How successful is ERA in measuring creative research? The ERA (2015) results would appear to advantage: citations over peer review, traditional research over non-traditional outputs and certain geographical locations over others. If indeed this is true, what are the implications for the future development of NTOs in this country given the recent article by NAVA (Winikoff, 2016), presenting the debate about the state of play of our art schools as one of survival and loss. The case for survival is one that needs to be closely examined where local and geographical factors are at play.
Art and design schools across Australia navigate a range of cultural and economic forces. The pedagogical and research agendas of the university environment create pressures that art schools need to adapt to—along with concomitant financial and administrative constraints. External industry structures and commercial aims create another set of compulsions. The art and design school is continually asked to define itself against and adapt to the conditions of these environments, a pressure that often runs against the studio’s spirit of enquiry and value as a pedagogical space. In the context of these complex forces, what is the morphology of the art and design school for the 21st century? This paper examines a survival strategy at ECU, a vibrant contemporary Arts hub with an international and national focus in a period where universities are attempting to define their individual identity while at the same time measuring the immeasurable.