Course Title: Art, Politics and Environment

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Art, Politics and Environment

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


340H Art


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2016,
Sem 2 2017

Course Coordinator: A/Prof LInda Williams

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2369

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

HUSO 2186 Art History and Theory 1 OR HUSO 2213 Art History and Theory 2 OR Equivalent

Course Description

In this course you will be introduced to the current political, theoretical and cultural issues pertaining to three major areas of the environment: nature and ecology, the city, and technology. You will examine the way artists have interpreted these issues: historically, and in the contemporary context. You will also consider the way nature, the city and technology are interpreted in popular culture. You will gain an understanding of such topics along with the current critical debates surrounding them, such as eco-philosophy, theories of technology and ecological and social sustainability.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

At the completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Critically analyse cultural interpretations of the natural world, the urban context and technology demonstrating independent and critical judgment.
  • Discuss and analyse cultural interpretations of the issues surrounding ecological and social sustainability, and the impacts of technology on contemporary life, particularly in visual culture.
  • Locate these ideas in their cultural, social and historical contexts.
  • Engage in independent research and appropriately cite your writing and presentations.
  • Use terminology appropriate to the cultures and politics of the environment

Capability Development
In this course you will develop the following program capabilities:

  • engage in autonomous and continued learning, apply new theories of practice and embrace new developments in cultural/artistic production
  • develop a critically reflective arts practice, in order to continually develop, change and plan for a future that is both informed and improved by arts practice
  • form, develop and implement a vision and philosophy of art as a profession, contributing to the positive development of culture in both local and international contexts

Overview of Learning Activities

In this course you will engage in a range of learning activities such as lectures, screenings, reading, discussion and debate of texts, critical and analytical thinking, group discussions and/or on-line forums, research and essay-writing. In lectures and seminars, you will examine and discuss a range of artists and works. A diverse range of art works and texts will be discussed in relation to currents in the culture and politics of the environment.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT University’s online systems will also support your learning and you will have access to a wide range of online and hardcopy resources through RMIT University Library.

Supplementary notes, readings, examples and lists of works, guides about essay writing and referencing will be posted on Blackboard. A course bibliography will be distributed with a list of recommended readings.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the learning outcomes in this course and on your development against the program capabilities. Assessment may include a range of written, oral and online presentations.
Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks and staff members are available for individual consultation.
If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
An assessment charter ( ) summarises your responsibilities