AAANZ Advocacy Working Groups – Call For Participation

The AAANZ is aiming to increase its efforts to advocate for art history and the visual arts. As there are many issues that the Association could potentially address it is important to prioritise these and to enlist members to assist with the work of researching, communicating, and organising advocacy efforts. The Association will establish several advocacy working groups to address issues which have been identified by the membership and the executive as crucial.

If you are interested to join one of these working groups please write to us and let us know. We will then put you in touch with other interested parties with whom you can collaborate.

1. Employment Outcomes Advocacy Group

To ensure the future viability of the undergraduate and graduate degrees into which many of us teach it is important to be able to demonstrate that such degrees, aside from their inherent intellectual substance, have the potential to lead to practical application in industry. To this end, there is a need for detailed information about employment outcomes for art and art history graduates and the qualifications required or expected of applicants to employers in the industry. Having such data at our fingertips could demonstrate how our scholarship leads to industry engagement and thereby strengthen arguments in support of art-related disciplines in this region.

This advocacy group would assist the Association in gathering information about employment outcomes among graduates in art related disciplines; including statistics relating to graduates at all levels in art, art history and curatorship, as well as anecdotal case studies or narratives. This may also seek to better understand the funding models and the classification of post-graduate courses in curatorship, which are currently ineligible for students to receive payments through Austudy or Youth Allowance.

2. Decolonisation Advocacy Group

Following discussions at the 2016 AAANZ conference, this advocacy group would seek to further the work of many scholars, artists and curators in Australia and New Zealand who have begun to promote the diversification of the curriculum and promote greater literacy in indigenous art and culture in education at all levels and in the museum sector.

It is proposed that this group focus initially upon advocating for the introduction of more Indigenous Australian, Māori and Pasifika people teaching art and art history across the region. It is proposed that the group focus upon the promotion of such researchers, writers, and curators to employment positions through specifically targeted programs. This group may choose to liaise with relevant organisations such as Arts Front’s “First Peoples First” initiative, as well as the Pacific Art Association and the Aboriginal Art Association of Australia

3. Open Access Art History Advocacy Group

Art historians and practice-led researchers increasingly face new challenges and opportunities as more scholarship moves into the digital space and more funding bodies are requiring publicly funded research to be open access in some way. There is a need for information, advocacy and guidance to address this situation.

This advocacy group would prepare advice and guidelines for both students and scholars about their rights and responsibilities regarding open access publishing/repositories. It would lobby public and university art collections to develop more generous and clear policies around the use of images of art for teaching and scholarship. It would prepare guidance around copyright issues for scholars in art history/practice-led research, especially regarding Australia/NZ copyright legislation. It would also address the problems associated with the requirement at some universities that art history students grant open access to electronic copies of their complete dissertations

4. Advocacy Committee

This advocacy group would be the first point of contact in the Association for relevant issues as they arise. This advocacy group would begin its work by undertaking a project looking at current advocacy efforts currently under way in Australia and New Zealand by cognate organisations to see where the Association can best devote its energies.

The initial research question of this group would be “where does advocacy need to be applied right now in our sector?” beyond the issues identified in points 1 – 3 above. Organisations to be studied include NAVAArtsLawACUADSNTEU, and Museums Australia that intersect or overlap with our Association. The group would also look at current advocacy efforts taking place in other countries by sister organisations including CAA and AAH to understand best practice in the sector.

The first deadline for the call for participation is September 30th, we will then be in contact with those who would like to participate and formally announce the advocacy working groups in December at the AAANZ conference in Perth.

Please contact to register your interest and please note the advocacy group you would like to be a part of. Alternatively you may like to nominate an issue you believe needs addressing by the AAANZ advocacy working groups in the future.

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