Building bridges to policy makers

Friday, 21 January 2011

4 December 2009: Academics from Australian Catholic University (ACU) recently participated in HASS on the Hill, an event allowing research, education or practice professionals to discuss the value of their work with Members of Parliament.

HASS on the Hill
Dr Catherine Bell with the Hon. Peter Garrett AM MP

Dr Catherine Bell, Lecturer in Visual Arts, and History Lecturers Dr Noah Riseman, Professor Shurlee Swain and Professor Malcolm Prentis participated in the two-day event in Canberra, where researchers, educators, designers, artists and professional practitioners met with policy makers at Parliament House.

The 2009 Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences on the Hill (HASS) comes as the Government implements its Powering Ideas innovation agenda calling for more collaboration among researchers and between researchers and industry.

Dr Bell, who is also a successful artist, said the event was a unique way for the sector to explain the value of its knowledge and skills and contribute to meeting the challenges currently facing Australia.

"HASS on the Hill was a marvellous opportunity to network with the humanities sector and lobby parliamentarians about my individual research in visual arts, and how I channel this research into teaching and community arts initiatives," she said.

"The event was extremely beneficial for conveying the University's commitment to social justice and community engagement," she added.

"During my meeting with the Hon. Kevin Andrews MP, Minister for Ageing, I was able to discuss the recent Preserving Optimism Exhibition, which showcased the artworks from student-facilitated workshops with Sudanese women, children from Atherton Gardens and Catalyst-Clemente students."

HASS on the Hill's first day at the National Library of Australia featured a meeting of the delegates to explore common issues and priorities across the HASS sector. The Hon. Peter Garrett AM MP, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, addressed delegates at the National Press Club. Delegates then met with individual MPs and Senators at Parliament House.

Professor Linda Rosenman, President of the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences said, "HASS on the Hill is an exercise in knowledge transfer: Finding ways to make HASS practice and research contribute to a prosperous, inclusive, innovative and creative Australia."