NiTRO Creative Matters

Perspectives on creative arts in higher education

Edition 7

What has changed in the Head of School / Director role in the past 5 years to meet the needs of a changing art & design school environment? 

Where will leadership emphasis need to evolve to meet the needs of art & design schools over the next 5-10 years? 

We asked a range of Heads of School from member institutions of the Australian Council of University Art & Design Schools (ACUADS)  to consider these questions.

Like most musicians, the creation of music has simply entranced me from an early age. I loved discovering out how instruments worked, how they could be played for my own pleasure and with others, how manuscript (or the lack of it) enabled me to understand composers’ ideas, and how music could make an impact on everyone around.

Professor Ian Howard has spent over 20 years in leadership positions in Australian university art colleges, and is regarded by many as one of our most successful creative arts leaders. Now having returned to the ‘grass roots’, NiTRO invited Ian to share some of his thoughts and experiences on leadership in creative arts.

Working in the area of learning and teaching in Higher Education for a combined total of 35 years we have consistently questioned ourselves, while at the same time being questioned, about what the expert leader in learning and teaching for the Creative Arts looks like.

We are often told that these times are hard times for the arts in Australia, and that may just be the case. But for those of us in arts leadership, there is much to be championed and everything to be proud of. The way forward must come in many forms and from many angles, and although there is no perfectly paved yellow brick road, direction will most certainly need to come from leaders in the tertiary sector.

At the end of 2016, Kate Cherry moved from a successful nine-year role as Artistic Director and joint CEO of Black Swan Theatre to take up the role of Director and CEO of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA).  In a Q & A conversation with NiTRO Editor Jenny Wilson, Kate shares her perspectives on the move from professional arts to tertiary arts leadership

The world is in an interesting place just now. The nature of “truth” itself seems to be under threat. Now, more than ever, is the time for Universities to show leadership and to exercise their civilising influence. The Arts need to be at the centre of this.  We need recognise the critical role our artists must play and to encourage them as much as we can. This encouragement will require us, in the university sector, to provide the appropriate funding and support and to be creative in the way we do this.

As science and technology appears to be achieving greater primacy, at least in government rhetoric and funding allocations, the role of public reporting and demystification of the contribution that creative arts brings to national productivity and societal cohesion remains an ongoing leadership task.