Art education: a social good or corporate thorn?

Assoc. Prof. Keely Macarow and Assoc. Prof. Dominic Redfern (RMIT)
2016 Conference

Education is a social good, a necessity for the betterment of peoples and societies. There is simply no refuting that by any other logic than the most sexist, classist or racist social conservatism. However the corporate model of universities is failing us: the market does not know best. The neo-liberal accounting that has infected universities–as it has all other sectors of society–supports ongoing financial reductions and reductionist thinking about art and education. These are political choices and they are neither inevitable nor particularly logical–despite the rhetoric to the contrary. This merely leads us to the financial value and dividends of art and the measurement of impact in creative research. However, the impact of creative work on society and culture is not merely quantifiable. As our institutions swing further to the market fundamentalist orthodoxy of our moment artists–as usual–are responding creatively. Free schools have sprung up across the world in response to these conditions and their negative impacts upon the study and evolution of arts practice. In the spirit of the artist’s polemic, this paper will examine emergent models for real world and virtual solutions that offer potential for art and education: post capitalism.

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About the author


Assoc. Prof. Keely Macarow (RMIT)

Keely Macarow is Deputy Head, Research & Innovation, School of Art, RMIT University. Keely’s research is socially engaged and she collaborates on interdisciplinary projects with art, design, housing and medical researchers based at RMIT University, Lund University, Malmo University and the Karolinska Institutet (Sweden).


Assoc. Prof. Dominic Redfern (RMIT)

Dominic Redfern leads the MFA program at RMIT’s School of Art. He has exhibited locally and internationally for the last two decades, his creative research practice utilises video technologies to examine the relationship between social and natural histories.