Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Art, Design and Architecture
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2012 (Day)
Gippsland First semester 2012 (Day)
Gippsland First semester 2012 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Dr Melissa Miles


This unit is an introduction to visual language in art and design. It examines artistic forms and media in the light of how they are made and how they engage with social symbols. Visual language is analysed in relation to aesthetic, technical and ideological frameworks. The reasons behind stylistic development are sought within the framework of the history of ideas, from the political and cultural to the economic. The unit crucially examines relations between art and design; and the diverse themes in contemporary practice are chosen in order to highlight the dynamic links between different media.


On successful completion of this unit, students will:

  1. recognize some key works of Western art and design and place them in the appropriate cultural climate,
  2. consider the relationships between design, art and craft as mutually important partners in the development of visual language,
  3. trace the formal and iconographic sources of works of art and design and identify their impact, both historically and critically, in terms of contemporary discourse,
  4. describe visual language perceptively and comment on works with critical discernment, attempting to evoke the expressive content of objects of art and design,
  5. present their insights in an articulate, critical and imaginative written manner and
  6. recognize critical values when conducting visual analysis and cultivate the identification of ideological bias in historical representation.


Essays (3500 words): 75%
Visual test (1 hour): 25%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Melissa Miles

Contact hours

Two 1 hour lectures and one 1 hour tutorial and 9 independent study hours per week