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VSA2230 - Australian Visual Culture: Heidelberg to Contemporary

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Leigh Astbury


Not offered in 2007


This unit will study major themes and issues in Australian visual culture from the Heidelberg School era of the late nineteenth century through to the present. Selected themes for study include the landscape as subject matter and changing attitudes towards nature; the search for an Australian identity; the emergence of particular Australian myths; the influence of American visual culture; the diversification of cultural expression in the 1970s and manifestations of feminist visual culture; and the embrace of Aboriginal art and culture from the mid 1970s onwards. The unit will conclude with a consideration of recent developments and issues of postmodernism in an Australian context.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students will have developed:

  1. A sound general knowledge of major themes and issues in twentieth and early twenty-first century visual culture.
  2. An ability to contextualise these developments within a broader social, cultural and psychological framework.
  3. An understanding of visual expressions of Australian identity as changing cultural constructions which are often exploited by individuals or sections of society for their own purposes.
  4. Critical skills that enable them to analyse a diverse range of material in visual culture.


Essay (3000 words) : 60%
Visual Test (1.5 hours (1500 words equivalent)) : 40%

Contact hours

1 one-hour lecture and 1 one-hour tutorial per week


One first year level unit in Visual Culture or a comparable discipline