Established in 2004, CHASS promotes and provides advocacy services for the humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS) in Australia. Supporting more than 75 member organisations in their relationships with policy makers and the broader community, CHASS is an important network for knowledge and skills, and serves as a coordinating forum for teachers, researchers, professionals, practitioners and policy makers in the sector. It provides a strong voice to the sector and helps members to contribute to public debate through programs for knowledge exchange and media awareness.
Our members engage in research and professional practice in disciplines ranging from education, history, languages and philosophy, to demography, journalism, geography and sociology. Leading universities, discipline associations, peak bodies and collecting institutions are represented in our membership body. The performing and visual arts areas are well represented through art form groups and research and training institutions, as are media arts and design and publishing.
Members are specialists in the knowledge and skills of their disciplines and professions, and are major advocates and networks for their fields. Our membership reflects an emerging focus on trans-disciplinary research and collaboration, with members engaged in new projects tackling the major challenges before Australia in partnership with traditional science areas and industry groups.
The Australasian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres (ACHRC) is a network for groups engaged in Humanities-based research. It aims to connect Humanities researchers and centres, both within the Australasian region and internationally, and to promote relationships with cultural institutions and sector representative bodies in the wider community. It provides a virtual and physical hub for information about research opportunities and events, and seeks to strengthen the public profile of research in the Humanities.
The Australasian Association for Digital Humanities Inc (aaDH) was formed in March 2011 to strengthen the digital humanities research community in Australia and New Zealand and is a member of the international Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations (ADHO). The professional association acts to support and extend links between digital humanities researchers, improve professional development opportunities and provide international leverage for local projects and initiatives. aaDH organises the Digital Humanities Australasia conference every two years and provides a range of other opportunities for fostering understanding of digital technologies in the humanities.
Drawing on the research and expertise of member organisations, CHASS makes policy submissions and recommendations to key inquiries and policy reviews where coordinating policy advice and data creates a stronger evidence base.
CHASS has published papers on policy issues, including the demographic outlook for the academic work force in Australia; arts and innovation; and collaboration with science and technology.
Through its workshops and events, including the annual National Forum and the previously held HASS on the Hill meetings in Canberra, and its newsletters and publications, CHASS works to boost the profile of its members’ research, exhibitions, events and collections. It aims to support researchers, practitioners in HASS disciplines and organisations to contribute to public debate.
In partnership with key member organisations, we are actively involved in discussions and consultations on changes to research policy affecting the HASS sector and are active in facilitating linkages between smaller practitioner organisations and research in universities and collecting institutions.
CHASS is a non-profit association and is overseen by a nine-member Board elected from nominations by member organisations at the Annual General Meeting. Our Board has a mix of academic and industry members who represent a broad spectrum from across the HASS disciplines.
What is HASS?
The humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS) are critically important to Australia. They play a key role in the national innovation system and underpin the development of our society, culture and individual identity. CHASS works towards greater recognition of people, projects and organisations working in the sector and to strengthen their capacity to contribute.
A 2008 report on the sector by the London School of Economics for the British Academy identifies a broad group of academic disciplines dedicated to the study of society, the economy, business, governance, history and culture. Researchers are also identifying the emergence of new disciplines to tackle some of the major challenges facing contemporary society and cross over with the traditional science areas.
A small sample of these disciplines indicates the breadth and importance of the HASS disciplines. In the humanities, these include philosophy languages, literature studies and history, and anthropology. In the social sciences, they include economics, sociology, education, social policy social work and demography. Emerging areas of cross over include law, linguistics and cultural studies and geography, while the creative arts areas cross into design, architecture and landscape architecture.
Together these disciplines drive activity in major organisations and institutions across Australian society, and are major contributors to prosperity and productivity growth. Research, design and development are dependent on their new knowledge. Publishers, and museums and galleries are major organisations using HASS skills and knowledge to reach out to Australian communities, while in our universities and research institutions there is a rich tradition of academic study, which give students and graduates knowledge to take a role as citizens and community members.
Learn more about these disciplines and their impact:
- CHASS occasional papers, which include publications on the arts and Australia’s national innovation system, the role of the social sciences in public policy research and in design and creative practice
- Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia
- London School of Economics 2008 Study for the British Academy on research impact
- The Australian Institute for Social Research at the University of Adelaide’s recent study on Connecting Ideas: Collaborative Innovation for a Complex World, including a list of HASS disciplines.