This inaugural edition of the UNESCO Observatory, Faculty ABP, UM refereed e-journal offers a variety of perspectives on the term “multi-disciplinary”, particularly in relation to the arts.
The arts often represent cultures as social organisms. In the context of the UNESCO Observatory and this refereed e-journal, the arts are strengthened and have greater meaning when orchestrated in harmony with a social voice, classical refinements, heritage values and contemporary re-creations.
The advent of the Industrialised and Computer Age has characterised by-products – globalisation, poverty, global warming, mental illness and neurosis, a devitalised proletariat and under-valued intelligentsia. The quest for materialism has often been at the expense of the spiritual and finer values of life. This refereed e-journal contrasts aspects of modern life, using the arts, culture and education as the lever.
Diverse themes from a wide variety of contributors and contrasting backgrounds constitute our first volume of twelve essays. Jose Buitrago, Professor of Environmental Design, Athens, Greece discusses the impact of heritage tourism on historic preservation and economic development in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Stuart Cunningham, Professor and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, presents a short insightful paper illuminating his experience in cultural and communication policy in relation to economic, legal and other specialist knowledge. Kate Ferguson, student from Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia writes of the multi-faceted experiences in the Global Studio where an architectural and urban design team of students and staff went to Zeyrek, Istanbul, Turkey with the aim to improve the lives of the people through their project.
Jaime Hernandez Garcia, from the School of Architecture and Design, University of Javeriana, Bogota, Columbia presents a paper demonstrating how community visions and cooperative efforts are more successful in shaping low income settlements in metropolitan Bogota. By contrast, Derham Groves, senior lecturer from the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at The University of Melbourne, Australia discusses one of Australia’s most popular and accessible artists, Pro Hart. Global advocacy for arts education is discussed in the essay by Ashfaq Ishaq, Executive Director of the Child Art Foundation, Washington DC, USA. He writes of its efforts achieving important social objectives through the integration of arts education with science, sport and technology. Margaret Kelaher, senior lecturer from the Centre for Health Policy, Programs and Economics at the University of Melbourne has written with Naomi Berman and the partnering research team, methodological approaches evaluating Community Arts for mental health.
John Langmore’s essay discusses the politics and negotiating factors in mobilizing support for development. He is the former Director of the United Nations Division for Social Policy and Development in New York and then Representative of the International Labour Organization to the United Nations. Elizabetta Lazzaro from the European Commission and the Economics Department, University of Padua, Italy presents her research on reforms in music education in Belgium and their impact on non-professional and professional music education. Maggie McCormick, artist and PHD candidate in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne presents cross-cultural, cross disciplinary perspectives and reflections on gender.
Jason Potts, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation at QUT, Queensland Australia, explores through his paper an evolutionary approach to the economics of the arts. Globalisation and its impact on the arts and culture of the Balkans is brought to light through the reflective analysis of Boris Previsic’s essay on cultural impacts in the Balkans.
Obviously the notion of the arts and culture in tandem with areas of multi-disciplinary themes and concerns, social, architectural, urban, environmental, economic, educational, health and community or the stand-alone ‘arts for arts sake’ approach, becomes evident through these essays. This first e-journal fulfils the mission of the UNESCO Observatory, to bring people together with shared interests in the arts and encourage activities that cross disciplinary divisions, drawing on the combined expertise of national and internationally recognised researchers.
Systematising significant and diverse experiences will provide evidence for the use of the arts across a multi-disciplinary education and promote the exchange of experiences internationally. The next five issues of this e-journal will be guest edited by eminent scholars with their chosen theme under the auspice of the UNESCO Observatory. These will appear bi-annually. Scholars, artists and students are welcomed to submit essays for review by an expert team of academics.
I would most sincerely like to thank the contributing authors; the associate editor, Naomi Berman; the designer, Vrushti Mawani; the copy editor, Irene Korsten; Tony Zara the manager of web and multi-media development and the expert reviewers for their fine contributions. The e-journal has been graciously supported by the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at The University of Melbourne, Australia.