The Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools (ACUADS) is the peak discipline body of university visual arts, crafts and design.

ACUADS was established in 1981 (initially as the National Conference of Heads of Arts and Design Schools – NCHADS) as an association of heads of departments, schools and colleges of art and design. NCHADS served as an informal link between executive officers providing support and direction to the development of art and design education in Australia for more than ten years. The change of name in 1994 to ACUADS was intended to reflect the location of art and design schools in the National Unified System of Australian Universities. In 2003, membership was extended to include other major TAFE institutions offering degree courses.

ACUADS represents over thirty Australian university art and design faculties, schools and departments and other academic units offering university degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including bachelor, master, and doctorate in art, craft and design.

ACUADS plays an active role in shaping quality education for artists, crafts practitioners and designers. The organisation addresses issues affecting the sector, and is concerned with the status of the visual arts and design industries in the wider economic, social and cultural development of Australia.

The aims of the Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools (ACUADS) are:

  • to provide leadership to professional education, research and community service in art, craft and design in the higher education sector
  • to promote quality professional education of artists, crafts practitioners and designers
  • to identify, develop and foster research in art, craft and design education on a national international basis
  • to develop policy and advocate on behalf of art, craft and design teaching and research.

Read the history of ACUADS: From Tech. Ed to Higher Ed.: Professional training of the artist in Australia. A history of the Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools (ACUADS) 1981 – 2015.