Skip to content

Learning and Teaching

The digital economy will transform industries for the next few decades. Australia is located in the Asia Pacific region, the fastest growing economic region in the world which will be home to the largest middle class in the history of the world. The Sia Furler Institute is designed to address these unique and powerful opportunities. While the Sia Furler Institute is housed in the Elder Conservatorium, just like Sia herself, the Institute has a broad focus on multiple areas from music to computer science; from media to politics; even from business to health and wellbeing.

Initiated by the Faculty of Arts, but its interdisciplinary nature makes it suitable for students in any program. In addition to promoting specific industry classes, University of Adelaide students have the opportunity to attend classes at the Business School focusing on creative industries and leadership as well as collaborate with entrepreneurs at the Innovation Hub.  Institute business classes focusing on industry verticals help prepare students for the unfolding digital world. Students from music and media may also collaborate on projects in a cross-functional environment.

Adelaide graduates will enter a world of uncertainty – a rapidly changing social, political and economic environment. How does university study help students become good citizens ready for an unpredictable career path? Surveys of employers, whether local or global, show that adaptability to changing circumstances is already highly valued. Even in professions such as medicine and engineering, where a university degree has always been essential, employers value transferable skills - critical thinking, creativity, communication, teamwork, self-awareness.

Modern universities seek to ensure that graduates have these capabilities, and they can and should be taught in concert with discipline-specific content. To ensure that every Adelaide graduate has these skills, we are developing inter-disciplinary experiences that concentrate on transferable skills and which encourage work in teams with students with quite different capabilities.

The Spine: Critical Thinking, Creativity and Innovation

The purpose of this progression through three levels is to encourage students to apply their disciplinary knowledge and academic skills to problems that are gradually more complex, multi-disciplinary and grounded in contemporary social and economic issues. The Spine gets students out of the regular lecture-tutorial format to undertake self-directed learning with a view to their post-University futures.

Level 1 concentrates on principles of knowledge, uncertainty and creativity, with an introduction to working in teams. Level 2 introduces more complicated issues and methodologies, and aims to develop greater skills in numeracy and statistics. Level 3 aims to provide students with an experience in using the skills developed at Level 1 and 2, combined with their disciplinary knowledge to a range of inter-disciplinary activities.

Level One: The Enquiring Mind

  • Fundamental skills in critical thinking, research and communication.
  • Challenges students to consider their own skills and ways of thinking, and how their capabilities fit into a diverse team.

Level Two: Complex Problem Solving

  • Greater emphasis on self-directed learning and understanding when and how to deploy various skills and methodologies.
  • Teams solve multi-faceted problems within and between academic disciplines, as well as problems presented by public and private groups from outside the university.

Level Three: Enriched Interdisciplinary Experiences

  • Expands the extent of cooperation across disciplines and faculties to give students a more realistic sense of their post-university environment.
  • Students are encouraged to complement their disciplinary specialisation with a complementary skill set. The first example is High Note, The Australian eChallenge, which encourages musicians to explore innovation and entrepreneurship.

Guest Speaker Series

Regular lecture series on Innovation & Creativity from industry and government leaders focusing on disruption and opportunities are presented to University of Adelaide students.

Sia Furler Institute for
Contemporary Music and Media

Madley Building


T: +61 8 8313 3713
F: +61 8 8313 4423