2019 Conference

2019 ACUADS CONFERENCE: Engagement

31st October – 1st November, Melbourne

The 2019 ACUADS Conference, will focus on the meaning of engagement for contemporary art and design schools: across disciplines, nationalities and cultures; but also with industries, communities and the world at large.


‘Our guiding principle was that design is neither an intellectual nor a material affair,  but simply an integral part of the stuff of life, necessary for everyone in a civilized society.’

Walter Gropius


2019 marks the centenary of the founding of the Weimar State Bauhaus by Walter Gropius. Revolutionising models of art, design and architecture education at the time, the school drew on interdisciplinary ideals, international parameters and a deeply held social conscience. Gropius established the archetypal Modernist school by engaging across media, disciplines, cultures, classes and genders, with a deep commitment to the material, the applied and the experimental. These aspirations still ring true one hundred years later, although the models and context have changed.

The Australian Research Council‘s new Engagement assessment rates universities and fields of research on a low, medium, high, scale for:

Engagement: “interaction between researchers and research end-users outside of academia”

Impact: “contribution the research made to the economy, society, environment or culture, beyond the contribution to academic research”

In 2019, how do we demonstrate value without instrumentalising creativity? How do we research in order to achieve impact but also to explore the unknown? How do we educate to achieve innovation but remain connected to history? How do we sustain a critical commentary on society whilst receiving the rewards and resourcing? What can we learn from indigenous perspectives on engagement?  In the year when the Excellence in Research for Australia framework has articulated the first sector-wide measures of impact and engagement, we ask: does engagement allow new futures for art and design schools, or has engagement become a dirty word?


The conference, Engagement, will be held in Melbourne, Victoria on the 31st October and 1st November. The conference will be co-hosted by the School of Art and School of Design, RMIT University, and the Victorian College of the Arts and the Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne.



We invite contributions from academics and postgraduate students, artists and designers. Papers, workshops and roundtable proposals should consider engagement in the context of contemporary art and design practice and pedagogy including, but not limited to:

  • Engaging with Asia: Art & Design Schools in the Asia-Pacific region
  • Decolonising the Art / Design School: Indigenous perspectives
  • Impact & Engagement (Socially Engaged Practice)
  • Collections, Archives & Museums
  • Engaging with Industry, Engaging with Community
  • Employability, WIL & future graduates
  • HDR/ECR support & future academics
  • PhD models (see below)
  • NTRO strategy (see below)
  • Design Education
  • Contemporary Craft
  • Creative Arts & Health
  • Impact & Engagement: metrics, measures and values
  • NTRO: benchmarking guidelines and expectations
  • ARC strategies for Art & Design


We invite abstracts for 20-minute papers, as well as proposals for panel discussions, and other modes of presentation. We also invite graduate researchers, and particularly encourage interdisciplinary and cross-cultural submissions.

Deadline for abstract proposals: 31st May, 2019. We have extended the deadline for abstract proposals to 8th July, 2019.

The call for proposals is now closed.



Abstract submissions can be submitted by completing this google form here: https://forms.gle/GLH3QbzNz8QWeLAa7

In the form you are requested to provide the following details:

  • Email address
  • Proposed paper or session title
  • Name of presenter(s)
  • Institutional affiliation
  • Contact phone number
  • Brief presenter(s) biographical details (100 words each maximum)
  • Paper or session abstract (250 words maximum)
  • Up to 5 key words that describe the proposal
  • Any additional technical or venue requirements that go beyond a standard lecture format
  • Please indicate if you are willing to act as a referee of abstracts and whether you wish to have the paper refereed.
  • Please indicate if you are eligible for a Postgraduate Bursary for Interstate Travel (see below)

You may return to the google form and edit your submission at any time until the deadline of 8th July, 2019. Please direct any questions to the conference producer, Amy Spiers, using the email: acuads2019@rmit.edu.au.


Postgraduate Bursary for Interstate Travel

Three travel bursaries of $500 each, funded by ACUADS, are available for HDR students. These bursaries are aimed at supporting either interstate or long-distance travel to the ACUADS Conference.

Eligible students are HDR, with less than $40,000 annual income. The funds may be used towards travel costs, registration and/or accommodation.

Successful recipients will be selected from papers marked eligible. The three selected will be announced as part of the award ceremony at the conference.


Conference Steering Committee

Professor Kit Wise, Dean, School of Art, RMIT University (co-convenor)

Associate Professor Kate Daw, Head, VCA Art, Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Art and Music, The University of Melbourne  (co-convenor)

Dr David Sequeira, Director, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne

Dr Danny Butt, Associate Director (Research), Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, The University of Melbourne

Associate Professor Shane Hulbert, Associate Dean Photography, School of Art, RMIT University

Associate Professor Richard Roberts, Performance Design, Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, The University of Melbourne

Dr Neal Haslem, Associate Dean, Communication Design, School of Design, RMIT University

Dr Amy Spiers, 2019 ACUADS Conference Producer, School of Art, RMIT University