• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Specialist
  • Course subject Museum and Collection
  • Areas of interest Art History, Non Language Asian Studies, Cultural Studies, Museums and Collections
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person

This course will examine the complex links between museums, contemporary art and society in the Asia-Pacific region. The focus of the course is on museums, contemporary art and social change.

Museums have played and will continue to play a vital role in interpreting culture in the face of dynamic changes taking place in the region at a social, economic and geopolitical level. The course will look at museums collecting and exhibiting both historical art and contemporary art and at contexts for contemporary cultural production.  Exhibitions, collection development, management/governance, and public and community programs as well as new directions such as the use of new technology and new media will be discussed. We will pay special attention to multi-ethnic societies and to the representation of the art of Indigenous and minority cultures in museums. The course will also examine the role of contemporary artists in cultural revival and survival including Indigenous cultures in the Pacific and issues of social justice and human rights. The course will examine the vigorous movements linking contemporary art to social change. Contemporary art from the region, especially from Asia, is becoming increasingly visible internationally and major recurring exhibitions such as biennial and triennial exhibitions have been initiated as a part of national strategies for increasing local and global visibility. These events are festivals of contemporary art and will be examined as a phenomenon of global art. New models for museums in the Asia-Pacific will be discussed including the phenomenal growth of museums in nations such as China.

Key course topics:

  • Museums and Society in the Asia-Pacific
  • Art and Social Change
  • New Museum developments in the region
  • Indigenous and Minority representation in Museums
  • Global exhibitions
  • Museums and their publics

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Course aims:

On completing this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of contemporary developments in art and museums in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region including complex factors affecting museums and artists at a social, political and geopolitical level;

2. Explain the structures of different kinds of museums in the region, understand their purpose and governance, programming and exhibitions and evaluate their changing relationships with their communities;

3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the changing nature of contemporary art practice in the region and contexts for contemporary art production;

4. Demonstrate a critical understanding of issues related to Indigenous and minority cultures in the region;

5. Demonstrate a critical understanding of ethical and professional practices underpinning museums and special challenges for museums in the region;

6. Synthesise key concepts from a variety of disciplines and apply these in cross cultural contexts and case studies;

7. Demonstrate the ability to undertake independent research and analysis of issues and ideas, develop an effective argument and apply these ideas in oral and written assignments.

Learning outcomes:

1.     To gain skills in written and verbal expression for a variety of relevant professional and academic purposes.

2.     To develop skills in interdisciplinary thinking and cross cultural research and the the ability to apply theoretical ideas to case studies developed from personal observation and research.

3.     To gain skills required for humanities research and museum work. This includes data-collection, analysis, and verbal and written presentation at the standard of a postgraduate degree.

4.     To gain a more sophisticated understanding of art and museums in the Asia-Pacific region and skills required for working in the cultural sector in Australia and the region.

Other Information

This course is available both as a face-to-face course for students based in Canberra and also as a distance (fully online) course for external students. The online course materials will be available through http://wattlecourses.anu.edu.au/


Please contact the course convenor in advance if you intend to take this course as an online unit.

Indicative Assessment

Participation in class discussions, attendance at intensive and short oral in-class presentation (10%); short written assignment (30% / 1500 wds); major research written case study (60% / 3500 wds).

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Preliminary Reading



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $3216
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4590
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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