Project

Making music work: Sustainable portfolio careers for Australian musicians

Goal: Making Music Work explores the conditions and strategies needed for musicians to sustain successful portfolio careers. This project is funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant (2016 - 2019), and is a partnership between the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University, the Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Music Trust, Creative Victoria, Culture and the Arts (WA), Curtin University and the University of South Australia.

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Project log

Dawn Bennett
added 3 research items
[NOTE: An Open Access version of this manuscript will be available shortly.] Research in higher music education acknowledges a persistent divide between performance studies and the realities of musicians’ work. Alongside this is global pressure for curriculum that is more supportive of students’ metacognitive engagement, experiential learning and career preparation. However, the provision of these curricular elements is insufficient unless students recognise their value and engage in them at a deep level; this is because career-long employability in precarious industries such as music is underpinned by life-long and self-regulated learning. This study featured a scaffolded employability intervention with seven student musicians at a European institution. The study had three aims: to understand the students’ career-related thinking and confidence; to determine whether the intervention might be scalable; and to gauge the intervention’s potential efficacy in helping students to become conscious of their learner identity. Results indicate that student musicians are aware of the need to extend their professional capabilities but unaware of how to address these deficits. Participants realised that “learning how to learn” would help them achieve personal-professional goals. The findings suggest that similar in-curricular interventions have the potential to foster a more holistic vision of performance education such that aspiring musicians might graduate as both skilled professionals and agentic learners.
A breadth of literature on music education and careers illustrates that the working lives of musicians are diverse and complex, and yet music graduates appear to struggle to create and sustain their careers. With a focus on career, curriculum and pedagogical approaches, this chapter considers how and in what contexts musicians develop the multiple musical identities under which the complex work of a musician might be negotiated. The chapter’s empirical component explores the narratives of 24 students enrolled at an Australian conservatorium. The students reported a range of experience in both music and non-music work, and the capacity to shift their musician identity in line with specific work and learning situations. The data revealed complex relationships between participants’ experiences of concurrent formal learning and work. Gendered differences in the types and reporting of work emerged. Of note, most male musicians self-assessed as more confident than their female peers in each of five quantitative measures ranging from academic self-efficacy to ethical and responsible behaviour. Rather than providing a core curriculum for practice and critical thinking for potential music workers, we argue that tertiary education should contribute to the musician identity that is already developing on the basis of students’ early music and non-music work.
Dawn Bennett
added a research item
COVID-19 has had a profound impact on how music is taught and practised, not least because the reliance of so many musical activities on physical proximity has been turned on its head. With virtual lessons and ensembles becoming the norm, the move to online has challenged music educators to consider how we might do things differently in the future. This includes what we want to teach, who we want to have access to education, and for which careers we might be preparing students. The three-year Making Music Work (MMW) study examined the life and work experiences of over 600 Australian musicians (Bartleet, et. al., 2020). The report shares how musicians make their portfolio careers "work"-that is, how they build and sustain their careers. We also asked about their education and work histories, their motivations and feelings about music and work, and their experiences of being a musician in Australia.
Dawn Bennett
added an update
We are so pleased to share with everyone our final report, musician case study profiles and fact sheets.
Please share and use these freely - we are happy for them to be included on your sites and shared with colleagues and students. You can also access everything at our website: https://makingmusicwork.com.au/
Yours in music,
Making Music Work was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant and led by Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre (QCRC), Griffith University, with industry partners, Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, Western Australian Government –
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), and institutional partner Curtin University.
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
We are so pleased to share with everyone our final report, musician case study profiles and fact sheets.
Please share and use these freely - we are happy for them to be included on your sites and shared with colleagues and students. You can also access everything at our website: https://makingmusicwork.com.au/
Yours in music,
Making Music Work was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant and led by Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre (QCRC), Griffith University, with industry partners, Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, Western Australian Government –
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), and institutional partner Curtin University.
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
We are so pleased to share with everyone our final report, musician case study profiles and fact sheets.
Please share and use these freely - we are happy for them to be included on your sites and shared with colleagues and students. You can also access everything at our website: https://makingmusicwork.com.au/
Yours in music,
Making Music Work was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant and led by Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre (QCRC), Griffith University, with industry partners, Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, Western Australian Government –
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), and institutional partner Curtin University.
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
We are so pleased to share with everyone our final report, musician case study profiles and fact sheets.
Please share and use these freely - we are happy for them to be included on your sites and shared with colleagues and students. You can also access everything at our website: https://makingmusicwork.com.au/
Yours in music,
Making Music Work was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant and led by Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre (QCRC), Griffith University, with industry partners, Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, Western Australian Government –
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), and institutional partner Curtin University.
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
We are so pleased to share with everyone our final report, musician case study profiles and fact sheets.
Please share and use these freely - we are happy for them to be included on your sites and shared with colleagues and students. You can also access everything at our website: https://makingmusicwork.com.au/
Yours in music,
Making Music Work was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant and led by Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre (QCRC), Griffith University, with industry partners, Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, Western Australian Government –
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), and institutional partner Curtin University.
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
We are so pleased to share with everyone our final report, musician case study profiles and fact sheets.
Please share and use these freely - we are happy for them to be included on your sites and shared with colleagues and students.
You can also access everything at our website: https://makingmusicwork.com.au/
Yours in music,
Making Music Work was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant and led by Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre (QCRC), Griffith University, with industry partners, Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, Western Australian Government –
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), and institutional partner Curtin University.
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
We are so pleased to share with everyone our final report, musician case study profiles and fact sheets.
Please share and use these freely - we are happy for them to be included on your sites and shared with colleagues and students.
You can also access everything at our website: https://makingmusicwork.com.au/
Yours in music,
Making Music Work was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant and led by Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre (QCRC), Griffith University, with industry partners, Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, Western Australian Government –
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), and institutional partner Curtin University.
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
We are so pleased to share with everyone our final report, musician case study profiles and fact sheets.
Please share and use these freely - we are happy for them to be included on your sites and shared with colleagues and students.
You can also access everything at our website: https://makingmusicwork.com.au/
Yours in music,
Making Music Work was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant and led by Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre (QCRC), Griffith University, with industry partners, Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, Western Australian Government –
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), and institutional partner Curtin University.
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
We are so pleased to share with everyone our final report, musician case study profiles and fact sheets.
Please share and use these freely - we are happy for them to be included on your sites and shared with colleagues and students.
You can also access everything at our website: https://makingmusicwork.com.au/
Yours in music,
Making Music Work was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant and led by Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre (QCRC), Griffith University, with industry partners, Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, Western Australian Government –
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), and institutional partner Curtin University.
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
We are so pleased to share with everyone our final report, musician case study profiles and fact sheets.
Please share and use these freely - we are happy for them to be included on your sites and shared with colleagues and students.
You can also access everything at our website: https://makingmusicwork.com.au/
Yours in music,
Making Music Work was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant and led by Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre (QCRC), Griffith University, with industry partners, Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, Western Australian Government –
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), and institutional partner Curtin University.
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
Colleagues,
We are delighted to report that the ARC Linkage project Making Music Work: Sustainable Careers for Australia Musicians is now complete. We write to thank you for your support and engagement and to ask your help with sharing the findings.
We launched the project’s final industry report at an online event with musicians, industry professionals, academics, and partners from across Australia. If you would like to access a recording of the launch, please email: qcrc@griffith.edu.au
Making Music Work has mapped the creative, social, cultural, and economic realities of the portfolio music career in Australia, and drawn on insights from over 600 musicians to provide a nuanced and granular understanding of their working lives, career trajectories, creative aspirations, and economic circumstances.
While this research was completed prior to the COVID-19 global pandemic, its findings indicate why music has been among the first and hardest hit industries in the current health crisis, and could be among the slowest to recover. As such, our findings provide significant insights for musicians, as well as the music and broader arts sectors both now and into the post-COVID-19 recovery phase.
Our website has been updated with our suite of industry outputs, which are all free to download. This includes a 100+ page industry report, a summary brochure, a package of fact sheets from our survey findings, and a suite of musician profiles from our interviews. You can click on the thumbnails below to directly access these outputs. These will be hosted on our website and available for download for three years.
In addition to our outputs, you might be interested to read a story about our research in The Australian this week (featuring one of our participants Danielle Bentley) and a piece the team have written in The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/a-long-way-to-the-top-australian-musicians-balance-multiple-roles-to-make-their-careers-work-140840#comment_2255992
We will continue to publish on themes stemming from our findings in the coming years, and will share these outputs with you via our Making Music Work social media channels.
We encourage you to also consider how you might wish to build on the findings and recommendations of this project, and we would be happy to hear from you to discuss any ideas. You can contact the Research Team via the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University at qcrc@griffith.edu.au
Thank you again for your engagement.
Warmest wishes, Brydie-Leigh Bartleet and Dawn Bennett
Brydie-Leigh Bartleet Ruth Bridgstock Scott D Harrison @Vanessa Tomlinson, Paul Draper and RA @Christina Ballico
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
This call for chapters comes from colleague Private Profile at Indiana.
Creative arts professions remain in a period of flux. As the music industry and related fields
adapt to changing business models, student interest in training for a career in the entertainment
sector continues to rise. Though the expansion of global degree offerings in the creative
industries expands each year, a “state of the field” on educational and pedagogical issues in the
music business and the creative industries has yet to be created.
University educators serve a crucial purpose in preparing future graduates for a highly
competitive path in the gig economy. The Editor invites proposals from a broad range of scholars
and industry professionals working in the creative arts for the compendium, tentatively
scheduled for release in early 2022. Discussions are underway with a publisher with details to
be completed this summer.
See the attached for details!
 
Dawn Bennett
added a research item
Whilst recent research has begun to expose the early career experiences of graduate musicians, few studies have looked at musicians’ work across the career lifespan. This short article reports from a study that analysed the work of musicians in early, mid and late-career. The study used lifespan perspective theory to understand how musicians select and optimise their opportunities, the strategies they employ to maintain their desired level and type of work, and the impact of career decision making on their musician identities. The findings suggest that when higher music education fails to develop the practice of student musicians — to educate the whole musician — musicians’ financial, emotional and physical well-being are negatively impacted not just in early career but across the career lifespan. Opportunities for changing higher music education programs include engaging students in work integrated learning (WIL) experiences; recognising and fostering the existing and previous practice of student musicians; and modelling the “protean” musician career as the career norm throughout history rather than as a new phenomenon.
Dawn Bennett
added a research item
This article discusses a range of significant issues for consideration by music higher education institutions when preparing their students for a portfolio career in music. Drawing on insights from a review of literature undertaken as part of an Australian Research Council Linkage Project, Making Music Work: Sustainable portfolio careers for Australian musicians, the article explores the dynamic structure of the music sector and the ways in which musicians are undertaking a portfolio of roles in order to ensure financial and creative sustainability. In particular, the article focuses on five career and educational issues of importance: enterprise and entrepreneurship, mobility, digitisation, gender parity, and health and wellbeing – when preparing graduates for a portfolio career reality.
Dawn Bennett
added an update
50 free copies of the article are available here: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/2KNuMcxBI3hcfhd3evsp/full?target=10.1080/14613808.2019.1598348
This article with Brydie-Leigh Bartleet Christina Ballico, @Vanessa Tomlinson, Ruth Bridgstock and Paul Draper discusses a range of significant issues for consideration by music higher education institutions when preparing their students for a portfolio career in music. Drawing on insights from a review of literature undertaken as part of an Australian Research Council Linkage Project, Making Music Work: Sustainable portfolio careers for Australian musicians, the article explores the dynamic structure of the music sector and the ways in which musicians are undertaking a portfolio of roles in order to ensure financial and creative sustainability. In particular, the article focuses on five career and educational issues of importance: enterprise and entrepreneurship, mobility, digitisation, gender parity, and health and wellbeing – when preparing graduates for a portfolio career reality.
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
Abstract
The creative industries workforce requires employees that use ICT applications to solve the knowledge related tasks at work. The aim of this research is twofold: (1) to see if previously cited twenty-first century digital skills are suited to the creative industries workforce and (2) to investigate the extent to which skill development get attention in current organizational practices. In-depth
interviews were conducted with a sample of 24 managers and senior executives of creative organizations based in the Netherlands. As a guideline for the interviews, a conceptual twenty-first
century digital skills framework was used. This framework presented the following seven core skills supported by the use of ICT: technical, information management, communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving. The following five contextual skills that play a role when using ICT were also presented: ethical awareness, cultural awareness, flexibility, self-direction,
and lifelong learning. The results support the importance of twenty-first century digital skills, however, there seems to be insufficient attention to the levels of these skills; they play a minor role during the selection and evaluation procedures. Often it is assumed that existing digital skills are sufficient. Managers are encouraged to improve on developing requirements necessary for future employees as well as measurements to ensure current employees skill levels. The developed framework might be used as a management tool for indicating skills that need to be assessed among professionals working in the creative industries.
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
Just came across a new lit review and empirical study from Norway. Lovely work here!
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
Great to see the proceedings published with several relevant papers for our research.
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
This week, employABILITY thinking launched the new music toolkit with a great resource titled Compose your future. The educator version is attached :)
The book in which some of the originals were published is titled Life in the real world: How to make music graduates employable and is available as an e-book and in hard copy. Compose your future helps students to recognise the relevance of a unit (course) of study to their future lives and work. For this reason, it is a really useful inclusion in common core and foundation units.
 
Dawn Bennett
added a research item
Women composers are an under-studied population within the creative workforce. This study reports on 225 surveys with women composers internationally. Using a human capital lens, we aim to shed more light on the nature of women composers' careers and their career trajectories, focusing more specifically on the way they work, how they enter the industry, how they build a reputation, and how they support and sustain their careers. The survey consisted of mostly open-ended questions alongside selected closed questions; data were analyzed using content analysis. Findings highlight the composers' relationships with performers, the importance of networks and social capital, the role of social media and online presence, family support and external funding, and the prevalence of multiple roles due to changing career aspirations. Implications of these findings indicate a need to better prepare women for a career in music composition, the need for more grant and funding options, the need for composers to effectively use the online space to enhance visibility and find support and the need for a collaborative effort to reduce gender inequity in the industry.
Dawn Bennett
added an update
As the project heads into its final 6 months and ahead of the national roundtable, the team here at Curtin created a research poster to share with colleagues. Private Profile , Brydie-Leigh Bartleet
 
Dawn Bennett
added a research item
This is a short article on what musicians do for a living, using data reported in scholarly articles and presented in a form that is appropriate for the lay reader.
Private Profile
added an update
Are you a musician working in performance or teaching, working with community groups, or working in the health sector or retail? Do you self-manage, self-produce or even self-promote? Do you work a regular day job while pursuing your music?  Making music work: Sustainable Portfolio Careers for Australian Musicians, seeks to understand the conditions and strategies needed for Australian musicians to sustain dynamic careers in an ever-changing musical landscape. We are now inviting musicians from all around the country to share their experiences in our online survey at www.makingmusicwork.com.au/survey (.) By participating you can go into the draw to win an iPad. This project has received financial support of an ARC Linkage Grant (LP 150100497) and is being led by the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University (ethics approval 2016/524).📷
 
Dawn Bennett
added 2 research items
Career decision-making is arguably at its most complex within professions where work is precarious and career calling is strong. This article reports from a study that examined the career decision-making of creative industries workers, for whom career decisions can impact psychological well-being and identity just as much as they impact individuals’ work and career. The respondents were 693 creative industries workers who used a largely open-ended survey to create in-depth reflections on formative moments and career decision-making. Analysis involved the theoretical model of self-authorship, which provides a way of understanding how people employ their sense of self to make meaning of their experiences. The self-authorship process emerged as a complex, non-linear and consistent feature of career decision-making. Theoretical contributions include a non-linear view of self-authorship that exposes the authorship of visible and covert multiple selves prompted by both proactive and reactive identity work.
Recent decades have seen gender and feminist research emerge as major fields of enquiry in musicology and to a far lesser extent, music education. While these fields have increased awareness of the issues confronting women and other marginalised groups, the pedagogical practices and curricular design that might support aspiring women composers are in urgent need of attention. This article reports from an international survey of women composers (n=225), who in western art music continue to experience a masculine bias that has its roots in the past. The findings in the survey were focused on income, work and learning, relationships and networks, and gender. Numerous composers surveyed noted the under-representation of music composed by women in their higher education curricula. They also described their unpreparedness for a career in music. The article explores the issue of gender in music composition and makes practical recommendations for a more gender balanced music curriculum in higher education.
Gareth Dylan Smith
added an update
Cartwright, P.A. & Smith, G.D. (2013) Innovation and Value in Networks for Emerging Musicians. In N. Pfeffermann, Marshall, T. & Mortara, L. (eds.) Strategies and Communications for Innovations: An Integrative Management View for Companies and Networks. New York: Springer, pp. 437-445.
 
Gareth Dylan Smith
added an update
Cremata, R., Pignato, J., & Powell, B., & Smith, G.D. (2016) Let’s Take This Outside: Flash
Study Analysis and the Music Learning Profiles Project. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, 15 (5), 51-80.
 
Gareth Dylan Smith
added an update
Smith, G.D. (2013) Seeking “Success” in Popular Music. Music Education Research
International, no. 6, pp. 26-37.
 
Gareth Dylan Smith
added an update
Smith, G.D. (2016) (Un)popular Music Making and Eudaimonia. In R. Mantie & G.D.
Smith (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Music Making and Leisure. New York: Oxford
University Press, pp. 151-170.
 
Gareth Dylan Smith
added an update
Adding a project about DIY musicianship, identity realization and entrepreneurship/creativities.
 
Dawn Bennett
added 60 research items
Traditional pedagogies in the arts in higher education focus largely on the studio experience in which a novice artist studies under one or more master teachers (e.g., Don, Garvey & Sadeghpour, 2009). In more recent times, however, a shift in higher education curriculum and pedagogy in the arts has expanded this traditional conservatory model of training to include, amongst other components, career self-management and enterprise creation -- in a word, entrepreneurship. This chapter examines the developing field of arts enterprise and arts entrepreneurship in higher education in a multinational context, with a particular emphasis on programs at the university level. The field is contextualized within the broader landscape of the creative industries and the consequent development of knowledge, skills, and the habits of mind necessary for artistic venture creation, sustainability, and success. While the discourse about learning and teaching for business entrepreneurship is well established (e.g., Fiet, 2001), equivalent conversations about arts enterprise and entrepreneurship have only recently begun to occur (Beckman, 2007, 2011; Essig, 2009). This chapter will address the contested definitions of key terms and concepts and also the question of how arts educators, while mindful of the pedagogic traditions of the arts school, are also drawing on the pedagogies of business entrepreneurship and cognitive theories of entrepreneurship to create innovative new trans-disciplinary signature pedagogies for creative enterprise and entrepreneurship education in the arts. http://eprints.qut.edu.au/47942/
Musicians are acknowledged to lead complex working lives, often characterised as portfolio careers. The higher music education research literature has tended to focus on preparing students for rich working lives and multiple identity realisations across potential roles. Extant literature does not address the area of work-life balance, which this paper begins to explore, as the authors seek to better understand potential challenges around combining music graduates' multivariate ambitions, commitments and identities as musicians in the world. Rich data are presented, following interviews with professional musicians in London, UK, discussing health, portfolio careers and family. The authors conclude that more research is required to gain a deeper understanding of work-life balance for musicians, and that pedagogical approaches in higher music education could more effectively help students to prepare for their futures in a more holistic way.
In this article, the author considers how music can expand the creative possibilities of autoethnography. Likewise, the author explores how autoethnography can offer musicians a means to reflect on their creative work in culturally insightful ways. To “play out” these disciplinary considerations,the author crafts an autoethnographic narrative that centers on her own creative practice as a conductor. Moving between description and action, dialogue and introspection, the narrative reveals some of the complexities of reflecting and writing about music in this way. While this narrative is grounded in the author's lived experiences, it reveals significant broader issues about the process of doing autoethnography, the conducting profession, and the culture and practice of music-making at large. Yes Yes
Dawn Bennett
added an update
These papers are for everyone interested in instrumental and vocal music teaching. The bottom three come from a colleagues based at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Guadalupe López-Íñiguez
We include these here because of the importance of instrumental and vocal tuition to the preparation of musicians.
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
This lecture was given in Helsinki last month and outlines why research such as this is so vitally important. The lecture URL is here, and an adapted version of the PPt is attached.
If you are a musician or have music networks, please share the link to our survey at www.makingmusicwork.com.au
 
Private Profile
added an update
I'm excited to share the news that we have just launched one of the largest national surveys into the working lives of Australian musicians! We would appreciate your assistance with promoting our research through your networks, and for those of you who are musicians, to take the time to complete our survey.
Are you a musician working in performance or teaching, working with community groups, or working in the health sector or retail? Do you self-manage, self-produce or even self-promote? Do you work a regular day job while pursuing your music?  Making music work: Sustainable Portfolio Careers for Australian Musicians, seeks to understand the conditions and strategies needed for Australian musicians to sustain dynamic careers in an ever-changing musical landscape. We are now inviting musicians from all around the country to share their experiences in our online survey at www.makingmusicwork.com.au/survey
By participating you can go into the draw to win an iPad.This project has received financial support of an ARC Linkage Grant (LP 150100497) and is being led by the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University (ethics approval 2016/524).
 
Dawn Bennett
added an update
To sustain successful musical lives at the beginning of the 21st century, most musicians have protean careers, combining aspects of performance, recording, creation, music direction, teaching, community activities, health, retail and a presence in online environments. This research is being undertaken via an ARC Linkage grant, in partnership with the Australian Council for the Arts, the Department of Culture and the Arts, Arts NSW, Creative Victoria, and Music Trust.
We are about to launch the online survey of musicians and would love your help. If you can help, please let me know - the link will be ready next week.
 
Dawn Bennett
added 2 project references
Private Profile
added a project goal
Making Music Work explores the conditions and strategies needed for musicians to sustain successful portfolio careers. This project is funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant (2016 - 2019), and is a partnership between the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University, the Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Music Trust, Creative Victoria, Culture and the Arts (WA), Curtin University and the University of South Australia.