RMIT Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President Professor Paul Gough, noting the number of countries now involved in research assessment, observes that a growing issue for the arts is how to position themselves on the ‘front foot’ in critical issues such as value for money and relevance to public benefit. Using the UK REF as a touchstone for case studies and advice, he explored the lessons that can be drawn from the recent ERA pilot exercise. He noted that universities with strong ERA records had not automatically shone in the impact/ engagement exercise, while in others, disciplines with ERA 2 ranking had delivered ‘mature’ impact results. This prompted a question of whether practice and community based researchers should focus on engagement and impact metrics rather than only NTRO excellence? Noting the need for HASS responsive indicators of impact and engagement, Professor Gough called upon artists and their institutions take an approach that would allow ‘the whole sector to take a step forward and not just a few institutions’.