NiTRO Creative Matters

Perspectives on creative arts in higher education

Looking backwards, moving forwards : Global directions in tertiary creative arts

As we settle into the 2018 academic year in Australia, surrounded by the confused faces of new students (and staff) and enmeshed in ERA statements, research impact and engagement justifications and the uncertainty of government plans for teaching and learning funding, we can forget that our world of creative arts education is bigger than the institutionally created boxes that immediately surround us.

As we settle into the 2018 academic year in Australia, surrounded by the confused faces of new students (and staff) and enmeshed in ERA statements, research impact and engagement justifications and the uncertainty of government plans for teaching and learning funding, we can forget that our world of creative arts education is bigger than the institutionally created boxes that immediately surround us.

In this edition of NiTRO, our contributors invite us to step out from these localised boundaries to reflect upon what 2017 has delivered for our disciplines and what this may mean for the year ahead, and to explore how the same topic is being contemplated in other parts of our collective art education world.

Annika Harding (ACUADS) and Denise Ferris (ANU/ACUADS) reflect upon 2017 for Art and Design tracing some of the key themes that emerged in the ACUADS annual conference and Léuli Eshraghi (Monash), Grace McQuilten (RMIT) and Marnie Badham (RMIT) introduce a new network for social practice in Art and Design for 2018. Craig Batty (RMIT/ASPERA) and Bettina Frankham (UTS/ASPERA) reveal the work that has been done in Screen Production research as they and their colleagues take on the challenges that 2018 will bring. Steph Hutchinson (QUT) turns to dance training and marvels at the journey of students to arts professionals.

Bringing us back to the responsibilities common to all creative arts disciplines, Antonia Pont (Deakin/AAWP) introduces us to a new ERA impact and engagement-related verb – ‘to self select’, while Paul Gough (RMIT) invites us to channel the album cover wordsmiths of the past when writing ERA statements.

Our international contributors call us into the bigger world of tertiary arts education. Welby Ings (Auckland University of Technology) sees positive moves being led by creative arts to embrace indigenous approaches to research and learning in New Zealand; Bala Starr (Lasalle) notes a closer relationship growing between art museums and art students and her colleague Aubrey Mellor (Lasalle) recounts recent developments for tertiary arts in Asia more broadly. In conversation with DDCA Vice President Clive Barstow (ECU), Chen Huagang (Guandong Baiyun University) gives us some insight into how art education is developing in China.

Alexander Damianisch (University of Applied Arts Vienna), a senior executive of the Society of Artistic Research, highlights how artistic research is developing within different parts of Europe. Alfdaniels Mabingo (Makerere University) gives a fascinating update on tertiary arts education in Uganda, part of our world which received little attention and which has had to overcome significant challenges to its artistic expression and education.

We end with a reflection by Mostyn Bramley-Moore on the life and contribution made by Debra Porch, a much loved and admired visual arts colleague who sadly passed away recently. On a personal note, as someone who has previously been lucky to work with Debra, I know that she will be much missed by the creative arts sector.

More from this issue

More from this issue

The sleeve notes for a 12 inch vinyl record – or the ‘liner’ as it’s known in the US – comprise on average 700 words ... thrice that of the ‘textual descriptor’ – the Research Statement - which is all that’s allowed when describing the content of a non-traditional research output [the INTRO] for the forthcoming research assessment exercise...

An ongoing state of wonderful “little ease” might be the best way to sum up 2017. What that ongoing state of “little ease” continued to reveal and what is exciting moving forwards is the very extraordinary ways in which dance training produces truly ‘agile beasts’ – capable, intelligent, resilient, adaptable and inspiring collaborators and artistic leaders.

Thinking about tertiary creative arts in 2018, it is worth reflecting on the 2017 ACUADS Conference at the ANU School of Art and Design, which probed the theme ‘Value’. At a time when Australian tertiary art and design schools are facing increasing economic and political challenges, this was a vital focus, and resulted in the sharing of key research, and productive discussions.

Art and research, typically, have their own focal points and contextual understanding of relevance for their fields. But there is at least one strong overlapping area, and artistic research is at the core of this today. Artistic Research is multi-coloured, curiosity driven, open to apply and adapt methods and reach out for topics challenging the given

I was recently introduced to a verb I hadn’t encountered before. I was attending—as a supervisor—a session looking to create opportunities for doctoral researchers (mostly of a STEM kind) . . . . the session (for me) had one good outcome, and this was learning this new verb. Angular, gauche and graceless, with zero poetry, it is however precise and pulls no punches: to self-select-out.

Following a period of research consolidation in 2015 and 2016, 2017 saw the Australian Screen Production Education and Research Association (ASPERA) ‘up the stakes’ with regard to its capacity for disciplinary research and, importantly, its future. We launched the report Screen Production Research Reporting: An ASPERA Scoping Project ... to capture some of the long-standing discussions and issues the discipline was facing.

On Tuesday December 12, 2017, in unceded Wurundjeri territory, a group of 40 artists/designers/researchers/curators/educators from Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand came together at RMIT University to start to discuss the future of Social Practice in Art and Design. Using human relations as method and content across art and design, social practice connects creative practitioners with communities, industries and institutions to address contemporary social and political issues.

Here in Australian higher arts education, we are presiding over some ‘interesting’ times ourselves. With a divided polity, seemingly, but not only, separated along education and value and belief system lines, we are finding an astonishing and baffling suspicion of ‘expertise’ and what has been called ‘wilful ignorance’ or the US legal term ‘wilful blindness’.

Like many of us who supervise research in Creative Arts practice, I spend a lot of my time navigating what I do not know. Perhaps this is part of the attraction of mentoring research at this level. Although I have been supervising Creative Arts PhDs for almost 20 years, I have become aware in the last decade of a rich interface between our disciplines and indigenous inquiry

The extraordinary growth in both quality and quantity of Asian arts education arrived with a distinctly new edge in 2017. After more than 15 years of identifying needed aspects of Western contemporary arts and arts training, the last decade has been focused upon catching up, on inviting Western experts to teach, sending staff abroad, and in establishing conferences that allow arts training to be discussed within Asia. There is now a wealth of quality arts colleges and universities across Asia, and activities and publications on arts education now surpasses Australasia.

Friends, relatives, colleagues and past students are mourning the death of Debra Porch, until recently an Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Queensland College of Art.

I’m writing in the weeks following the end of Singapore Art Week 2018, and the full schedule of exhibition tours and meetings with international museum, gallery and education professionals it marked at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore. The ICA Singapore is the curatorial division of Lasalle College of the Arts. Art Week’s many and various artists and visitors are reminders of the increasingly global context for our programme but also of the capricious field into which Lasalle fine arts graduates will emerge.

The arts have always been at the center of human life and civilisational progress in African communities. In the pre-colonial period, the arts defined cultural expressions, mediated community structures, and facilitated the generation, articulation and flow of knowledge within communities

A conversation between Clive Barstow, and Professor Chen Huagang, Dean of Art & Design at Guandong Baiyun University in China (with thanks to translator Jie He).