A bunch of links: casualised higher education labour, Hollywood movie betting, collapsing business models in TV, whingeing arts administrators, Siva Vaidhyanathan lecture, and more

From around the blogosphere and the web – some links:

1. In the Chronicle of Higher Education, Peter Conn argues we need to acknowledge that “full-time tenured and tenure-track jobs in the humanities are endangered by half a dozen trends, most of them long-term.” Heading the list is casualisation, followed by older faculty who refuse to retire, the rise of for-profit higher education and a university system that continues to pump out PhDs.

2. Clay Shirky calls on the guru of complex systems theory, Joseph Tainter, to explain the current predicament of television production as a business model. Bottom-line:

The most watched minute of video made in the last five years shows baby Charlie biting his brother’s finger. (Twice!) That minute has been watched by more people than the viewership of American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, and the Superbowl combined. (174 million views and counting.)

Some video still has to be complex to be valuable, but the logic of the old media ecoystem, where video had to be complex simply to be video, is broken.

3. The high arts lobby starts to get shirty with the lack of hand-outs from Peter Garrett, as a number of arts administrators whinge to Michaela Boland in The Australian. Notice the parade of usual suspects, including a festival director, a couple of theatre company managers and the CEO of the Australian Council. Because that’s what “the arts” is for journalists like Michaela Boland.

4. Siva Vaidhyanathan is giving a lecture at Vanderbilt University, which be podcast on Thursday. I’ll post something about that this week.

5. Lyn Gardner in the Guardian profiles artist-led communities.

6. By way of Tyler Cowen, a New York Times article about Hollywood’s quest to prevent betting markets. Both the Cantor futures exchange and Veriana Networks would allow investors to buy or sell — or “short” — contracts based on a movie’s box-office receipts, in essence betting on how well a film will do when released in theaters.

Ralph Meyers gets the Belvoir gig


Ralph Meyers and Neil Armfield (source: Sydney Morning Herald).

Score 1 for the younger generation, but 0 for gender diversity: designer Ralph Meyers has been appointed as the new Artistic Director of  Sydney’s Company B Belvoir contemporary theatre company.

The appointment marks a trend gathering pace in Australian and international theatre, as designers come to new prominence in leadership roles. In Melbourne, for example, designer Anna Tregloan has gone from strength to strength as a theatrical producer and director, while in Europe designer Romeo Castelluci’s visually sumptuous interpretations of Dante are making him the darling of the international festival circuit.

On the other hand, the appointment will do nothing to appease those, like Brisbane theatre blogger Katherine Lyall-Watson, who are calling for far more gender equity on and behind Australian stages.

Meyers describes his role as akin to a festival director, which I find interesting:

”As an artistic associate at Belvoir, I have come to realise that the role of artistic director is akin to running a festival. You assemble teams, curate programs and inspire artists.”

Elsewhere: Read the official announcement from company B Belvoir.

Special post 1: a round-up of the academic festivals literature

Today I present a poston the academic literature of arts festivals, focussing on a number of key papers in the field.

This Report has been prompted by my commission to write an essay for Meanjin Quarterly on arts festivals in Australia, but can be expected to have broader relevance to arts policy and management professionals working in the field. Continue reading