24 May 2012: HEA (Higher Education Authority) Announces Review of Creative Arts and Media Programmes


The Higher Education Authority (HEA) announced today (24th May) that it is to appoint an international panel to review the provision of creative arts programmes in the Dublin region, the terms of reference for the review are below. It is expected to be completed in September. The review forms part of the agenda of reform of higher education set out in the ‘Programme for Government’ and in the ‘National Strategy for Higher Education’.

There are ten state funded art, design and media education institutions in the Dublin region with a further ten or so nationally. Many of these providers have long established and internationally renowned reputations. The ‘National Strategy for Higher Education’ identified the need for globally-oriented and internationally competitive higher education institutions with better coherence, greater complementarity and stronger operational efficiency during a time of increased demand and contracting resources. In the review, the HEA will require that particular attention is paid to the added value, educational and financial, and the synergies that can be achieved from greater levels of collaboration and consolidation of provision.

The review will also consider the scope for enhanced collaboration and synergies with further education providers of creative arts education in the Dublin region.  Commenting on the review, Tom Boland, Chief Executive of the HEA said,  “More effective collaboration in the provision of courses in the creative arts and media has great potential to create critical mass in the Dublin region and put Dublin more firmly on the international map, attracting students and, crucially, creative industries. This is an opportunity to build on our already strong international reputation in these disciplines and make a strong impact on job creation in related industries”.

The topic will also be covered in a presenation at the Get Together 2012 in Limerick on June 15th.

Terms of Reference

Higher Education Provision in the Creative Arts and Media in the Dublin Region
A review by the Higher Education Authority at the request of the Minister for Education and Skills

Context

There are four universities (TCD, UCD, DCU and NUIM), four institutes of technology (DIT, IADT, ITB and ITT Dublin), a specialist art college (NCAD) and the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM) in the Dublin area.

This number does not include the private providers, the teacher education colleges or the post-leaving certificate sector, and the proposed new iVersity initiative. Many of these providers have long established and internationally renowned reputations for excellence in teaching and research and most, to a greater or lesser extent, offer programmes in or related to the creative arts and media disciplines.

Over the past ten years, the Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI), the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) and national policy more generally has encouraged greater coordination of education and research provision locally and nationally and enhanced inter-institutional collaboration. More recently, the publication of a ‘National Strategy for Higher Education in Ireland’ has identified the need for globally-oriented and internationally competitive higher education institutions with better coherence, greater complementarity and stronger operational efficiency during a time of increased demand and contracting resources. The ‘Strategy’ acknowledges that the arts, humanities and social sciences have consistently attracted the largest numbers of students, and that Ireland has made a real global impact in these areas. It is therefore timely to look at higher education provision in the creative arts domain, to consider if Ireland’s needs and the realisation of opportunities, both nationally and internationally, are being best served by current institutional arrangements and configurations. In particular the extent and range of provision in the Dublin region raise issues of effectiveness and value for the public investment made, as well as issues relating to the scope for greater impact from the combined provision regionally, nationally and internationally. Institutions and providers to be included in the review are those, in the Dublin region, currently engaged in undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and postdoctoral study in the multiple fields of the creative arts and applied cultural practices.

These fields include, but may not be limited to;

  • Visual Arts: including fine art, decorative arts;
  • Film & Media: including broadcasting and animation;
  • Design: including fashion, craft, architecture, built environment, spatial, product, fashion and graphic design, design for stage and screen;
  • Performing Arts: including acting, dance, drama, music;
  • Literature and Languages; including creative writing, cultural criticism;
  • Creative Technologies: including communication technologies, gaming and applied technical arts;
  • Cultural and Heritage: including curation, tourism, arts management, culinary arts and enterprise.

Terms of reference

Having regard to national needs and international best practice models, conduct a study of creative arts and media education and research in the Dublin region to identify opportunities for the added value, educational and financial, and the creative synergies that can be achieved from greater levels of collaboration and consolidation.

In particular the review will:

  • Provide an overview of the position of creative arts and media education and research in the region so as to better understand and communicate what is being done in creative arts education and research and how and where is it being done.
  • Having regard to the over-riding requirement of ensuring the quality of creative arts and media education and research in the higher education sector, to review the coherence of provision and advise on the most appropriate configuration for the effective delivery of world leading teaching, learning and research in Dublin, including the structures necessary to take advantage of potentialities, address challenges and enhance Ireland’s position globally.

In carrying out the review the group should also consider –

  1. the emergence of practice-based arts education and its contribution to the development of expertise within education and more broadly in the creative/cultural industry sector;
  2. the contribution by the arts and creativity to communities, social cohesion and cultural understanding, and
  3. how Ireland and Irish higher education can benefit from thereputation of the achievements of Irish people in literature,music, and the arts.

It is intended that this review will be carried out over a four month period by an expert group of no more than three members supported by the executive of the Higher Education Authority. In carrying out its work the group will be informed by a background report on current provision as well as earlier publications and studies including the ‘National Strategy for Higher Education in Ireland’ and ‘Playing to Our Strengths – The role of the arts, humanities and social sciences and implications for public policy’ and ‘Assessment of the Economic Impact of the Arts in Ireland’.

Visual Artists Ireland’s current position

Visual Artists Ireland will host a discussion on the matter during Get Together 2012 as well as provide the visual arts sector with information as it becomes available.  We have sent initial questions to the HEA asking for the following clarification.

“Hi _______,

…At the moment we are discussing with our editorial team coverage of the review process.  In particular, our first question that will guide subsequent matters is the unique placement of Art & Design in third level provision and the equal placement of all art forms.

The question is:

Art forms such as theatre studies, acting, creative writing, etc sit with unique departments within the University model.  As Art & Design do not sit with departments within the university system, and are represented by colleges such as NCAD at that level, what process is in place to ensure that all art forms are equally represented at the University level?  This obviously raises the question of either removing theatre studies, acting, creative writing, etc from universities such as TCD and UCD, OR ensuring that Art & Design is also placed at that level.  We see this specific matter as outside of the rationalisation of education provision within the sector, but one that is vital in terms of the academic consideration being given to some and potentially not to other art forms.

We can understand that this matter is in an early stage, but it would be useful to understand what guidance is being offer in the consideration of this matter, and what the HEA policy is regarding the equal consideration of the varied art forms and their provision at University level?”