Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Developing New Alliances in Higher Education Leadership and Governance: Autopoietic Application of the Arts Creative Capacities

Dr Cheryl R. Kerr.

Herminia Ibarra in “Working Identity” (2003) says that “change usually comes about by “‘doing’ first and ‘’knowing’ second”, such that in praxis “we evaluate alternatives according to criteria that changes as we do…where we end up often surprises us.”
Kerr and Drew (2003) argue that “building personal capacities for partnering and innovation creates the conditions in which personal growth can take place.” Such a development of these learning capacities is based on Boyer’s (Boyer 1990 in Ramsden 1998) four touchstones of change (Scholarships of discovery, integration, application, practice). It is significant in these contexts that Boyer places application and action on an equal plane with discovery. These interdependencies, which Kerr and Drew (2003) identified as “tapping into the best of participants’ inclusive attitudes, skills, visions and unique contributions for the goals to be achieved,” allow development of capacities for innovation and the ‘taking ownership’ of changing the ‘climate’/culture of our organisations. Such applications and actions butt up against normative notions of governance and risk management.
This paper, underpinned by a newly developed framework of foundational alliances amongst principles of both the arts/Creative Industries and leadership/governance, argues that open forms of creativity in the ‘arts’ provide opportunity for significant impact upon concepts of leadership, governance and risk. Such an alliance (based on the creation of an interactive and interpretive academic leadership development program at Queensland University of Technology called Leadership Jazz) suggests that different uses of the creative capacity of the ‘arts’ has both relevant application and practice in alleged ‘non-creative’ areas of academe, and particularly in areas of leadership and governance.
This work will also examine corollaries between autopoietic and holistic principles within creative industries and autopoietic and holistic principles of good leadership and good governance, while examining their mutual implications for organisational culture and the organisational quality of leadership and management decision-making transformations and systems.


Dr Cheryl R. Kerr  (Australia)
Principal HR Advisor
Human Resources, Division of Administrative Services
Queensland University of Technology

Dr Cheryl Kerr, EdD, BSc, FAIM, leads the Academic Devlopment program at QUT, focusing on new academics through to Associate Professors at QUT. She has taught at Simon Fraser University in Canada, and at Southern Cross University in Coffs Harbour Australia; she ran her own drama school in Coffs Harbour, and studied film and music in the USA and Canada. She also studied film history at the National Film Board of Canada, and received a grant in Australia to do a documentary on the history of the Eisteddfod in Australia. She is a member of and published in National Association for the Humanities Education Association journal "interdisciplinary humanities."

  • Creative industries
  • Autopoiesis
  • Leadership, risk & governance
  • Decision-making
  • Academic leadership development

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)