The Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Science (FASS) failed to finance SASS’ annual literary journal, ARNA, until two hours before its launch event, despite it being the publication’s centenary edition.
ARNA is published by the Society of Arts and Social Sciences (SASS), which every year sets aside $2000 for its elected publication directors to compile the journal. The remaining costs are normally paid for with FASS’ contribution, which in recent years has been an additional $2000.
ARNA’s funding covers printing costs, as well as venue hire, catering, photographer and performer fees at the annual party to thank contributors and launch the publication.
“The process of applying for funding was quite fraught with our timeline even though we’d planned everything out well in advance,” said Robin Eames, one of the two publication directors for 2018.
“For a while there we weren’t sure if things would work out.”
The process for FASS funding involves the ARNA’s directors meeting with the Dean annually. After doing so this year, Honi understands that the current Dean, Professor Annamarie Jagose, had been pushing back on monetary commitments to ARNA for most of the year, repeatedly telling editors that she would get back to them.
A month ago, Jagose asked ARNA to present a reimbursement funding sheet. When the editors followed up some time later, they were stonewalled by the Dean’s assistants, forcing the editorial team to cover for costs out-of-pocket. None of the editors or contributors are paid for the time and work.
It is unclear why there was a delay, or whether the Dean would have funded ARNA without media probing. When it became apparent that the Dean was unlikely to process the funding before the launch date, Honi asked the Dean’s office why they had not yet done so, when funds are usually received months in advance.
A media representative said the following to Honi: “The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is committed to funding the ARNA’s centenary edition and is supporting the issue to the amount requested”.
Five minutes after their response, the ARNA editorial team reported that the faculty had transferred $1500, which covers the cost of printing alone.
“Things worked out in the end, and we’re very glad and grateful to have received funding from the University,” the publication directors said.
ARNA’s first publication was in 1918. It is one of the few remaining USyd arts journals alongside Hermes, and has historically been a significant opportunity for students and alumni to share poetry, prose fiction, essays, photography and art.