CHASS Newsletter #43

2010 Federal Election

Four issues emerged when we asked member organisations to tell us what parties and candidates contesting the 2010 Federal Election should take as their agenda in the humanities, arts and social sciences.

The Council’s members want the work of rebuilding and reform in research, innovation and education to continue, so that Australia benefits from the considerable work of review and consultation of the past three years. Clear directions are essential as the HASS disciplines and professions are integrated into research and innovation policies.

The Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, seeks a commitment to a national cultural policy with programs for new Australian work in the arts. The incoming Government needs to invest in making the data and collections of Australian collecting institutions – museums, galleries and libraries – available for researchers and the broader community through new digital technologies.

The issues list is available on our website, and we welcome further comments or suggestions. You may also want to look at detailed suggestions and policy agendas developed by members of the Council, including the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations, the Cooperative Research Centres Association, the National Tertiary Education Union and Ausdance, with more to come. Universities Australia has also issued an agenda statement.

Research workforce strategy

Away from the election, consultations continue on the vital strategy to renew and build Australia’s workforce of researchers. The consultation paper “Meeting Australia’s research workforce needs” could change career pathways for researchers across the higher education sector, and influence the direction of research for Australian industry and the public sector.

The discussion paper has a focus on increasing the supply of researchers with some options that are receiving warm responses. These include expanding the research training scheme which currently gives universities more than $600 million a year to cover costs of supporting PhD completions, and the extension of Australian Postgraduate Awards to four year terms.

The Council’s Executive Director and President were members of the reference group for development of the consultation paper and welcomed the willingness of the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research to look at how HASS researchers’ careers developed. The discussion paper recognises clearly that professional development varies according to discipline, gender and access to good information.

At this stage, the Council welcomes the options for improved people management in universities and research centres, particularly in managing the transition at critical career stages, such as the transition from Higher degree student to researcher, and from support role to independent researchers. The Council is developing a submission and urges your organisation to contact us with your suggestions, about building a more stable pathway for talented HASS researchers. We also seek ideas about better forecasts for demand for researchers as educators in universities and in the broader private and public industry sector.

Please contact us at or policy [at]

Politics and Policy

As academic researchers and bloggers deplore the quality of political debate, a leading journalist analyses the problems of developing public policy in Australia in The Walkley Magazine, published by the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

Helen O’Neil
Executive Director
Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
4 August 2010

2010 HASS On The Hill Structured Conversations

Registrations for the 2010 HASS On The Hill open this week. To be held on 18 – 19 October speakers for 2010 include the lead writer of the Inspiring Australia strategy for science communication, Professor Graham Durant, Deputy Director of the National Library of Australia Warwick Cathro, and the Design Research Institute’s Professor Mark Burry.

Research Infrastructure – Landmark Projects

The Council’s response to the National Research Infrastructure Council’s paper on landmark projects supported the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia’s submission and drew attention to some potential issues in multipurpose projects.

OECD project on social science infrastructure

The National Research Infrastructure Council has supported Australia’s involvement in an OECD project on social science infrastructure.

Centre for Cultural Environmental Research

Environment Minister Peter Garrett recently launched the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental ResearchAUSCCER) at the University of Wollongong, recognizing its substantial role in delivering new environmental thinking in the 21st Century.

Cultural Research Network

Held at the Sydney College of the Arts on 21 July, the joint workshop in July of the Australia Council for the Arts and the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, found some consistent issues emerging in the study of Australian participation in the arts, and explored the relationship of the arts and the creative industries, at a time when policy makers are focussed on industry reform rather than cultural support. A transcript of the workshop discussions will be available soon, with the Australia Council moving to establish and support a network of cultural researchers.

HASS at a glance

Social sciences and humanities applications for CRC grants

See the full list of social science and humanities led proposals for funding as Cooperative Research Centres. Other STEM led proposals also have significant HASS elements.

Racism and the tertiary student experience in Australia

This paper examines evidence within useful social science, so that the issues relating to attacks on international students can be better understood and outcomes attained.

Academic Standards Update

The Australian Learning and Teaching Academic Standards (LTAS) in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, seeks your comments on the draft threshold learning outcomes for Geography and History. Details of the consultation paper and stakeholder presentation sessions in August and September are available.

Viacom Vs YouTube

Last month a US court found in favour of YouTube and its parent company, Google, in the landmark copyright case launched against it by Viacom. Fiona Mackrell at ArtsHub examines some of the issues surrounding this case.

The Poor Relation – A History of the Social Sciences in Australia

The Poor Relation examines the place of the social sciences-from economics and psychology to history, law and philosophy-in the teaching and research conducted by Australian universities.

Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Geography

The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) Consultation on the draft Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Geography is open until 27 August 2010.

Arts Advocacy Campaigns

The International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA) reports on the exchange of information and ideas about arts advocacy by exploring a range of campaigns currently being undertaken or planned by national arts funding agencies.