As the national peak body for teaching and researching of screen production practices in the tertiary landscape, the Australian Screen Production Education and Research Association (ASPERA) represents academics from 18 institutions across the country. Membership is formally currently held at an institutional level, but the ASPERA community comprises an active group of academics working in regional and metropolitan centres, who are connected via an annual conference, symposia, and collaborative project work in hardspace and online.
Contemporary screen-based creative practice is increasingly employed inside (and beyond) the academy. It forms part of teaching delivery, preparation, online teaching and equally, contributes to research in data gathering, outputs, engagement and impact. Screen production has a significant reach in communicating knowledge and plays an important translational role in disseminating knowledge across the breadth of academic disciplines in addition to having strong merit in its own right as a teaching and research form.
ASPERA is working towards better recognition of the myriad practices occurring in teaching and research by screen production academics nationally. We would like to work more closely with policy makers to better support screen production inputs and outputs in the overlapping spheres of arts, culture and education across not only our disciplines but also more widely across humanities and STEM disciplines in the academy and industry. We see much of our screen production practices as collaborative and so seek out opportunities to partner with industry, with government, and with each other in research, teaching and engagement contexts equally. ASPERA promotes the equivalence and value of creative Non Traditional Research Outputs alongside more traditional text-based research outcomes and feels there is still much recognition work to be done at individual institutions going forward.
One of the key immediate challenges for ASPERA is how to best contribute to tangible and meaningful cultural and societal change regarding diversity in screen production. Our industries and individuals within them have been some of the most publicly visible called to account regarding diversity in recent times. There is much work still to be done both behind the camera to ensure opportunities and creative freedom for a more representative group of practitioners and in front of the camera to celebrate the multitude of stories, voices and faces that reflect the talent, cultures and society we co-create.
Tertiary institutions have an important partnership role to play in working with industry and government toward more diverse representations both on screen and in production. We engage in this set of issues through our teaching instruction and research activities in which we establish and maintain positive cultures and professional expectations alongside reflecting on this when we come together at conferences and through project work. We live this in our external engagement and most importantly, nuanced understandings and dealings between the education and screen industries. We aim to better document what diversity looks and sounds like for us in screen production and establish enforceable diversity standards with the joint support of industry and government.