The Irrelevant Consumers of Culture

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Title The Irrelevant Consumers of Culture
Author Woodrow, Ross Daniel
Publication Title ACUADS 2005 Conference: Artists, Designers and Creative Communities
Editor Su Baker
Year Published 2005
Place of publication Perth
Publisher Edith Cowan University
Abstract This paper will examine the relation between artists and their communities from the particular perspective of the Research Quality Framework proposed by DEST for assessing the quality and impact of research in Australia. The recent Federal Government discussion paper on the proposed RQF sends the clear warning that the link between university-based artists and their communities is to become a most contested relationship. The Framework for Measuring Research Impact (Table 3) presented in the paper explicitly and exclusively endorses performative knowledge with commercialization as its primary measure of impact. Even the points listed to exemplify knowledge relationships outside the university and engagement with the community focus solely on industry cooperation, consultancy and economic activities. Of the suitable measures for assessment of Research Impact Outputs, suggested in the paper (Table 2), only three relate directly to art and design. Included as one of these is "audience/attendances at exhibitions/performances" - raising the spectre of visual and performing arts assessment reduced to the mentality of bums on seats. Most disturbing of all, for studio-based researchers, the impact of their investigations on visual culture is explicitly excluded. Research does not impact on culture, quoting the paper: "In a broader sense, research impact refers to social, environmental or economic impacts." I will argue in this paper for a radical reassessment of the strategy, spearheaded by ACUADS over the last decade, that has attempted to equate research in the visual arts with humanities and science research. The limited success in demonstrating equivalence between creative arts outputs and the established framework of publications and bibliometric measures favoured by science and humanities has been determined by peer review of quality and varying degrees of goodwill by research committees in individual universities, if not in DEST itself. With the establishment of the RQF in 2006 more rigorous, competitive and rigid attitudes to measurement of research quality and impact will be legislated and the current expedient masquerade of dressing artists and designers in academic gowns will be exposed. If the visual and performing arts are to gain their rightful share of research support funding they must be seen as distinctively different to science and the humanities in their mode of operational research, outputs and community impacts. In particular their cultural sphere of influence must be acknowledged. The knowledge embedded in arts practice must be articulated on its own terms if the amorphous, emotive and critical forms of understanding presented in creative outputs are to be recognized. To contribute to this process, my paper will highlight specific instances of practice-based endeavour that represent quality cultural production and consumption.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Publisher URI http://www.acuads.com.au/conf2005/papers/woodrow.pdf
ISBN 978-0-9758360-0-2
Conference name ACUADS 2005 Conference: Artists, Designers and Creative Communities
Location Edith Cowan Univ. Perth
Date From 2005-09-28
Date To 2005-09-30
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/32848
Date Accessioned 2006-08-04
Date Available 2010-08-02T07:18:01Z
Language en_AU
Faculty Queensland College of Art
Subject PRE2009-Fine Arts (incl. Sculpture and Painting)
WWW reference www.acuads.com.au/conf2005/papers/woodrow.pdf
Publication Type Conference Publications (Full Written Paper - Refereed)
Publication Type Code e1x

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