Course Title: Analyse cultural history and theory

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2017

Course Code: OART5003C

Course Title: Analyse cultural history and theory

School: 340T Art

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5348 - Diploma of Visual Arts

Course Contact: Phillip Allan

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4030

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Nominal Hours: 70

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

In this course you will develop skills and knowledge required to research, analyse and debate cultural history and theory. You will be able to gain insight into historical art movements that will support and develop your own approach to creative work.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUARES503 Analyse cultural history and theory


1. Select focus for cultural research

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Select focus for research based on own needs and perspectives in consultation with others. 1.2 Consider information and ideas to be obtained. 1.3 Challenge own preconceptions about research processes and potential information sources 1.4 Select relevant historical and contemporary sources for investigation and consider any intellectual property requirements..


2. Conduct critical analysis

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Seek out and compare critical views of others in chosen area of enquiry 2.2 Investigate issues within historical and contemporary production, interpretation, promotion and consumption of culture. 2.3 Allow process of analysis to take exploration of issues in new and unintended directions


3. Discuss cultural history and theory

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Develop substantiated opinions and ideas about cultural history and theory 3.2 Make informed contributions to discussions of cultural history and theory 3.3 Encourage and participate in open and constructive discussion


4. Develop own practice from research

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Determine potential for integration of research findings into own work 4.2 Relate cultural history and theory to professional practice 4.3 Identify relationships between history and theory and contemporary cultural practice 4.4 Consider potential benefits of research in own professional practice and its future direction

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Select an appropriate research focus
  • Analyse cultural ideas and information
  • Develop substantiated positions to support professional practice
  • Participate in informed discussion of cultural history and theory.

In this course you will develop the following program capabilities:

  • Recognise historical and theatrical contemporary cultural practices
  • Develop opinions and ideas about cultural history and theory.

Details of Learning Activities

In this course, the student learns through:


 group discussions

 teacher directed group activities/projects/exercises

Out of class activities include independant research


Teaching Schedule


Week 17

Geometric Abstraction: Malevich / Mondrian

An examination of two forms of early geometric abstraction with historic and conceptual context

 2nd essay brief handed out and explained


Week 18

The Bauhaus

The aims and practices of the Bauhaus and the results of its program



Week 19

Surrealism 1

Its relation to Dada; its responses to WW1 and its aftermath; influences on surrealism; an account of Freudian Psychoanalysis and Freud’s ideas regarding dream production and analysis

The surrealist group; its values, activities and ideas; its political aspirations; Breton’s and the surrealists’ use of Freud’s concepts and practices in their own work



Week 20

Surrealism 2

Precursors to surrealism; ideas and practices of major Surrealist artists; the differences in approach, ideas, forms and influences between the male surrealists and the female surrealists



Week 21

Nazi Art/ Art Of The Holocaust

Ideological background to art in Nazi Germany. Art as propaganda. Also art of the concentration camps and dissidents. Art as resistance



Week 22

Angry Penguins: Art In Melbourne In 1940’s/50’s

The issue of distance and its effect on the development of Australian art. The major influences on Australian art in the 1940’s/ 1950’s, especially Surrealism and Expressionism. The impact of World War 2. The Herald Art Show. John and Sunday Reed. Visual versus Haptic approaches to art. A discussion of major artists



Week 23

Abstract Expressionism

Impact of the 1930’s Depression and the Federal Arts Program on the development of American artists. The impact of World War 2. The influence of European Modernism on American art,. An introduction to Jungian Theory. An introduction to Existentialism. Characteristics of ABEX in relation to Modernism. An examination of major American ABEX artists



Week 24

Pop Art 1

Social change in the late 50’s/60’s. The rise of the mass media and popular culture. An introduction to the psychology of advertising. Pop as the New Realism. English Pop Art – The influence of American culture on English pop Art



Week 25

Pop Art 2

American Pop Art – Background. Relation and Reaction to Abstract Expressionism. Characteristics of American Pop Art. Precursor; An examination of major American Pop artists



Week 26

Post Painterly Abstraction

Relation and Reaction to Abstract Expressionism. Influence of European Abstraction. Greenberg’s ideas and his direct influence on PPA artists. Formalism in art and culture in the 50’s/60’s.Characteristics of PPA



Week 27

Sculpture 1900-1960's

An account of the development of sculpture in the twentieth century 



Week 28


The approaching crisis in Late Modernism. Characteristics of Minimal Art and questions raised by Minimal Art. Art as Object. Ideas and aims of Minimalism. Greenberg’s reaction to Minimal Art



Week 29

Conceptual Art

The social/political/intellectual context of the late 60’s. The changing concept of what constitutes a work of art. The rejection of Formalism. The dematerialization of the object and the advent of art as idea. The legacy of Duchamp. A typology

of Conceptual works. Examples of the variety of conceptual art, in form and practice. The

 influence of Conceptual art on later art



Week 30

Land Art

The relation between contemporary Land Art and traditional Land Art. Land Art and its connection to a growing ecological awareness. The influence of Minimalism, Conceptualism and Process Art on Land Art. The abandonment of the gallery space. The ambiguous relationship with the gallery system. Types of Land Art. American Vs. European attitude and forms regarding Land Art

ESSAY handed in


Week 31


The art and ideas of Joseph Beuys




Week 32

Street Art

An examination of street art in the context of Situationism




Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

library and online resources

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is on going throughout the semester. Your will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program capabilities. Assessment will incorporate a range of methids to assess performance and the applocation of knowledge and skills and will include:

  • Written and or/oral questioning and discussion to assess knowledge and understanding
  • Completion of an art journal

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 as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.
Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies and procedures which are described and referenced in a single document:;ID=ln1kd66y87rc

Assessment Tasks

Assessment for the first semester of this course is based on a topic of the student’s own choosing taken from the time period of study 1860 to 1920’s The student’s knowledge and understanding of course content is assessed through how well he/she has dealt with the historical and conceptual context of the artist or movement chosen; how thoroughly she/he has analysed the works discussed and how well the artist /movement has been situated his/her/it’s social, cultural, political and critical contexts

Assessment for the second semester of this course is based on a brief consisting of 12 essay questions. The student is required to choose one and undertake the research required to answer the chosen question. All questions refer to a movement or subject covered in the lecture series. This essay is more difficult than the first semester essay as the student needs to develop a far more critical position and consists of more demanding type of research than the first semester’s essay.

The following are two sample questions.

Eg 1.General

Two world wars dominated the first half of the twentieth century. Choose two artists and discuss how they responded to the issues and events of either war, through their art and ideas. Choose two artists from any of the following movements: Dada, New Objectivity, Surrealism, Angry Penguins or Abstract Expressionism. You can choose two artists from the same movement or from two different movements

Eg 2 Pop Art

In the early 1960’s, the male artists moved into women’s domain and pillaged with impunity. The result was Pop Art. If the first major Pop artists had been women, the movement might have never gotten out of the kitchen. Then it would have struck those same critics who welcomed Pop Art, as just women making more genre art. But since it was primarily men who were painting and sculpting the ironing boards, dishwashers, appliances, food and soap ads, or soup cans, the choice of imagery was considered a breakthrough”

(Lucy Lippard “From the Centre”, 1976)

Discuss in relation to the work and ideas of at least two artists.

To demonstrate competency in this course, you will need to complete the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all assessment.

 Assessment Task

 Semester 2:

 Assessment 2: Essay The essay should be minimum of 1,500 words and handed in  during the class of week 30






Assessment Matrix

Unit title

Create works of art for public spaces

RMIT Unit code


National code


Assessment tasks

Elements/ PCs

*Foundation Skills


*Performance Evidence


*Knowledge Evidence



1. Assessment title: Ready for Action – Task 1

Action – Task 2



1.1- 4

2.1- 3

3.1- 3

4.1- 4


- Interprets and evaluates theoretical and contemporary material from selected information sources for use in own practice.


- Evaluates and compares texts that define other positions to inform the development and refinement of own opinions.



- Develops complex, logically structured material using clear and detailed language to convey analysis of theoretical information, opinions and ideas.


Oral Communications

- Uses relevant vocabulary and terminology to determine requirements with others.


- Participates in detailed exchanges of ideas and opinions using questioning and active listening techniques to elicit different perspectives and to confirm understanding.


Navigate the world of work

- Considers intellectual property responsibilities when planning and undertaking research for own use


Interact with others

- Identifies and uses appropriate communication methods and practices to initiate and participate in discussion and debate with others.


Get the work done

- Takes responsibility planning, organizing and implementing research related tasks


- Uses systematic, analytical and consultative process to make decisions about research objectives and relationships to own practice.

Evidence of the ability to:

- select an appropriate research focus and relevant information sources.


- analyse complex cultural ideas and information


- develop substantiated opinions to advance professional practice


- participate in informed discussion of cultural history and theory


- determine ways to use research in own professional practice

To complete the unit requirements, safely and effectively, the individual must:


-explain criteria for selection of a meaningful individual research focus


-list and describe historical and contemporary sources for cultural research


-the explain the characteristics of a “substantiated opinion or idea”


-explain in detail, the value of cultural history and theory to contemporary practice


-explain how intellectual property issues and legislation relates to the research process

Other Information


You will receive verbal and written feedback by teacher on your work.  This feedback also includes suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.



RMIT has a strict policy on plagiarism. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy.


Special consideration Policy (Late Submission)

All assessment tasks are required to be completed to a satisfactory level. If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension.

Please refer to the following URL for extensions and special consideration:;ID=qkssnx1c5r0y;STATUS=A;PAGE_AUTHOR=Andrea%20Syers;SECTION=1 (unresolved);

In assessing whether a particular adjustment is reasonable consideration should be given to:

·         the student’s disability and his/her views

·         the effect of the adjustment on the student, including effect on his/her ability to achieve learning outcomes, participate in courses or programs and achieve independence

·         the effect of the proposed adjustment on anyone else affected, including the education provider, staff and other students

·         the costs and benefits of making the adjustment.

As a result, what constitutes "reasonable" varies on a case-by-case basis and the balance is sometimes difficult to strike.  However, it is clear that education providers are not required to lower academic standards or disregard the needs staff or other students. In more complex cases discussion with the disability service will be useful. It may be useful to examine previous judgements in relation to the DDA.

An RTO needs to fit LLN into the delivery of its training and assessment as it has an important role in:

  • redressing any deficiencies in its students’ key LLN skills
  • building the generic skills of teamwork, communication and problem solving that are highly valued by employers.

In addition to developing skills and knowledge for a particular job, this program also aims to help you to develop broad work skills, known as Employability Skills. There are eight employability skills.

Employability Skills which feature in the Diploma of Visual Art include:

• Communication

• Teamwork

• Problem solving

• Initiative and enterprise

• Planning and organising

• Self-management      

• Learning

• Technology

Employability skills are embedded in the units of competency in your program. When you demonstrate that you are competent in your particular job skills and knowledge you are also demonstrating that you have developed relevant employability skills. Further information about the employability skills you will develop in this program is available at: chapter/EmpSkillsMandText

Course Overview: Access Course Overview