CHASS Newsletter #55

Merry Christmas from the Council for the Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences

An update on 2011 from CHASS

2011 has been a big year for CHASS. We started the year with the preparations for HASS-on-the-Hill which was a successful event, raising the profile of the HASS sector within Parliamentary corridors, amongst our colleagues in the sciences and it also enabled enhanced networking within the membership. We heard from politicians and government policy makers and saw the implementation of a new and successful session to promote early career researchers and their work. You can read keynote speeches on the CHASS website.

CHASS Secretariat facilitated the development and convening of five major workshops featuring experts in the HASS sector and sciences in 2011. A multi-disciplinary workshop held in April at RMIT discussed how to better exchange knowledge and concerns across the HASS and STEM sectors, including cultural institutions. The inaugural meeting of the Australian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres was hosted by the Flinders University for Research in the Humanities in partnership with the Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus) and CHASS.

The workshop, Communicating Big Ideas: National Cultural Policy at UWS in August was a tremendous success with over 85 organisations represented, government officials present and parliamentary Secretary Kate Lundy steering the morning discussion by outlining what an Australian cultural policy should include, and CHASS produced a strong policy submission as a result of the input from members at this workshop. CHASS notes the Ministerial changes also resulted in a transfer of responsibilities to a new standalone portfolio which will be names Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport in 2012. We look forward to continuing to work with the government on the development of a new national cultural policy for Australia and thank Richard Eccles and his team at Prime Minister and Cabinet for his work with CHASS on the forum.

Secretariat convened a major workshop on the development of Excellence in Research for Australia from the perspective of what lessons were learnt and next steps forward for the HASS disciplines, at QUT in October with evaluations telling us that members benefitted greatly from the workshop and indeed want another one in 2012!

We followed this with a major workshop on the topic of connecting the arts, held in Fremantle in early November and with a large number of Western Australian member organisations present. The workshop was held to coincide with the CHASS 2011 Annual General Meeting. It was great to meet the Western Australian members and connect with the government officials at the forum.

In 2012 Council will continue the hard work by convening two major workshops, the first on disaster management and recovery aiming to showcase how knowledge of disaster management and recovery can come from many areas of the HASS sector, including architecture and design. The second with HASS researchers informing policy and the media to provide a platform for a discussion, knowledge exchange, media awareness and promotion, and will contribute towards a greater recognition of people, projects and organisations working the humanities, arts and social sciences. Both of these workshops will be convened in regional Australia.

The year also saw more organisations join CHASS as members of a growing network for communication and collaboration across diverse disciplines and institutions. To better deliver on the advocacy, policy and government relations work which underpins the focussed activities in relation to workshop development and promotion of HASS, CHASS utilises the services of Newsnet media solutions, and I wish to thank them for their support.

I am pleased to report that the Council met all government funding deliverables and much more for its membership and I thank the Secretariat staff Ms Erica Seccombe and Matt Burfitt for their efforts.

CHASS remains in discussion with Government concerning ongoing support for its activities in 2012. We note with some concern the recent cuts to both Craft Australia and changes to Australian Network for Art & Technology (ANAT) funding.

Ms Angela Magarry
Executive Director
Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
19 December 2011

CHASS welcomes new Gillard Ministry

CHASS President Professor Sue Willis welcomed the new Gillard Ministry as announced by the Prime Minister on 12 December and said she looks forward to working with Ministers Evans and Combet in the re-integrated Department of Industry, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. CHASS also noted the Hon Simon Crean has remained as Minister for Regional Australia and Minister for the Arts and Council is look forward to continuing to work with him and his office on the arts and cultural policy.

New member for CHASS

CHASS welcomes a new member the Religious History Association (RHA). Formed in formed in 2010 from the amalgamation of the Association for the Journal of Religious History and (1959) and the Religious History Society (1998), the purpose of the Association is to promote and advance the study of religious history in Australia; promote the study of all fields of religious history; encourage research in Australian religious history and to publish the Journal of Religious History. Back issues of the newsletter of the Religious History Society can also be consulted on their website.

Need to make a Christmas cake in a hurry?

This takes 30 minutes to prepare and 2-3 hours in a slow oven to cook to create a lovely, rich cake which serves 20 people. It also keeps for up to 3 months. You need to preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius, line the base of a 22cm round tin. Combine 3 cups of sultanas; 1 cup of raisins, 1 cup of currants, 1 cup of pitted chopped dates, 1 packet of glace cherries, ½ cup mixed peel, a dash of brandy and set aside. Mix together 250g butter, 1 cup brown sugar, then beat in 4 eggs slowly, adding 2 cups plain flour and some spice. Bake in the oven for 2-3 hours until cooked in the centre. Drizzle the cake with brandy when it’s still hot and decorate with almonds and cherries and if you are inclined, marzipan!