CHASS Newsletter #34

Register now …

Registrations for HASS on the Hill (October 27 and 28) are rolling in. This exciting two day program is the highlight of our annual calendar and offers the opportunity of engagement and discussions on current issues in the humanities, arts and social sciences. A feature of the event is meetings with MPs, designed to emphasise the value of HASS knowledge and research in meeting the policy challenges before Australia.

We encourage member organisations toregister their nominated delegates attending HASS on the Hill. CHASS is seeking a mix of early career and senior researchers, and arts practitioners and professionals. We want those contibuting to a rich debate in Australian culture, and those at the forefront of the transfer of knowledge from research centres and universities to policy makers and institutions. With significant policy changes underway in both the arts and innovation portfolios, it is important and valuable for arts organisations and industry groups to be strongly represented.

The full (and still developing) program is on the CHASS website and shows the depth and range of discussions which will take place at Parliament House – not least the inclusion of two knowledge transfer roundtables on areas undergoing policy reform.

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage, Water and the Arts, The Hon Peter Garrett AM, will present, An Australian Cultural Policy to 2020, at the National Press Club Luncheon address on 27th October. The address will outline the work and progress in developing a new cultural policy for Australia.

Knowledge transfer is an important part of the Council’s commitment in building recognition of HASS, and it was immensely heartening to see renewed recognition of its value in an important speech by the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister last week announced a new reform program for the Australian Public Service, and said it needed to build relationships with experts across the Australian communities – and particularly it needed to draw on the knowledge and skills in Australian universities.

<Excellence in Research Australia – update

The Australian Research Council this week released a consultation paper on the Excellence in Research Australia initiative. The paper lists the various indicators to be used in evaluating specific disciplines in 2010, including lists of the esteem factors which will be used in addition to the indicators, by the Expert evaluation committees.

CHASS urges member organisations in research areas to look at the paper. A summary of the paper will be on our website next week and CHASS is preparing responses for the ARC – if you have feedback please contact the Council and/or send us your own submission. There is only a short period for comment ( to September 25) for an important project and there is still some major discussions to have in the social sciences area.

The Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Carr, says the ERA will be a transformative project for researchers, universities and their partners in industry and Government.

We look forward to what promises to be an exciting period of policy development.

Helen O’Neil
Executive Director
Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
10 September 2009

2009 HASS on the Hill sponsors

  • University of Technology, Sydney
  • Australia Council for the Arts
  • Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Innovative Research Universities Australia
  • The Australian National University
  • Group of Eight
  • National Teritiary Education Union
  • National Library of Australia

“… We are proud to support 2009 HASS on the Hill because we believe that it is important that researchers have the opportunity to speak directly with those who make the decisions – the politicians. Because we value our networks, see community engagement as vital and work collaboratively whenever possible we support any opportunity where our staff can be meet researchers from other institutions and share ideas.”
br>University of Technology, Sydney

Read more in:   Sponsors views

Annual General Meeting

Another good reason to attend HASS on the Hill will be to participate in the 2009 CHASS Annual General Meeting. It will he held at the end of the first day of discussions. The Board is recommending some changes to the constitution to make governance of the Council more open, and to strengthen the Board membership and processes. The amendments will be considered at the AGM and formally sent to all members with the Notice of Meeting. There will also be a number of vacancies on the board – an opportunity to contribute to building recognition of the humanities, arts and social sciences.

HASS on the Hill at a glance
HASS on the Hill roundtable meetings

Social inclusion in education

This round table will be Chaired by Professor Ross Homel AO an executive member of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia with Professor Trevor Gale of the University of South Australia’s Student Equity in Higher Education Centre at the Hawke Research Institute. The Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion, Senator Ursula Stephens will take part in the discussions. The government has set ambitious targets for boosting numbers in higher education – how will we encourage and equip young Australians to aspire to higher education?
Languages and cultural awareness

This roundtable is dealing with one of the more controversial debates in the humanities. It will be Chaired by Professor Joseph Lo Bianco, an executive committee member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Should we learn Asian languages as a tool to greater diplomatic and economic integration? Can we make language learning an important part of young Australians’ exploration and enjoyment of cultures from across the globe? And what are we doing to make Indigenous language a rich part of Australian life?

Strategic Plan

The CHASS Board met last month to finalise the Council’s three year Strategic Plan, confirming programs to advance our three key priority areas – promotion, advocacy and providing a coordinating forum for practitioners and professionals, artists and business, academic researchers and sector leaders in HASS. The new Plan sets an ambitious schedule around a core vision to help the humanities, arts and social sciences contribute fully to a prosperous, innovative

The Strategic Plan 2009-2012 is available on the CHASS website and the Board looks forward to discussing the plan with members at HASS on the Hill. In the meantime, Council welcomes member organisation’s suggestions and comments which can be sent to

HASS on the Hill also provides an opportunity to catch up with two new national institutions: