Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture

print version

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 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.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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


Art, Design and Architecture

Organisational Unit

Department of Fine Art


Professor Rex Butler


Not offered in 2016


This unit was formerly coded TAD2207


All forms of media, as powerful and persuasive communicators of ideas, beliefs and stereotypes in our contemporary world, will be analysed. Answers will be sought to many questions including: Who speaks? Who listens? Who is silenced? Who profits? What are the social, environmental and ethical responsibilities of visual communicators? Is it permissible to appropriate other visual practitioners' images and ideas? What are the points of connection and divergence between popular culture and contemporary art? Semiotics, structuralist and post-structuralist theories will be used in an attempt to decode and interpret images.


On successful completion of this unit, students will:

  1. be familiar with the salient ideas and methodologies of semiotics, and how these may contribute to an understanding of art and design
  2. be familiar with the salient ideas and differences between structuralist and post-structuralist thought, and be able to make connections between these ideas and art and design practice
  3. be able to use semiotics to critically decode and analyse the images and texts of popular culture
  4. have an awareness and understanding of the cultural roles and responsibilities of professional communicators in today's society
  5. comprehend all OHS&E requirements in this unit area.


Assignment 1,500 words (40%)
Research essay 2,500 words (60%)

Workload requirements

12 hours per week including 3 contact hours and 9 hours of independent study or equivalent.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


12 credit points at first year level in Art History and Theory, or Theory of Art and Design, or Visual Culture, or permission from Unit Coordinator


TAD3207, TAD3217, AHT3207