CHASS Newsletter #57

From the CHASS Executive Director

Welcome to our newsletter for March.

March has been a busy month at CHASS with 2 key submissions, funding proposals and planning for events. CHASS welcomes Divya Das who is the new Membership and Events Manager. She has been quite busy and I suspect that many of you have already been in contact with her.

National Forum

During the last period, CHASS has been working on initiating a National Forum for the HASS sector along the Canadian model of the National Congress held by the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

CHASS’ previous President, Prof Linda Rosenman, had visited the organisation and CHASS has developed some initial links to exchange information. While this is a long term effort, we plan to implement an initial version of this later this year. CHASS would like to involve its member organisations in this as it is meant to be an umbrella event for the HASS sector. We will be in contact with you in the coming period to update you on plans and to have input and feedback from you in this process.

CHASS-Race Discrimination Commission Event – 15 May

Please find important information in this edition about abstracts and presentations for this innovative forum. I encourage you to be at the event and to present your work and ideas.

CHASS partners with Centre for Public Awareness of Science (CPAS) and the University of Queensland (UQ)

CPAS and UQ will involve CHASS in a project that will collate evaluation reports of science engagement activities in the HASS sector. We will be in contact with relevant members for this project. If you have projects that have been evaluated in this area, please let me know.

Membership services

CHASS has added a couple of services for the membership:

  1. CHASS is now on Twitter and will be doing updates on a daily basis via our account (CHASS_Aus)
  2. CHASS has started daily media monitoring updates for its members

We are keen to hear from you so please email/call/visit us and keep us updated with projects and activities in which you are involved. Happy reading!

Invitation for abstracts for Expanding Conversations: Social Innovation, Arts and Anti-Racism

15 May 2012, Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Sydney

Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke and CHASS invite abstracts for a forum exploring the links between behaviour change strategies in various disciplines including the arts and anti racism strategies to inform development of the National Anti-Racism Strategy. The forum will have 2 main themes: Behaviour Change Strategies and Lessons for Anti-Racism and At the forefront: Arts, Social Change and Lessons for Anti-Racism.

We invite speakers to submit a 300-word abstract for a 10-minute presentation which reflects on the learning around behaviour/attitude change research and projects and where possible, its relevance for the government’s anti-racism strategy.

Abstracts should be emailed to and should include the name, contact details and your professional biography (no more than 250 words) by Wednesday, 11 April. For more information on the National Anti-Racism Strategy please go to to: For more information, please email

Dr David Cookson. Photographer – Nancy Mills, Senior Communications officer, Australian Synchrotron

Weeds management on native title lands

AIATSIS is conducting research into the relationship between native title and the weeds responsibilities of ‘land holders’ under different State/Territory land management legislation. This project is funded by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC), and is considering three research issues:

  • Implications of the changing nature of land ownership for Australia’s weed management;
  • Weed management priorities of native title holders; and,
  • Opportunities and limitations of current weed institutions, policies and programs with respect to native title holders.

In October 2011, Research Fellow Dr Jessica Weir convened a workshop, ‘Managing Weeds on Native Title Lands’, in partnership with Bruce Gorring from the Nulungu Centre for Indigenous Studies at Notre Dame University’s Broome campus, and with input from the Kimberley Land Council. Workshop participants included Kimberley Indigenous Ranger groups, registered native title bodies corporate (RNTBCs), State and Commonwealth government departments, non-government organisations, and the Kimberley Land Council.

The aim was to provide an opportunity for non-Indigenous stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the cultural landscape for weeds management on native title lands and the governance and logistical environment of RNTBCs, and also give RNTBC land managers an opportunity to talk to other stakeholders about their priorities. Overall, five main themes emerged from the workshop: Clear responsibilities; Proper process; Proper Priorities; Proper Resourcing; and Integrated, Holistic and Coordinated Efforts and these are discussed in detail in the workshop report by Nick Duff.

If you wish to receive an e-copy, please contact the Principal Investigator The Kimberley workshop has provided valuable contextual information to support our national research into weeds responsibilities and native title. The outcomes of our national research, including a legal analysis of whether native title holders are responsible for weeds management, will be reported on at the National Native Title Conference 2012, in a project report and journal articles. For more information, visit

HASS at a glance

Recent CHASS submissions

HASS profiles

Dr David Cookson – A Renaissance Man

Dr. Cookson is Head of Beamline Science and Operations, Science Management, The Australian Synchrotron and an adjunct Associate Professor with the University of Melbourne School of Physics. A man of many talents, he has formally trained in singing and jazz ballet and has faced many audiences – in the theatre and in the lecture hall. In a freewheeling chat, he talks about drawing from his passion for the performing arts and how he thinks both science and art have a common essence – effective communication with the intended audience.

“The essence of any kind of performance, be it art or science, is communication. Science is a combination of two things – discovery and communication. In order to get published, you have to effectively communicate. Similarly, the medium of all art is communication – art withers and dies with no communication,” David opines. “As a performer, your first responsibility is towards the audience; it is important that the audience is entertained. Having said that, it does not mean you have to give them the lowest common denominator or go for cheap laughs. Audiences tend to sense when they are being delivered something tasty versus something tasty and substantial – they understand the difference between a donut and a three-course meal. An audience that isn’t engaged isn’t served, and that’s true for both science and art,” he adds.

David draws parallels between the skills of an artist and a scientist, both dealing with active creation translated into a form which others can appreciate and gain benefit from. “The quintessential point is that science and art come from the same mysterious place. All creative people are trying to expose a truth that is tangible and important in its own right,” he says.

He feels that art has not been discounted in favour of science; both streams have been discounted in the favour of economic rationalism. “All too often what is left of science is that which generates economic profit. If science only equals economic gain, we lose much of the sense of its beauty. This helps us to forget that an educated population is a better population,” he remarks.

He thinks that taking interest in everything around is important. “If one looks at history, the great scientists from the Renaissance period came from a very broad background – there was no difference between learning arts and science, they all had to learn languages, mathematics, science and humanities. Disciplines flowed smoothly into and around each other,” he remarks. He feels sad when an artist is not interested in science or a scientist not interested in art. “Why blinker ourselves? The essence of art, if practiced and taken into our hearts, allows us to open our eyes to everything around us. This is the essence of both good science and art,”

“I would love to be a Renaissance man; someone who has a broad-based knowledge of the richness that humanity has managed to create as well as consuming curiosity towards the natural world. I think we should keep our appetites broad and inclusive; both streams must benefit from one another or it will not be science winning over arts – both will lose,” he signs off.


1. Currency House Book Launch and special offer for CHASS members

Networking: Commercial television in Australia, by Nick Herd

On 15 April, Currency House will publish Australia’s first comprehensive history of the commercial television industry in Australia.

Its publication is timely. The Government will soon receive the final report of the latest attempt to regulate what has been an intransigent force in the history of the fair go. The Convergence Review will recommend changes to the regulatory frameworks that currently apply to the converged media and communications landscape. Broadcasters are adapting and changing to the new environment with more services on more platforms. What is now required, says the Government, is a more even playing field which allows all media players to compete fairly and meet the challenges of the future. Otherwise the overwhelming majority of Australians who rely exclusively on free-to-air services will lose access to quality Australian programming for free.

But change does not happen in a vacuum. Dr Nick Herd’s book traces how each step in our television’s history—its introduction, expansion, ownership structure, networking partnerships, colour production, satellite broadcasting, digital transfer, broadband distribution—has been marked by conflicts of commercial and public interest, by aspiration and expediency.

Networking is the work of eight years’ research by a man with extensive experience of its corporate creation and government regulation, and he brings a penetrating mind and independent perspective to the imaginative forces and colourful characters that have built the television we have today.

The Governments last encounter on the playing field was in 1998 to accept the commercial broadcasters’ plan for the introduction of digital television. Now the rules have changed again. The decision handed down by the Convergence Review in 2012 is likely to be received with as fierce debate as all those that have preceded it. The process, says Herd, has been utterly Australian.

Katharine Brisbane, Currency House

Networking in bookshops from 15 April at $69.99. A pre-publication 25% discount is available to CHASS members – please email for an order form and quote ‘CHASS’ in your message.

2. Governing City Futures Conference, August 16 – 17, 2012, University of Western Sydney

The conference will bring together international and Australian academics, politicians, expert speakers and commentators in the fields of cultural studies, urban sociology, urban infrastructure and population to discuss the future of the low density city in an era where climate change and the prospect of population increase operates as a major challenge to established forms of urban life. Confirmed keynote speakers are Prof Andrew Ross, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, NYU and Prof Michael Neuman, Professor of Sustainable Urbanism, UNSW.

The Conference themes include Climate Change; Population; Immigration; Urban densification; Urban environmentalism; Urban planning; Gender; Ethnicity; and City and Bush. Paper and panel proposals addressing the themes are invited; those spanning more than one theme are especially welcome. Please send abstracts (up to 300 words), your affiliation and a biography (up to 150 words) to Ben Dibley: by 31 March 2012.

3. 5th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Literature

Hosted by School of Humanities & Social Sciences, UNSW Canberra, this year the conference will address the long and traumatic relationship of literature and censorship. Prof. Peter McDonald, Oxford University, author of The Literature Police (Oxford University Press) is the keynote speaker.

Offers for papers considering all aspects of literature and censorship are welcome, but could address: Comparative National Censorships; Censorship and Colonialism; Obscenity and Empire; Literary Sedition; Beyond the literary: The censorship of popular and pulp titles; Censorship histories of the book; Publishing, library and self-censorship; Literature, censorship and the law; Blasphemy, religion and literary censorship; Obscenity and the literary regulation of sexuality; The limits of expression and the definition of offence; Censorship and translation; Political censorship ‘post-ideology’ and Censorship after the book. Please submit titles and abstracts for proposed papers by April 6, 2012 to Shirley Ramsay using the online form. For more information, visit

4. The National Library of Australia: Call for applications for 2012 Community Heritage Grants

Grants of up to $15,000 are available to community groups around the country to help preserve and manage locally-held, nationally-significant cultural heritage collections of documents and objects for future generations. Projects supported include significance assessments, preservation needs assessments, conservation activities and collection management. Representatives from historical societies, museums, public libraries, archives and Indigenous and migrant community groups are encouraged to apply. Applications close on Friday May 4, 2012.

The 2012 CHG Program is funded by the Australian Government through the National Library of Australia; the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport; the National Archives of Australia; the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Museum of Australia.

5. Indian Voices – new online resource by The Australian History Museum at Macquarie

The Australian History Museum at Macquarie has developed a new online resource – exploring the experiences of Indian students at university in Australia. Watch them tell their stories via video at Sikhsha Ka Anubhav: Indian Student Educational Experience Resource website. The resource aims to encourage the development of cultural awareness and sensitivities throughout the Macquarie University student community by supporting the integration of international and intercultural perspectives into the student learning experience.

6. 2012 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes Rewarding Science

Australias premier national science awards program is now calling for entries and nominations. This year, there are 18 prizes on offer including Eureka Prizes for ‘Innovative Use of Technology’, ‘Commercialisation of Innovation’, ‘Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers’, ‘Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research’ and ‘Innovation in Computer Science’. Enter online at, entries close midnight AEST Friday 4 May.

Members Events Calendar

CHASS members can post details about upcoming events on our webpage. For more information, contact or log in with your member code at

We invite members to share articles, stories and anecdotes about their work for our newsletter. Please send your stories to