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revolution/reaction


revolution or reaction?

the future of education in the arts


WELCOME TO OUR ANNUAL ARTS EDUCATION FEATURE. THIS YEAR INSTEAD OF ADDRESSING SPECIFIC ISSUES OF PRACTICE AND LEARNING IN SURVEYS OF UNIVERSITY SCHOOLS AND DEPARTMENTS AROUND AUSTRALIA, WE THOUGHT WE’D INVITE OPINION PIECES FROM LEADING ARTFORM ACADEMICS ABOUT CURRENT CHALLENGES TO THE ARTS IN THE UNIVERSITY. FEELING IS STRONG THAT THE ARTS ARE GETTING A RAW DEAL DESPITE SOME IMPROVEMENTS AT POSTGRADUATE LEVEL AND PRE-ELECTION TALK OF AN ‘EDUCATION REVOLUTION.’

The informal essays in this feature call variously for more equitable funding of the arts within the university; for more relevant and responsive course structures (eg in music); formal recognition of professional experience accrued by staff outside the university (eg in film); for sympathetic application of Research Quality Framework (RQF) criteria; and acknowledgment of the compromises and inequities that come with mergers (eg of arts training schools with humanities departments). Writers are also concerned about the likely impact of proposed generalist first degrees (with specialisation only in higher degrees) on the training of young undergraduate bodies in dance, theatre and music.

The essays on sound and performance describe how niches have been established inside and outside the university enhancing survival but also creative practice and stimulation. Elsewhere, failures to connect are worried at—disconnections between art and the university, and between the university and the outside world. As Stephen Whittington points out, teachers have come to realise that their educational ideals are often not shared by the community or the education system given the current ideological temper.

In an election year, do we dare hope for a vision that entails an ‘education revolution’ for the university. Might we hope for art’s liberation from the chains of economic rationalism and ideological incarceration? RT

RealTime issue #80 Aug-Sept 2007 pg. 13

© Keith Gallasch; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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