Public Arts: The academy engaging with Main Roads WA, industry and community

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

2019 ACUADS Conference: Engagement


ACUADS - Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools


School of Arts and Humanities / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications




Adams, L., See, H., & Bell, F. (2020). Public Arts: the academy engaging with Main Roads WA, industry and community. 2019 ACUADS Conference: Engagement. Melbourne, Australia: RMIT & University of Melbourne.


This paper examines two public art works conducted by researchers, Lyndall Adams and Harrison See from the School of Arts & Humanities at Edith Cowan University in collaboration with Main Roads WA (MRWA), CPB Contractors (CPB), the community reference groups, and school children from (St Stephen’s School, Carramar and Kinross College, Kinross). The public artworks are site specific: designed specifically for, and responsive to the particular site through scale, material, form, concept and community consultation. The materials and methods will be discussed in terms of engagement between the academy, industry, and community. The paper will focus in part, on the research end-user’s evaluation and expectations of both projects. While the recent Australian Research Council’s, Engagement and Impact Assessment 2018–2019 National Report measures ‘units of assessment’ by effective interactions between researchers and research end-users outside of academia for the mutually beneficial transfer of knowledge, technologies, methods and resources, the bureaucratic foibles inherent inside the academy can add another level of administrative headache to the artist researcher’s workload. Industry partners are not free of frustrations given communities and community organisations use of social media as a democratising voice. However, as Senior Stakeholder and Community Relations Advisor at CPB Contractors, Fiona Bell knows only-to-well, Public art can express collective community values; reflecting how we see the world, enhance the built environment, transform the landscape, or question our assumptions.

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