Following the release of the 2015-16 ERA National Report which details a greater recognition of non-traditional research outputs coupled with a growing research cohort in the creative arts and design within Australian universities, there is a great opportunity to strategically rethink practice-led research models to increase the visibility and perceived value of creative practice as research, as well as the potential for ARC grant success.
The proposed paper examines the current state of practice-led research within the academy and suggests ways of strengthening creative arts research by adopting research models and approaches from other disciplinary areas, as well as engaging in multi-disciplinary projects that highlight the unique contribution and significance of art and design research. Using interdisciplinary research models currently in development with the Tasmanian College of that Arts (TCotA) in partnership with the Creative Exchange Institute (CxI) at the University of Tasmania as a starting point for discussion, the authors propose that to become competitive in the current research climate requires a clear identification of research strengths and themes that connect to the University vision and larger social and cultural issues, coupled with industry partnerships and cross-institutional and cross-disciplinary alliances. They further suggest that this rethinking requires a restructure of research training and supervision models and strategic alignment of HDR students to key research areas. The paper will also highlight some of the key issues involved in the restructure process and conclude with a call to consider an Australia-wide standardization of NTRO guidelines that envisage an ‘expanded practice’ framework for ERA assessment.