world of constant flux, inhabiting multiverses rather than universes, where meaning and truths are multiple and co-existing, and the concept of property and ownership is foreign. Our stories are dynamic, living, and have agency.

My first experience of a university ethics committee was as a candidate in the latter days of my doctorate, investigating voicelessness and the media … Industrial ethics in my journalism was front and centre throughout my career; research ethics within the Humanities … was a relatively new notion at the time.

Women-artists often encounter a “double-bind” which involves an irreconcilable social demand of being “too much or not enough” within their personal lives and professional careers (Catalyst 2007; Williams 2018). The pressures of juggling family responsibilities and career are further exacerbated by making this undertaking appear effortless, with this overall set up leading to never being “good enough.”

Film industries have poor records of treatment, opportunities, and recognition of women … Screen Australia … states that “we aren’t seeing enough meaningful change in the sector”. It calls for “cultural change” to address the gender equity issues in the screen industries. Arguably, changing film culture begins with changing education in film history.

In recent years, cultural movements such as #metoo and #OscarsSoWhite have drawn attention to low levels of diversity on screen and behind the camera in the global screen industries. Local and national screen agencies in Australia and abroad have responded with the introduction of initiatives to boost participation by women and minority groups.

The push for diversity in many arenas is stronger than ever. In higher education, one way this can manifest, is in higher numbers of students from diverse backgrounds. With more diverse student cohorts, it’s certain that teachers will encounter students who are telling stories from cultures that we do not have lived experience of or are intimately familiar with.

As COVID-19 corrodes our creative industries, I find myself scrambling to identify anything that might signal a brighter future. At the same time, I am wary of pandemic-born states of panic, since rapid-response initiatives often work to further disenfranchise already vulnerable members of the arts community. The queer community has faced down a pandemic before.

Jared Diamond asked the acclaimed evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr (1904-2005) why Aristotle didn’t come up with the theory of evolution. Mayr’s answer was “Frage stellen” which Diamond translates as “a way of asking questions [sic]” (Byrne 2013). I love Mayr’s answer.

In a world where there is daily anxiety around the economy, our health and public engagement, we offer a pedagogy that promotes resilience, self-reliance and employability. As Collaborator … As Accomplice