Presented in concept at the ACUADS 2008 conference, this paper reports on a research study conducted for PhD into how artistic researchers have been accommodated in the Australian university research management system, and the impacts experienced by artistic researchers through this location. It draws upon a wide range of data to provide the first analysis of this topic reported across all artistic disciplines in Australia in relation to university experiences and updates the Strand Report in 1998 in relation to government policy. Data sources include a correlation of literature from arts disciplines with that of higher education management and government policies; survey responses from of heads of academic units containing artistic researchers in over 40% of Australian universities; interviews with 27 artistic researchers in three case study universities; and interviews with longstanding expert commentators on artistic research and Deputy Vice Chancellors responsible for research.
The study suggests that while limited progress has been made towards the acceptance of artistic research as an equivalent and legitimate research endeavour, significant structural, cultural and practical challenges remain which are undermining relationships between universities and their artistic staff and engendering behavioural changes within artistic practitioners that can affect the nature and quality of artistic work that is produced. Reflecting the voices of artistic researchers across the broad visual and performing arts disciplinary spectrum from early to senior career academics, it explores ways forward for universities, and artistic researchers themselves, to secure greater equity and recognition for artistic research.