ACUADS Conference

Esther Anatolitis will present a keynote address at the 2019 ACUADS CONFERENCE: Engagement, 31 October – 1 November, Melbourne.

The 2019 ACUADS Conference, will focus on the meaning of engagement for contemporary art and design schools: across disciplines, nationalities and cultures; but also with industries, communities and the world at large.


Our guiding principle was that design is neither an intellectual nor a material affair,  but simply an integral part of the stuff of life, necessary for everyone in a civilized society.

Walter Gropius

2019 marks the centenary of the founding of the Weimar State Bauhaus by Walter Gropius. Revolutionising models of art, design and architecture education at the time, the school drew on interdisciplinary ideals, international parameters and a deeply held social conscience. Gropius established the archetypal Modernist school by engaging across media, disciplines, cultures, classes and genders, with a deep commitment to the material, the applied and the experimental. These aspirations still ring true one hundred years later, although the models and context have changed.

The Australian Research Council‘s new Engagement assessment rates universities and fields of research on a low, medium, high, scale for:

Engagement: “interaction between researchers and research end-users outside of academia”

Impact: “contribution the research made to the economy, society, environment or culture, beyond the contribution to academic research”

In 2019, how do we demonstrate value without instrumentalising creativity? How do we research in order to achieve impact but also to explore the unknown? How do we educate to achieve innovation but remain connected to history? How do we sustain a critical commentary on society whilst receiving the rewards and resourcing? What can we learn from indigenous perspectives on engagement?  In the year when the Excellence in Research for Australia framework has articulated the first sector-wide measures of impact and engagement, we ask: does engagement allow new futures for art and design schools, or has engagement become a dirty word?

The conference, Engagement, will be held in Melbourne, Victoria 31 October and 1 November, co-hosted by the School of Art and School of Design, RMIT University, and the Victorian College of the Arts and the Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne.