RUPC #7: How artistic research ends
Butt, Danny. (2020) How artistic research ends. Surpllus Pty Ltd in co-operation with the Research Unit in Public Cultures, the University of Melbourne, RUPC #7/Surpllus #13.5
All research must be assessed in order to make funding decisions, but in a nationally integrated system only one assessment instrument will be developed to fit all disciplines. Therefore, all scholarly activity that happens in universities will become research. Artistic practice in the university becomes research regardless of its adherence to historical frameworks of knowledge in the scientific sense, or its connection to an art world conception of what might constitute a research-driven practice.
As existing programmes undergo rationalisation and consolidation, what if the already declining research funding for the arts will no longer be a major part of the economic calculus in universities? What if government, rather than making more or less good faith attempts to rein in tertiary education spending through effective modes of research assessment, decides it can’t deal with the problem and an easier option is to stop funding creative arts, humanities and social sciences research entirely? What if, in other words, artistic research ends? Danny Butt proposes four likely ends for artistic research: a cut; a cultural shift; a cramp; and a coup.