Open Letter to the Australia Council: Shaw

Jeffrey Shaw

18 March 2005

We the undersigned are most concerned about the proposed restructuring of the Australia Council entailing amongst other matters the dissolution of the New Media Arts Board (NMAB). Applying a deep, specialist knowledge of the complexities of New Media theory and practice, the NMAB has played a critical and foundational role in:

• -building an experimental arts culture in Australia

• -nurturing the careers of numerous new media artists

• -fostering the institutional embedding of new media arts across the disciplinary spectrum of visual art, dance, music and literature

• -exhibiting and publishing benchmark experimental arts work both in Australia and internationally

• -providing leadership in articulating the development of cutting edge new media research and practice bringing together collaborations between the very best in Australian art and science

• -bringing these collaborations to the mainstream through its groundbreaking co-operation with the Australian Research Council by means of the Synapse Program

• -ensuring a broad range of critical national benefits for contemporary Australian experimental arts

It is noteworthy that the Federal Government, through its “Backing Australia” Policy, has earmarked “Frontier Technologies” as a Government National Priority for funding. Included in this National Priority is “multimedia, content generation and imaging” requiring collaboration between artists and scientists, a core focus of the NMAB.

Australian experimental artists are at the forefront of developing these areas for Australian ICT and infotainment culture and industry. The ability of Australian culture and industry to measure up to and meet the global challenge in the digital media and experimental technology domain necessitates proactive support by Federal agencies in supporting research and development. Countries such as Germany, France, Italy, UK, Sweden, Norway, Canada, not to mention the extraordinary investment in this area by Singapore, make it clear that focused and scaled support in this domain are fundamental to Australia’s future.

Rather than undermining the domain’s official recognition, standing, accrued peer knowledge and voice on the Australia Council, the Council needs to be assessing the ways and means to enhance and magnify support, both financial and organizational, to ensure Australia’s long term artistic, scientific and technological position at the international level.

Professor Jeffrey Shaw
Executive Director
iCINEMA Centre for Interactive Cinema Research
The University of New South Wales

Dr Dennis Del Favero
Executive Chairman
iCINEMA Centre for Interactive Cinema Research
The University of New South Wales

Professor Neil Brown
Co-Director
iCINEMA Centre for Interactive Cinema Research
The University of New South Wales

Professor Ian Howard
Dean, College of Fine Arts
The University of New South Wales

Associate Professor Jill Bennett
Director of Postgraduate Research
College of Fine Arts
University of New South Wales

Professor Ross Gibson
Professor of New Media & Digital Culture
University of Technology, Sydney

Professor Mark Burry
Professor of Innovation
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

Associate Professor Nikos Papastergiadis
Deputy Director
Australian Centre
University of Melbourne

Dr Scott McQuire
Senior Lecturer
Media and Communications
University of Melbourne

RealTime issue #66 April-May 2005 pg. 6

© Jeffrey Shaw et al; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 April 2005