CHASS Newsletter #22

In this issue:

  1. “Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences on the Hill”
  2. HOTH now a “Members-only” event
  3. Why people like HOTH
  4. Productivity Commission report into science and research
  5. Review of RFCD and SEO codes
  6. Directors’ meeting for July
  7. Collaboration report: HASS meets science
  8. Panel 13 Workshop: The arts, architecture and design
  9. CHASS staff
  10. Advertising HASS events

1. “Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences on the Hill”

The HOTH event will be held on Tuesday-Wednesday June 19-20.

Registration will open in 4 weeks.

The event will provide an opportunity for people working in the humanities, arts and social sciences to come to Canberra to discuss their work with Members of Parliament.

Our plans include a briefing day at the National Museum of Australia, breakfast with Minister Julie Bishop, a dinner for registrants and sponsoring groups at the Ottoman or Lobby Restaurants, an opportunity to hear Shadow Minister for Education Stephen Smith, as well as one-on-one meetings with individual Parliamentarians.

A planned highlight is an address to the National Press Club by Professor Greg Craven, to be broadcast live by ABC TV.

Watch our web site for progressive updates.

2. HOTH now a “Members-only” event

All participants will need to be affiliated with one of our Member Organisations, or nominated by a sponsor.

At its last meeting, the Board decided that participation in HOTH is a benefit of membership of CHASS. A list of financial Member Organisations is listed on our web site.

3. Why people like HOTH

“The chance to talk at length with a Liberal Senator about the impediments to adequate funding for research was extremely useful. He was sympathetic and made some suggestions on the strategy to win over members of the Liberal party in any CHASS campaign.”

“It was great to get an idea of the varying personalities and styles of politicians and what they expect. This part encouraged me to think about how I could make my research more relative to the public arena generally.”

“The training afternoon was excellent and well and truly surpassed my expectations.

“The social function on Tuesday night – great venue, great company, great food and vino!!!”

“It was terrific listening to people talk about their work contexts and research: their dedication and enthusiasm affirmed my own beliefs in the value of what we do as HASS practitioners.”

“Well organised, cram packed with stimulation.”

4. Productivity Commission report into science and research

The Commission has just released its report “Public Support for Science and Innovation”, and offers a new opening for the HASS sector.

It moved away from the definition of innovation couched in narrow commercial terms, and this has significant positive implications for our sector.:

“Governments need to invest in research to improve the products and services they offer or to better discharge their functions, just as does the private sector. For example, expenditure on research and innovation is pivotal to effective environmental management, the provision of education, defence, and social welfare and health services.” (Summary document, p. XVIII)

CHASS made a strong case for the value of HASS work in two submissions: initially when the report was being drafted, and later in response to the draft report. The PC has accepted at least some of our arguments:

“The Commission shares the view put by CHASS that research in [the creative arts, humanities and social sciences] is critical to innovation. It plays an important role in many government activities and in those instances it is routinely funded by government.

“It is also increasingly important in business as the service sector expands and as less technological activities play a larger role in innovation generally (such as business activities that require understanding of complex human behaviours – marketing, business re-organisation, and human resource management).” Page 389

Track this process, download the report and search it for CHASS.

, download the report and search it for CHASS.

5. Review of RFCD and SEO codes

DEST asked the Australian Bureau of Statistics to review the codes, and a revised version will be released in March 2008.

CHASS recently distributed an ABS questionnaire seeking suggestions from the HASS community.

The ABS is now looking for volunteers to assist in the development of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification:

“Expert volunteers will be assigned a section of the preliminary classification, based on the Australian Standard Research Classification 1998, related to their speciality and will be asked to examine the existing codes for adequacy and suggest new codes to capture existing and future research areas which are not covered.”

The ABS also needs experts to revise the SEO component for the ‘Social development and community services’ division:

“The SEO for Social development and community services includes a wide range of fields such as arts, religion, justice and law, politics, language and communication, employment, community services etc (please refer to Pages 91-92 of the ASRC.”

Responses and queries should be addressed to (david.brett [at] or Jay Ramasamy (jay.ramasamy [at] by Thursday, 5th April 2007.

6. Directors’ meeting for July

The next CHASS workshop for the directors of university-based centres of research and education will be held at RMIT on Thursday-Friday July 12-13.

CHASS will again invite all DVCs to nominate the most “innovative and network-minded” directors from their universities for the event.

We will shortly be asking those who attended the last workshop (at UTS) to comment on a draft program for the 2007 event, to ensure the discussions are targeted at the needs of Centre Directors.

7. Collaboration report: HASS meets science

President Stuart Cunningham and Board Member Sharon Bell have met with funding bodies, research organisations and peak councils, to discuss the CHASS report “Collaborating across the sectors” .

The recommendations needed to be aired, to see which ones these bodies are most likely to support. The process continues

Minister Julie Bishop is expected respond formally to the report in mid-year. DEST is currently working on a brief for her consideration.

8. Panel 13 Workshop: The arts, architecture and design

The workshop looked at three aspects of the RQF: Research outputs, Context statements and Indicators. How will the diverse range of disciplines grouped in Panel 13 deal with each of these?

The workshop attracted 150 registrants, and they gave the event an average rating of 8.5 out of 10:

“That 200 like-minded researchers came together to talk, and that more or less we were on the same track. This was in marked contrast to what occurs within one’s university where we are a small voice in a huge arena.”

“It was a bit frenetic, but, given the time constraints, I thought the organisers did a marvellous job of fitting in so much.”

“The collegial atmosphere, remarkably free of turf-battles, within which the discussions took place.”

The CHASS Board is contemplating organising a similar workshop to allow researchers in the applied social sciences to discuss how they will deal with the RQF.

9. CHASS staff

There have been staff changes in the CHASS office. Supporting Toss Gascoigne as Executive Director are:

Mel Lamprecht is Events and Office Manager (3 days a week)
Paula Mills is Finance Officer (one day a week)
Gemma Black starts this week as Membership Officer (3 days a week)

They can be contacted by email: (except for Toss, who remains director@chass )

And our phone lines have (almost!) been restored, six weeks after the building was struck by lightning in the Canberra storms. Our apologies for any inconvenience.

10. Advertising HASS events

Our office is frequently asked to publicise seminars, conferences and events on behalf of our Members.

Unfortunately we have to decline, on the grounds that CHASS has a specific policy mandate. Our message could be diluted if we publicised events, no matter how worthwhile. Then there is the issue of email fatigue.

The good news is that our new web site will have a place for advertising seminars, conferences and events run by our Members. The changes will be in place by mid-year.

Stuart Cunningham
2 April 2007

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