CHASS Newsletter #17


In this issue:

  1. “To hell with culture”
  2. Productivity Commission inquiry on science and innovation
  3. Letter on knowledge transfer from Minister Bishop
  4. ALP Arts policy options paper
  5. ALP White paper on higher education, research and innovation
  6. Next Parliamentary dinner
  7. Defining ‘quality’ in social policy research
  8. CHASS AGM will be at University of Sydney
  9. The RQF, impact and the visual and performing arts
  10. CHASS newsletter cracks the thousand barrier

1. “To hell with culture”

John Holden and Stuart Cunningham go head-to-head on culture.

Holden: “But by talking in functional terms about the value of culture, cultural organisations have lost the ability to describe their real purpose – producing good work that enriches people’s lives. Culture now delivers government policy by other means.”

Cunningham: “If we stop seeing creativity as a burden on the public purse and begin to see it as leading the innovation in post-industrial growth, we could move government focus from cultural to R&D policies, and build a creative economy that is more independent, self sustainable and profitably our own.”

Gideon Haigh and Emma Dawson commentate.

Haigh: “This story [on ARC grants] reverberates beyond the groves of academe, which have in any case been clear-felled: it evinces how Australia’s arena of ideas is influenced by the power of media and the predispositions of politicians, and how resistance to an abiding Australian anti-intellectualism is buckling in the face of the new populism.”

Dawson: “Australia can ill afford this kind of intellectual segregation: while conservatives lament that our universities are held captive by left-wing thought, progressives should also be distressed by their inability to penetrate the public sphere and to counter the often destructive and ill-informed statements of commentators whose pronouncements could easily be destroyed by a well-researched and clearly written argument.”

“To Hell with Culture” a no-holds-barred afternoon seminar in Melbourne on Thursday 10 August. Victoria College of the Arts; 3 pm to 6.30; no-cost drinks and book launch option at 6.30 pm. Registration is $55.

2. Productivity Commission inquiry on science and innovation

The Commission is looking at the impacts of Government support, as well as impediments and processes, and CHASS put in a submission.

It is sharply critical of what we see as “an outdated view of innovation.”

“We would argue that the humanities, arts and social sciences are highly relevant to innovation. The HASS sector contributes in a number of ways: not just as a supporting act to science; but also as an equal partner with science, technology, engineering and medicine in collaborative projects; and in the new post smoke-stack era of industry, as innovators in their own right.

“A study aiming to “cover all key elements in the innovation system” should explicitly recognise the HASS contribution.”

3. Letter on knowledge transfer from Minister Bishop
The Minister has provided a detailed reply to Malcolm Gillies’ letter, and has asked her Department to discuss with CHASS. Her letter reads in part:

“… it is my view that any additional funding for knowledge transfer should be focussed on universities engaging with business, government or the community to generate, acquire, apply and make accessible knowledge. Such activity should result in economic benefit for the community and the nation.

“It is also my view that in the current environment any consideration of knowledge transfer should focus on the application and impact of research rather than on the teaching role of universities.”

4. ALP Arts policy options paper

“This discussion paper [PDF] [PDF] signals Labor’s intention to develop measures which would help to support a vibrant and diverse arts sector. Additionally the paper identifies areas of critical importance, including arts education, Indigenous art and creative industries…” (Peter Garrett)

Comments by August 25 to andrew.palfreyman@aph.gov.au

5. ALP White paper on higher education, research and innovation

This paper sets out the broad directions for higher education policy under a Labor Government. Labor is committed to a substantial increase in public funding for higher education. This paper sets out the key priority areas where Labor believes increased funding is required, and invites comment on how those priorities in turn should be ordered.” (Jenny Macklin)

Comments, responses by 19 September 2006: jmacklin.mp@aph.gov.au

6. Next Parliamentary dinner

CHASS organises regular dinners with federal Parliamentarians.

The next speaker is is Professor Rikki Kersten, new Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific at ANU. She has just returned from 5 years as Professor of Modern Japan Studies at the University of Leiden; and her topic is “Australia’s Asian edge: the view from Europe”.

7. Defining ‘quality’ in social policy research

Michael Darcy has drawn our attention to a new 20 pp report: “Defining ‘Quality’ in Social
Policy Research
“, by Saul Becker, Alan Bryman and Joe Sempik. Darcy says:

“The report on quality assessment of Social Policy research is based on responses of 250 academics and research end-users. It has some fascinating and highly relevant comments to offer about the role of social policy research, alternative criteria for assessment, and ‘userinvolvement’ in research (read ‘engagement’?). An extremely useful contribution to debates we are about to have in Australia.”

8. CHASS AGM will be at University of Sydney

Our AGM will be held at 4 pm on Tuesday 19 September. We expect to launch the report on Collaborations between the humanities, arts and social sciences, and science-technologyengineering- medicine.

According to CHASS practice, a search committee will recommend to the AGM a slate of candidates for election to the Board. This does not preclude any Member nominating other candidates at the AGM itself.

9. The RQF, impact and the visual and performing arts

David Williams (ACUADS, ANU Arts School) is working on a CHASS workshop in Melbourne on Tuesday September 26, at the Victoria College of the Arts. It aims to strengthen the network of university-based peak bodies whose constituents are the major providers of these courses.

More details on the program and registration soon. It will provide a forum for an update on developments and discussion about issues of defining research, research outcomes and the measurement of impact in the visual and performing arts as it relates to the RQF.

10. CHASS newsletter cracks the thousand barrier

We now have over 1000 subscribers to our newsletter! It’s a significant strengthening of the HASS community, which in turn helps us provide the best and most current advice to Government. Please feel free to invite your colleagues to subscribe.

Regards
Malcolm Gillies
1 August 2006

For more information, please contact:
Toss Gascoigne
Executive Director
Council of the Humanties, Arts and Social Sciences
Phone: +61 2 6249 1995
director@chass.org.au