Engaging Possible Futures: Advancing the effectiveness of university learning
(Senior Research Fellowship, Curtin University, 2012 - 2017)
This Fellowship draws together a significant body of research to advance the effectiveness of university learning experiences. The aim is to identify and advance the efficacy and legitimacy of strategies that develop students’ professional self-concept and the metacognitive capacity for self-regulation. The overall goal is to develop an evidence-based epistemology that engages students and educators in forward-oriented approaches and develops graduates equipped to thrive in an uncertain future. The Fellowship program comprises a four-year structured inquiry that will develop an evidence-based epistemology based on research with two distinct student cohorts: students from the creative and performing arts, for whom future work is often complex andundefined; and doctoral students aspiring to careers in higher education, for whom future work is increasingly uncertain and unstable. The Fellowship will interact with undergraduate students, graduate degree students, and higher degree by research students. Mindful of the likely destinations of these students, the Fellowship will also advance knowledge about the characteristics of work within the creative sector and within higher education.
Evidencing Positive Impact and Strengthening the Capacity of the Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows to contribute to Australian Higher Education
(2012 - 2013)
This project, funded by a $75,000 Government Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) Research Grant, will elicit perceptions and evidence of individual, institutional and sectoral impact of the Fellowships Scheme, compiling and updating the evidence submitted within final reports. It will result in a major report that will incorporate the findings together with recommendations for investment in future work to retain the accuracy and relevance of the project documents into the future.
Scholarship, leadership and advocacy: Quality learning and teaching in Australian universities
(2012 - 2013)
C1, Dawn Bennett
2011 ALTC Strategic Leadership Grant $161,000
This project - a Curtin-led nationally competitive Australian Learning and Teaching Council grant involving 22 universities - will develop strategies in response to emerging areas of activity and importance in learning and teaching within the Australian Higher Education sector. The project will enable and support a network of leading learning and teaching scholars to work inter-dependently and inclusively in contributing to decision-making and advocacy, and in influencing national debates about learning and teaching.
Enhancing Indigenous Content in Performing Arts Curricula through Service Learning with Indigenous Communities
(November 2011 - October 2013)
Curtin C1, Dawn Bennett
2011 ALTC Innovation and Development program. Awarded $220,000.
This project is a collaboration between Griffith University (lead institution), Curtin University, the University of Sydney, and the University of Western Sydney.
Project overview: Despite the endorsement of policies related to the inclusion of Indigenous knowledges and content across Australian universities, within many disciplines such as the performing arts, the incorporation of these Indigenous perspectives is still minimal. While some educators have brought Indigenous artists into performing arts, in many cases the inclusion of Indigenous curriculum content is presented in a somewhat tokenistic and abstract manner, removed from the lived experience of Indigenous culture. Such an approach is highly problematic in performing arts education for a number of complex reasons. These significant cultural, political and pedagogical tensions are a common concern for those responsible for delivering performing arts curricula to the large number of undergraduate students in Australia.
Likewise, university commitment to the inclusion of Indigenous content and the implementation of related learning and teaching policies raise similar challenges for educators across other disciplines. This situation presents a pressing need for new strategies and approaches for the inclusion of Indigenous content in tertiary curricula, which are built on respectful and culturally appropriate interactions with Indigenous communities.
AAPI member, Distinguished Professor Anna Haebich, is a member of the reference committee for this particular project.
ePortfolios for Creative and Performing Arts students in Australian universities
(November 2011 - December 2013)
Curtin C1, Dawn Bennett
The collaboration in the project is between staff members of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the Music Program in the School of Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney; Melbourne Graduate School of Education; the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University; and the Humanities Faculty at Curtin University. The Sydney Conservatorium of Music is the lead institution and overseer of the project. The University of Western Sydney, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Curtin University and Griffith University will contribute equally to the project as collaborators.
Successful in the 2011 ALTC Innovation & Development program. Awarded: $218,000.00
Project overview: This project will provide tertiary students from the Performing and Creative Arts with skills to create an electronic folio (ePortfolio) to document their academic and artistic outcomes for future employment and enhanced employability in the arts sector. Given the strong impact that ePortfolios have had on the higher education sector in areas of teaching and learning (e.g. previous ALTC grants at Queensland University of Technology and Curtin University), this project will enhance development of strategies for tertiary Creative and Performing artists to document skills acquired, and outcomes achieved, as beginning artists. Teaching is a key component of artists’ career portfolios, and the potential for an ePortfolio to enhance opportunities in this realm has been hitherto unexplored. The creative application and development of ePortfolio as an innovation in higher education learning and teaching is thus found in strategies acquired to select authentic evidence and document achievements and skills as a graduate Music and Performance Studies artist. The ePortfolio project will also enable both students and teachers to consider crucial issues of salient identity and holistic career planning, leading to a more strategic selection of evidence to showcase their development. By highlighting aspects of artistic identity versus professional career identity, the project will lead to new insights regarding the training of artists.
Performance Studies are taught at Curtin University to PhD level, and the courses form part of a thriving Humanities faculty which includes visual arts, multimedia, design, built environment, performance studies, screen arts, creative and professional writing, and journalism. Given the complex nature of careers in all of these sectors, the development of employability skills is a high priority across all courses. Performance Studies is an exciting area in today’s media-driven world. In this major, students learn the practical techniques and theory involved in the world of theatre and performance. Students develop skills in performance, directing, writing, devising, dramaturgy, critical analysis, stage management and theatre production. Performance Studies majors complete practical and theoretical units exploring the scope and range of theatrical performance. Most classes take the form of practical workshops and students are given many opportunities to audition for and participate in public productions. Our on-campus Upstairs Theatre is used for both teaching and rehearsals, and serves as a venue for seasons of student productions. The skills and experience gained by students as they engage in this broad suite of activities are ideally suited to an ePortfolio approach. Whilst the ALTC project cohort is in performance studies, a broader uptake of the initiative is anticipated across the Faculty, particularly in Education. Associate Professor Dawn Bennett is the project team member for Curtin University.
Growing future innovators? A review of the Perth Institute for Contemporary Art's Spark Lab program
(2012 - continuing)
Funded by the Perth Institute for Contemporary Arts, this project is evaluating the impact and outcomes of the funded projects undertaken between 2011 and 2012 under the Growing Future Innovators program in Western Australia. The research will review the ongoing impact and sustainable outcomes of the funded projects, making recommendations for the future of the program.
Evaluation of the Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Grants Program in Western Australia
(2011 - 2013)
This project will evaluate the impact and outcomes of projects funded under the Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Grants program in Western Australia from 2011 to 2013; review the ongoing impact and sustainability outcomes of the six funded projects undertaken in 2010 under the AIR Grants program in WA in the first and second years of the program; and gather profile material for use in an AIR publication for the Australia Council for the Arts. Year one of the research was reported in May 2012.
Evaluation of the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts’ Spark-Lab program
(2012 - 2013)
This project will evaluate the impact and outcomes of the funded projects undertaken between 2011 and 2012 under the Growing Future Innovators program in Western Australia.
This study investigates the artist as an academic, in particular the extent to which artists in academia view their practice as a site of knowledge (that is, as research). It also asks about artists' understanding of the relationship and interaction between the roles of artist and researcher (arts practice as research in the tertiary environment), and enquires about artists' perceptions of, and attitudes towards, these roles. Partner: University of Western Sydney.
Creating Sustainable Practice: Understanding Australia’s Creative Industries
(2008 - continuing)
This study advances understanding of Australia’s creative industries through an investigation of the working lives and economic circumstances of the creative workforce. Prospective outcomes include a clear picture of the significance of creative capital to Australia’s economic wellbeing, a deeper understanding of the requirements for sustainable practice in the creative industries, and a vital contribution towards the development of policies that will underpin and support a rich and diverse cultural environment. Drawing on a range of social and economic contexts, the study will work with the Committee for Perth and partner cities Glasgow and Vancouver to analyse push and pull factors relating to the creative industries workforce and, in broader terms, creative and innovative thinkers. The study will provide theoretical and empirical insights into the cultural fabric of the three sites and, thus, the basis for more effective policy in the arts and cultural development.
Excellence in Research for Australia: Impacts and implications for creative and traditional research activities among artist academics
(2008 - continuing)
Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) incorporates four categories of creative research output. Thus, creative research has become integral to the research profile of Australian universities. Whilst this has obvious benefits, it also presents considerable challenges for academics whose creative practice has long been ignored as legitimate research. This project will investigate the complex relationships between the artist, research and epistemological formation within both traditional and creative research paradigms. The results will guide the development of effective strategies for analysing and communicating the theoretical basis, originality and significance of creative work.
Life in the real world: Educating for sustainable working lives in music
(2006 - continuing)
This research project and subsequent text investigates the change from ongoing employment to ongoing employability, and highlights the implications of this change on education, training and professional practice. Underpinning this is the linking theme of professional identity. Leading authors from the United States, Canada, the UK, Europe and Australia are exploring work opportunities, education and training trends and the characteristics of professional practice, highlighting the complex nature of creating and maintaining a career in music.
One Hundred Women: Women's contribution to the arts in Western Australia from colonial times to the present
Robyn Taylor and Dawn Bennett
(2008 - continuing)
The contribution of women to the arts in Western Australia has been seriously under-acknowledged and is in danger of being lost to future generations. One Hundred Women is a significant start to addressing the woefully inadequate amount written on women and the arts in WA. The project addresses women’s contribution to the arts in WA since colonial times, bringing together collaborative work undertaken over the past four years by a team of well-respected historians, academics and arts figures. The project will result in a book that encompasses the work of 100 artists, writers andperformers including WA’s first internationally renowned vaudeville artist, the male impersonator Effie Fellows, and visual artists such as Pantiji Mary McLean and Elizabeth Jolley.
Dawn Bennett - Research Archive
This project will investigate the prior history, expectations, sources of feedback, and identities, of incoming tertiary music students in a number of musical genres. The study encompasses music schools in the UK, US and Australia, and is collaborative research with the Royal College of Music (UK), Curtin University of Technology, WAAPA, Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, and McNally Smith College of Music (Minnesota).
People, place and power: Australia and the Asia Pacific. Perth: Black Swan Press
(2008 - 2009)
Dawn Bennett, Jaya Earnest and Miyume Tanji
This publication represents interdisciplinary research from the Centre for Advanced Studies in Australia, Asia and Pacific (CASAAP) at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. Edited by three CASAAP members, this 2009 publication first focuses on cultural identities and reflects investigations on the historical and contemporary bases and consequences of identity formation in relation to, inter alia, ethnicity, gender, nation and class. The second section of the book probes the depths of radical and regional transformation resulting from reform, innovation or policy across nations, societies and cultures of Asia and the Pacific. Finally, the book explores different trajectories of international relations, which are manifested through issues of regional security, terrorism, refugees, and immigration, social and political movements.
Choosing the unstable: Dancing through mid-career
(2007 - 2009)
Dance artists are required to build portfolio careers in order to generate a sustainable livelihood; however choosing this career path is in reality a choice for instability. The instability is largely impervious to stature, expertise and track record; hence it is a lifelong challenge. The mid-career experience in dance further heightens instability with increasing demands of family and social pressures and the realities of aging physicality. This project takes an inside look at the strategies and coping mechanisms of dance artists currently negotiating mid-career crisis and aims to reveal the realities and difficulties faced during this time and the challenges to both personal and professional identity.
This research for the Department of Culture and the Arts (DCA) will investigate the impacts and outcomes of the State’s Contemporary Music Program. The project will be completed in November 2008.
Project for the Australian Sports Commission examining career transitions in dance.
Anthropological study of the orchestral workplace with an initial focus on new players and the transition from tertiary training to the workplace.
Partner: West Australian Symphony Orchestra.
What Musicians Do: International Perspectives on the Working Lives of Classical Musicians
(2007 - 2008)
Edited book on professional practice and related education and training in the US, Europe, Canada and Australia, publication with Black Swan Press in 2008.
Understanding the Classical Music Profession: The Past, the Present and Strategies for the Future
(2002 - 2008)
Research into the classical music profession - the environment, related policies, skills, attributes, roles and employment. Monograph publication with Ashgate in 2008.
Playing Safe: An engaging Approach to Preventing Injury in Young Upper String Players
This study aims to identify injury triggers at the earliest stages of development, and to develop fun, interactive strategies for injury prevention in schools.
Based at the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, this study tracks the transition of new casual and permanent musicians into the orchestral workplace.
This study with anthropologist Phillip Moore examines the objectification—the embodied physical activity—within that work, and the impact of the workplace upon creative agency.
The professional growth of arts students: Developing professional identities and core skills
This project will develop tools and strategies for the collaborative delivery of core career competencies. It will question the adequacy of existing teacher development theories in relation to this cohort of ‘unintended’ teachers, trialling two initial steps identified from a pilot study conducted at WAAPA (above). The project will seek to develop a set of graduate attributes for the arts that align with the realities of practice. Goal: ALTC submission, April 2010.
Venues for the Performance of Live, Original Contemporary Music in Western Australia
(May to July, 2008).
This project, conducted for the DCA, will ascertain the current and future venue requirements for the State of Western Australia.
Identity development is a continuous process framed within changing social contexts, and it is particularly problematic for musicians and other artists whose work contradicts the mythologised image of the artist. This study examines the professional growth of performing arts students in relation to developing professional identities that are open to the many facets of artistic careers. This study is conducted in collaboration with the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.