ACUADS Newsletter (Apr–Oct 2005)

Posted on April 26, 2005

Posted on 26 Apr 2005

The ACUADS Newsletter is an ad hoc publication from the Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools. It aims to communicate information about activities of the Council Executive, research interests and events and activities related to the visual art and design sector.


1. ACUADS Chair’s Report – ACUADS Distinguished Awards – Nominations Invited | Nelson Reforms to Higher Education | Research Quality Framework | ACUADS Australian Supplement | CHASS | HASS on the Hill | Possible Coalition of Peak Bodies | ACUADS Annual Conference, Perth 2005 | ACUADS Executive Meetings & Annual General Meeting
2. ACUADS Executive Meeting 30 Sept 2005 – New Executive | Election of Office Bearers
3. ACUADS Annual General Meeting 29 Sept 2005 – Election of the Executive | Membership Fees 2005–2006 | Future Conferences | Research Quality Framework Preferred Model
4. ACUADS Executive Meeting 28 Sept 2005 – Distinguished Teaching & Research Awards | Research Quality Framework Preferred Model & Measures of Quality & Impact in Publicly funded Research in the Humanities Arts & Social Sciences (CHASS Research paper) | Research in the Creative Arts Report by Dennis Strand, May 1998 | Newsletter | Location of Future Conference | Web Site Update | Peak Art Groups | DASSH Group (Deans of Art, Social Sciences & Humanities) | Australia Council Conference Backing our Creativity | Communication & Promotion | Report from the Treasurer | AGM 29 September 2005
5. ACUADS Executive Meeting 5 August 2005 – CHASS | HASS on the Hill | NAVA | ACUADS Communication Strategy | The Australian Supplement | New Executive Officer | Graduates Research | Membership Fees | Peak Art Bodies | Fellowship, Teaching & Research Awards 2005 | Perth Conference 2005 Update | Quality Assurance Project | Visual Arts Funding | Visiting Artists | Drawing Conference | Report from the Treasurer
6. ACUADS Executive Meeting 26 April 2005 – Rhapsody 21C | VCA Graduate Destination Survey | Research Quality Framework | ACUADS Web Site | Newsletter | The Australian Newspaper Supplement | Annual Conferences | Teaching, Research and Fellowship Awards

1. ACUADS Chair’s Report

Chair’s Report
Su Baker, Head, School of Art, Victorian College of the Arts

Welcome to the last ACUADS Newsletter of 2005. There has been a delay in its publication due to an overhaul of the web site and the advent of the very successful annual conference in Perth . Please check the web site – – for the conference abstracts with full papers to be posted shortly.

We have considered it useful to consolidate the business of the year into this one distribution and intend to resume regular reporting next year. We have also hoped more attention to the web site will keep members up to date throughout the year. If you have items of interest and notices for distribution throughout the year please forward to

ACUADS Distinguished Awards – Nominations Invited
The ACUADS Council offers three awards to honour outstanding contributions to the art and design disciplines. The Fellowship Award, the highest honour, recognises a distinguished career in fostering the development and management of a School of Art and Design. The ACUADS Distinguished Teaching and Research Awards recognise a distinguished career in teaching and research respectively.

Nominations are now invited with applications closing 30 June 2006. The application process is outlined in detail on our web site under Awards.

Nelson Reforms to Higher Education
The year of 2005 was the first year of the implementation of the new HESA Act, known more commonly known as the Nelson Reforms. These new legislative conditions have presented a magnitude of change for the Higher Education sector, the impact of which we are only just beginning to feel, and includes the inherent contradiction of the apparent deregulation to a user-pays system and an unprecedented framework of government intervention in reporting and ministerial discretion.

These factors are going to affect all of us in possibly different ways, but this is undoubtedly a new era of Higher Education policy and a new economy for universities and by extension the schools of art and design as represented by ACUADS. So what is new, I hear you say! Yes, the last 15 years have been a roller coaster ride indeed.

Research Quality Framework
The two significant issues that will impact on us will no doubt be the focus on the review of research funding being undertaken through the Research Quality Framework and a renewed focus on quality of teaching and that funding implications may be linked to high quality outcomes. It can be assumed that both these exercises will impact on the operations of art and design schools around the country and so there is an opportunity, and perhaps an imperative, at this moment to collectively reinforce the strengths of our discipline and identify points for improvement and reinforcement.

The Annual Conference in Perth Artists, Designers and Creative Communities built on this common purpose and led to stronger bonds that will assist in managing this changing environment. The theme for this moment may well be co-operation and that we will need to balance the economic demands which may require competition with the strategic sectoral needs that will undoubtedly require co-operation.

ACUADS Australian Supplement
In the recent ACUADS Australian Supplement published on 17 August we said:

“Art and design schools have a role in generating cultural, intellectual, and creative capital in the broadest sense of the term. In a pluralist culture such as this global world there is increasing circulation of artistic forms and ideas and much of the dynamism in contemporary art and design can be seen through this exchange between and within art or design works, like one big cultural think tank. A good art and design school creates a milieu, an incubator atmosphere, a critical context, and should be an occasion of opportunity for students through their studio-based study to produce new work. Similarly, for the academics who teach them through both teaching, professional practice and research. In many cases this collective activity can produce a new conceptual marketplace, with new desires to be fulfilled. An art and design school campus is a place to go and to mix it with other creative people, to learn, produce, reflect and as a launching pad for cultural experiments.”

This ACUADS Australian Supplement to which many members contributed is another successful instrument to promote the strength of the art and design sector and this year it came out on the week of the HASS on the Hill (see below), much to the admiration of our colleagues in the other peak bodies, in particular NACTMUS. The Executive want to thank all of those institutions that participated and hope that it was also of assistance to others who weren’t able to do so this year.

With the creativity and innovation agenda hotting up in this country it seems we are well placed to contribute in a major way. Many of us might feel that we have been fighting a rearguard action, or from a defensive position. We might now need to adopt the hutzpah, the flare, that is expected of us as artists and designers and cultural producers of all kinds and to start to help define what a creative economy looks like and how you make one!

Of particular significance over the past 12-18 months has been the establishment of the Council of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, CHASS. See

CHASS has a brief to represent the interests of the sector to government and to key stakeholders. The web site is very clear and informative and now has a number of important documents available that will provide a focus for further collective actions. For example, as a member of CHASS, ACUADS contributed to a number of the submissions including one on the RQF, and the ‘PMSEIC Working Group on “The Role of Creativity in the Innovation Economy” A submission from the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS)’.

Note: See our web site for ACUADS contributions and the CHASS site for the final reports.

HASS on the Hill
HASS on the Hill (Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Parliament House – see was an occasion to have a conversation with our colleagues in NACTMUS and CHAUTSI and to propose that we establish a focal point for future discussion between the peak bodies of the visual and performing arts. Increasingly the language of the system, in particular through the DEST funding bands, and possibly the future RQF, the “visual and performing arts”, or “creative arts” are identified as having common teaching and research concerns. It was thought important that we form ways of working together when these matters demand the weight of numbers.

Possible Coalition of Peak Bodies
On 10 and 11 October meetings were held at the VCA in Melbourne with a combined group of Peak Bodies coordinated through CHASS. It was of great interest to see the diversity and depth of representation of interest in the sector and it was agreed to work together, possibly through the common vehicle of CHASS. It was agreed that there will be a meeting in Adelaide on 3rd March to further the discussion about a series of common goals, and for a strategy to advance common interests.

It is proposed that next year at the annual conference in Melbourne we hold a special pre-conference event that brings the tertiary education groups together. While these connections are very usefully provided by CHASS, it was thought that to strengthen the “A” of CHASS could only be a good thing.

Annual Conference, Perth 2005
In addition to the advocacy work for the benefit of the sector the ACUADS 2005 annual conference was an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the work being undertaken, as seen through the papers presented which aim to interrogate our own structures and systems, and to share best practice and horror stories. We mustn’t underestimate the value of ‘venting’! Themes emerged and by the end of the three days there emerged a sense of where the strengths are, what we need to do to build our capability in areas of deficiency and to take that back to our home institutions with a renewed sense of unity and purpose.

There were opportunities to talk and meet and at the conference dinner we announced this year’s Distinguished Teaching and Research awards, paying tribute to those who have made significant contributions to our profession. (See ACUADS web site under ‘Awards’ for details.)

We began with the pressing topic of current and urgent matters to do with research and the government’s plan to introduce a Research Quality Assessment process. We need, as a sector, to make a particular effort to build on the work of ten years ago where we identified our approach to measuring, evaluating research in the creative arts. The 1996 Strand report as it was known set out the framework for finding measures of excellence in the work of academics in the creative arts disciplines which we are now required to revisit, and advance as an appropriate method of assessing the quality of our work. The time has come to look at what we do and to value it in its own right and not to try to match the apparent logic of what is perceived to be a more objective model.

By the end of the conference we had written and had membership endorsement to submit an ACUADS response to the RQF enquiry and this can now be found on the web site under ‘Research’.

The 2005 AGM was conducted during the Conference. The Executive election was held and there were a number of retirements, thanks were given to those departing and the new Executive was elected. It was confirmed that the annual conference for 2006 will be held in Melbourne and the following year in Sydney. There was also important discussion about the potential of affiliation relationship with our colleagues in New Zealand. This is being pursued. The next meeting of the Executive will be held in December in Melbourne.

The 2005 conference proceedings will be published on-line before the end of the year and be available as a printed PDF booklet as well.

ACUADS Executive Meetings & Annual General Meeting
ACUADS holds four Executive meetings and an Annual General Meeting each year. Following is a summary of the topics discussed at those Executive meetings and the Annual General Meeting since the previous newsletter: 30 September, 28 September, 5 August, 26 April 2005, together with the Annual General Meeting of 29 September 2005. The meetings are listed in reverse chronological order.

2. ACUADS Executive Meeting 30 September 2005

The ACUADS Executive meeting held at Curtin University of Technology, Perth on 30 September considered the following agenda items:

Welcome & New Executive
Outgoing Chair, Su Baker, declared the meeting open and welcomed all present. She congratulated the newly elected members following the AGM held the previous day, and noted the make-up of the new Executive as follows:

  • Su Baker, VCA; David Williams, ANU; and Domenico DeClario, ECU (to retire September 2006)
  • Noel Frankham, Utas; Kay Lawrence, UniSA; Robyn Stewart, USQ; Bernard Hoffert, Monash (to retire September 2007)

The Committee noted that this configuration comprising seven elected members embraces different states and may therefore allow for the co-option of another colleague from New South Wales and/or covering the area of design.

Election of Office Bearers
All positions were declared vacant and the following were elected:

  • Su Baker, Chair
  • Noel Frankham, Deputy Chair
  • Kay Lawrence, Secretary
  • David Williams, Treasurer and Public Officer.

3. ACUADS Annual General Meeting 29 September 2005

The Annual General Meeting held at School of Contemporary Art, Edith Cowan University, Perth on 29 September 2005 considered the following agenda items:

Election of the Executive
The Chair noted that six nominations had been received for the four vacancies on the ACUADS Executive Committee. This being the case, an election was held and the following were duly elected:

  • Noel Frankham, University of Tasmania, Hobart
  • Bernard Hoffert, Monash University, Victoria
  • Kay Lawrence, University of South Australia
  • Robyn Stewart, University of Southern Queensland

The newly elected members will join the continuing members due to retire at the next AGM:

  • Su Baker, Victorian College of the Arts
  • Domenico de Clario, ECU School of Contemporary Art, WA
  • David Williams, School of Art, ANU

Membership Fees 2005–2006
The Treasurer asked the meeting to endorse a 5% increase in membership fees in line with the policy adopted at the 2004 Conference that subscriptions should be indexed annually. The meeting adopted the following fee schedule for 2005/2006 (GST included) as follows:

Under 250 EFTSU – $654.50 ($630 – 2005) Under 1000 EFTSU – $927.30 ($892.50 – 2005) Over 1000 EFTSU – $1091.20 ($1050 – 2005)

Future Conferences
The Chair invited discussion on the location of the 2007 Conference. The meeting endorsed the Executive recommendation that the 2007 Conference be held in Sydney.

The meeting also agreed to address the issue of the type of relationship Australia may wish to establish with New Zealand and to report to the next Executive scheduled for 12 December 2005.

Research Quality Framework Preferred Model
The Chair tabled a draft paper prepared by a Conference Working Party for discussion. The meeting endorsed the tabled paper, including the various proposed amendments and noted that the amended paper would now be forwarded to CHASS as ACUADS’ formal response.

4. ACUADS Executive Meeting 28 September 2005

The ACUADS Executive meeting held at Central TAFE, Perth on 28 September considered the following agenda items:

Distinguished Teaching & Research Awards
The meeting noted the certificate, on ACUADS letterhead, confirms the type of award, place and date with the citation signed by the Chair and Deputy Chair.

The awards are to be presented at the Conference Official Dinner and the five recipients to receive a commemorative silver pin.

The meeting discussed the policy and process issues of the Awards and agreed as ACUADS is identified through the awards, the process should be further articulated and the net cast widely to obtain recommendations. It was agreed that the closing date should be 30 June rather than the current policy of 31 July and that the Executive reserves the right to make decisions re late submissions. It was also agreed to instigate a system of reminders and prompts to ensure all Heads of School had time to consider their nominations.

Research Quality Framework Preferred Model & Measures of Quality & Impact in Publicly funded Research in the Humanities Arts & Social Sciences (CHASS Research paper) Professor Baker spoke to the Conference topic of the Research Quality Framework Preferred Model and how best to program discussion to allow the opportunity for wide-ranging input from conferees which would lead to a draft response which could be considered and possibly ratified at the AGM given that the deadline for response was Tuesday 4 October 2005.

Professor Williams noted that there were four important points identified by CHASS Director, Toss Gascoigne, in his earlier discussions with Nigel Lendon and that this may be a useful framework noting that the core business of the visual arts and design sector is studio practice:

Encourage as many individuals, schools and institutions as possible to submit comments as a high response rate is regarded as important. Outputs relevant to visual arts and design are important to the discipline and ACUADS should articulate these as a contrast to the convention of papers and citations. Both should be included. ACUADS should support and encourage collaborative research efforts noting this is a strategy widely recognised and in art and design it really needs greater focus. Future impact is a key measure for art and design. ACUADS should give examples of such things as community involvement, audience attendance (at exhibitions, performances, etc.), an engagement in issues concerning peoples’ lives and the value of this strategy, e.g. the visualisation of environmental issues and if an economic argument is needed, the benefits of cultural tourism and art events, etc. could be considered.

Research in the Creative Arts Report by Dennis Strand, May 1998
Professor Williams noted that this study was published nearly ten years ago and it was suggested that a submission be made to fund a revised version. The meeting agreed.

The Chair, Professor Baker, advised the meeting that the newsletter needs to meet two criteria: be seen to be proactive and, at the same time, convey a sense of returning value for the membership. She proposed an e-mail copy to Members every three months as well as publishing it on the web site. The form to include a Chair’s Report, summary of Executive discussions plus information on recent events, and CHASS reports with links provided.

Location of Future Conference
Professor Baker asked the meeting to consider the location of the 2007 Conference which it was agreed should be held in Sydney and that this proposal be recommended to the AGM, 29 September.

Web Site Update
The Chair reported that the IT Consultant, Kirsten Muir, had now fully upgraded the site with a graphic design to include newsletters, membership lists and conference papers from 2003 and 2004. The meeting welcomed the added feature of a suggestion mechanism for user feedback.

Peak Art Groups
The Chair reported that building on earlier discussions at previous Executive meetings, she and David Williams, representing ACUADS, would be attending a meeting of Peak Art Bodies, organised by CHASS at the Victorian College Arts on 10-11 October 2005.

DASSH Group (Deans of Art, Social Sciences & Humanities)
Professor Williams raised for discussion a proposal that DASSH and ACUADS work together to apply for funding to conduct a research project. The Executive agreed to further investigate the matter.

Australia Council Conference Backing our Creativity
The Chair reported that she had attended this conference at which Sir Ken Robinson (UK) was the Keynote Speaker, noting that he is a major leader in the UK promoting creativity in education. The Australia Council drafted a paper on art education comprising four key statements. The Executive agreed that the Chair should write to the Australia Council endorsing these four principles and acknowledging the valuable work done and its impact on the tertiary education sector.

Communication & Promotion
The Chair tabled for information the full page ad for ACUADS in the Art & Design Education Resource Guide 2006, which fulfills the agreed policy of promoting ACUADS through key publications to assist in raising the profile and this in turn assists Heads of School in promoting their own disciplines.

Report from the Treasurer
The Treasurer, Professor Williams, referred the Executive to the various financial reports presented to the meeting which required their formal approval so that the official end of year audited papers may be presented the following day to the AGM for ratification. A formal motion was duly moved and carried.

AGM 29 September 2005
The meeting moved a vote of thanks to those members retiring at this AGM while noting that three of the four would be re-nominating:

  • Jan Davis (retiring)
  • Noel Frankham (re-nominating)
  • Bernard Hoffert (re-nomninating)
  • Kay Lawrence (re-nominating)

5. ACUADS Executive Meeting 5 August 2005

The ACUADS Executive meeting held at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), Melbourne on 5 August considered the following agenda items:

Professor Baker advised that the CHASS (Council for the Humanities, the Arts and Social Sciences) web site provides regular updates on activities and that she and Professor Williams will be attending the CHASS AGM and Conference in Canberra on 16 August 2005.

The Chair reported that she has prepared a submission in response to a request from CHASS which is consolidating a submission for PMSEIC (Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council).

HASS on the Hill (Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Parliament House)
The Chair advised that she and Professor Williams will be attending this conference (see Chair’s Report above).

Professor Baker reported that she is now on the board of NAVA and this relationship provides synergies for ACUADS.

ACUADS Communication Strategy
Professor Baker reported that the following name has been registered. It was agreed that, given the national nature of ACUADS with the office moving with change of the Chair position, it is more appropriate that the web site be an independent site. It was also agreed that the site should have appropriate links to member institutions. The meeting approved expenditure to establish the web site and ongoing support and maintenance of the web site.

The Australian Supplement
Professor Baker reported that the Supplement due out on 10 August will be bigger than last year’s including a leading article, and that ACUADS had purchased the front cover banner. The meeting agreed it is important to promote ACUADS and that ACUADS should be involved in other key publications also to assist in raising the profile which in turn assists Heads of School in promoting their own disciplines.

New Executive Officer
Kay Morrissey will take up the EO role from 5 September 2005.

Graduates Research
VCA is developing a questionnaire, with assistance from a researcher, that will assist in better measuring outcomes and aspirations for Visual and Performing Arts graduates. The research will be piloted later in the year by contacting all 2004 VCA graduates. The resultant report will be used to develop a funding proposal for a larger national study.

Membership Fees
Last year’s Minutes recommended a future policy of an annual indexed increase in fees. The meeting therefore agreed to recommend to the September AGM that the fees for 2006 be increased by 5%.

Peak Art Bodies
A coalition of peak art groups has existed in the past and the meeting agreed it may be timely to reactivate a “Coalition of the Creative Arts” prior to the ACUADS 2006 conference. Such a group would need to have a very focussed and strategic agenda to explore political synergies and common issues (e.g. research, graduate outcomes, etc.). This group would be complementary to ACUADS and have the specific purpose of creating a larger critical mass through the formation of strategic alliances.

Fellowship, Teaching & Research Awards 2005
The Executive, noting that there were no nominations for the Fellowship Award this year, were pleased to support two Teaching and three Research nominations:

  • Robert Baines (Distinguished Research Award 2005) Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
  • Clive Barstow (Distinguished Teaching Award) Edith Cown University, Perth
  • Jonathan Holmes (Distinguished Research Award) University of Tasmania
  • Fred Littlejohn (Distinguished Teaching Award) University of South Australia
  • Diana Wood-Conroy (Distinguished Research Award) University of Wollongong Perth Conference 2005 Update

Professor De Clario reported on the Perth Conference noting that regular meetings are taking place between his university, Edith Cowan and the other co-hosting institutions: Curtain University of Technology, Central TAFE and the University of Western Australia. He noted that a $5,000 grant has been received from his Faculty to assist with costs and that administrative support is being received from the Office of the Dean.

The meeting affirmed a previously agreed policy that the hosting institution is responsible for any liabilities associated with a conference and they receive the credit in acting as a co-host with ACUADS. It was agreed to develop templates for organising future conferences with a possible refereeing policy being adopted of “blind” or double “blind” and that these generic documents be available on the web site.

Quality Assurance Project
Professor Hoffert reported on a proposal that the PRATO Centre at Monash be involved in a project comparing Quality Assurance issues (measuring processes) of European and Australian Art education. It was agreed that ACUADS be involved in the project which commences in April 2006 and will be conducted over approximately two years.

It was agreed that ACUADS continue to develop its relationships with relevant international organizations. It was noted that links with Asian institutions in particular need to be developed.

Visual Arts Funding
Professor Williams raised for discussion current consolidated information on funding levels per student. Professor Frankham noted that the issues of nomenclature of programs and workload definitions across the various state tertiary institutuions also needed clarification.

Visiting Artists
Professor Lawrence advised that Janice Jeffries will be visiting Australia in March/April 2006. It was agreed that information regarding significant visiting artists should be publicised among members.

Drawing Conference
Professor Hoffert requested ACUADS funding support for a drawing conference to be held in Melbourne, September 2005. The usual sum of $500 was agreed in line with ACUADS promotion policy and the meeting noted that acknowledgement of ACUADS contribution will appear on the printed material.

Report from the Treasurer
Professor Williams tabled a financial report as at 2 August 2005 and the meeting noted the healthy situation of the group’s reserve. Subscriptions are the highest they have been (around 35 members). It was noted that there are also more members from the TAFE sector.

6. ACUADS Executive Meeting 26 April 2005

The ACUADS executive meeting held at the University of South Australia on 26 April considered the following agenda items:

Rhapsody 21C
The seminar is to be held at the University of Tasmania, Launceston Campus on 26 May 2005. ACUADS provided financial support in line with their promotion policy.

VCA Graduate Destination Survey
The Executive considered the proposal that the graduate outcomes pilot survey should utilise ACUADS resources and alumni contacts. A sample survey was distributed for comment pending a decision.

Research Quality Framework
A draft document which responds to DEST’s proposed RQF was distributed for comment noting that CHASS (Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences) was also preparing a response. The Committee unanimously supported the RQF document which will be submitted 2 May 2005 including any additional comments from the Executive.

The Chair reported that management of the web site was in the process of being moved to the Victorian College of the Arts and that the URL had been purchased. The Executive moved a vote of thanks to Dr. Andrew Speirs of Sydney College of the Arts for his contribution in maintaining the web site over the past few years.

The Executive agreed that a simple bulletin page would be established on the web site with appropriate links including to The Australian newspaper supplement which is to publish an article on ACUADS.

The Australian Newspaper Supplement
The Executive agreed to proceed with this year’s supplement as it is seen as a positive tool to promote research activities and the forthcoming Perth Conference, September 2005. It was agreed that the Chair in her article should focus on research degrees in the creative arts and the Research Quality Framework.

Annual Conferences
Professor David Williams reported that the 2004 Canberra Conference budget position was neutral.

Professor De Clario, Edith Cowan University, advised that preparations were well in hand for the September 2005 conference in Perth.

Teaching, Research and Fellowship Awards
It was agreed that full completion of applications needs to be part of the criteria and an application form on the web site should be considered.