• Class Number 7657
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Sean Dockray
    • Sean Dockray
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

In this course we examine the politics of storytelling in contemporary art practice and the effects of different kinds of historiographic methods in a range of media, including video installation, documentary and public sculpture. The way contemporary artists engage in history making is to question given formats and representational conventions, exposing their latent power and reworking them. The production of histories is intimately entwined with the generation of possible futures and this course explores the political responsibility of artistic-historical narratives and their agency in transmitting and shaping the digestion of the stories they tell. Each student will undertake research into a specific (probably local) history, using methods from relevant disciplines, which could include ethnographic methods like participant observation or historiographic methods like oral history, archival and textual research, but could also include archaeological methods like surveying and excavating. Students will research the methods and media that are most appropriate to the history they are working on, and then educate themselves on how to go about using these methods and media within their capabilities and the resources available to them. The conceptual design and the realization of each of the students' projects will be informed by analysis of a various contemporary art projects which engage in the politics of memory and their approach to formats like the visual essay, the voice-over, re-enactment, the edited interview, archival display, and the monument. Although the media students work with is dependent on the conceptual development of their projects, the course will include some technical instruction on video production, post-production and installation.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. use, create and discuss historiographic methods for contemporary art practice;
  2. make artworks that critically engage with historical research;
  3. conduct research into histories, historiography and art history and apply findings to creative production; and
  4. substantiate artistic outcomes with research and rationale.

Research-Led Teaching

This course is based on current discourses and practices in the international field of contemporary art engaged in research-led historiographic and ethnographic art practices of political storytelling.

Additional Course Costs

Required Resources and Incidental Fees – ANU School of Art and Design

Required Resources and Incidental Fees Student contribution amounts under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA) and tuition fees support the course described in the Course Outline and include tuition, teaching materials and student access to the workshops for the stated course hours.

Students are requested to refer to the School of Art website for information: http://soad.cass.anu.edu.au/required-resources-and-incidental-fees

Politics of Memory:

Later in the semester if students want access to the equipment in the Peter Karmel building it will be necessary to pay a supplementary fee ($100). This does not need to be paid at the beginning of the semester, because it is best for students to wait until they have a good idea of the shape of their project before deciding if they need this or not.

Examination Material or equipment

To be agreed with your lecturer during individual tutorials during class time.

Required Resources

Please see the Wattle site for this course

Please see the Wattle site for this course

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Genealogy as Method: Forming Relations Between Historiography and Poetics. Housekeeping. Screening. Exercise in designing self-directed research projects. Introduction to video editing software. LOCATION: RSSS Auditorium 1.28 (1-3pm) and Peter Karmel Building (3-5pm)
2 The Performativity of Narration: The Role of Stories in Political Change and The Power of the Voice The Politics of Representation: Documentary's Ethical Issues. Introduction to interview techniques and recording spoken sound. LOCATION: RSSS Auditorium 1.28 (1-3pm) and Peter Karmel Building (3-5pm)
3 More Than Words: Environmental, Extra-Linguistic, and Artificial Sounds Field recordings. Sound editing. LOCATION: RSSS Auditorium 1.28 (1-3pm) and Peter Karmel Building (3-5pm)
4 Storytelling With More Than Words: Narrative Through Structure, Form and Composition Narrative and structure. Storyboarding. Material memory. LOCATION: RSSS Auditorium 1.28 (1-3pm) and Peter Karmel Building (3-5pm) ASSESSMENT: Proposal due (10%)
5 Laws of Intellectual Propriety: Archives, Codes of Conduct, Rules of Access Screening. Copyright, acknowledgment and permissions. Video timeline editing and project management. LOCATION: RSSS Auditorium 1.28 (1-3pm) and Peter Karmel Building (3-5pm)
6 Desktop Cinema: The Computer as Camera, Stage, and Screen Screen capture. Metalepsis. LOCATION: RSSS Auditorium 1.28 (1-3pm) and Peter Karmel Building (3-5pm)
7 Review LOCATION: RSSS Auditorium 1.28 (1-3pm) and Peter Karmel Building (3-5pm)
8 Exhibition-cinema as situation design Introduction to video installation architecture - screen fabrication. Installing and using projectors LOCATION: RSSS Auditorium 1.28 (1-3pm) and Peter Karmel Building (3-5pm) ASSESSMENT: Methods and Strategies Video (30%)
9 Methods and Strategies Student Presentations and Group Critique LOCATION: RSSS Auditorium 1.28 (1-3pm) Sculpture Workshop Drawing and Modelling Room
10 Methods and Strategies Student Presentations and Group Critique LOCATION: RSSS Auditorium 1.28 (1-3pm) Sculpture Workshop Drawing and Modelling Room
11 Methods and Strategies Student Presentations and Group Critique LOCATION: RSSS Auditorium 1.28 (1-3pm) Sculpture Workshop Drawing and Modelling Room
12 Methods and Strategies Student Presentations and Group Critique LOCATION: RSSS Auditorium 1.28 (1-3pm) Sculpture Workshop Drawing and Modelling Room
13 ASSESSMENT PERIOD ASSESSMENT: Politics of Memory Project (60%)

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Politics of Memory Project 60 % 05/11/2021 02/12/2021 1, 2, 3
Project Proposal 10 % 20/08/2021 03/09/2021 1, 3, 4
Methods and Strategies Video 30 % 08/10/2021 22/10/2021 1, 2, 3, 4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


  • Respectful, generous and intellectually rigorous participation in group critique and other group learning formats is required.


Final assessment requires that students submit their finished projects and developmental work in an agreed upon format and file submission location before your allocated examination time during the examination period.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 60 %
Due Date: 05/11/2021
Return of Assessment: 02/12/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Politics of Memory Project

This project, designed by you, finds a way to tell the story of a local history, using whatever media and artistic strategies are most appropriate to your research. Most of the instruction and support during the course will guide you towards the creation of a video installation but your research and interests might guide you to create a public artwork, a museum-style display, a performance, or a publication. This history could be well-known and told in a new way. It could be completely unknown and of a personal nature. For example, it could tell a story about your people, tell the story of certain non-humans, or explore relationships in a particular place. In short, it can be any story you feel is important to tell and which you can tell in an ethical way. The reason it should be local, is because it needs to be a history you can practically do some research on. You need to decide and design how you will do this research and then speculate on a format for telling it that would be appropriate, interesting and poetic.

This project is made up of three assessable components: Review - Developmental Work; Installation of Works in Progress; and the Completed Project:

1. Review - Developmental Work

At Review in Week 7 share all the developmental work you have done to date on the class Wattle or an accessible OneDrive folder. Your lecturer will provide feedback on the progress of your project.

2. Installation of Works in Progress

In weeks 9-12 each student will be allocated a time and place to install their work in progress, which will be subject to a group critique during class time. It is expected that by this stage you will have completed at minimum 50% of the practical work required to finish your project. This requirement that 50% of the practical making be complete should not be confused with the conceptual or research work required, which should be nearly finished at this stage.

3. Completed Project

The scope, media, components and scale of the project are all decisions that you will make as your work develops throughout the semester. Your work should be rigorously researched and respond to feedback and input you receive in class. The project will be assessed during the examination period.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 20/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 03/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 4

Project Proposal

The Project Proposal (10%) is part of the Contextualising Research (30%) part of the mark

Word length: 500 words

Due: 2021.08.20

Remember, a proposal is a beginning and a way to get you thinking. It doesn't mean you can't change the plan as you go about doing your project, that will definitely happen as you respond to feedback and the research itself takes you in new directions. That said, in this course, in order to make your final project in time for assessment, you will need to commit to one aspect of this proposal: i.e. generally, what it is that you are researching.

Proposal format:

  • Title: A few clever/poetic/succinct words that describe what your project is about and even what its aims are
  • Description (200 words)
  • Introduce the specific history you want to explore in this project
  • How will you tell it? What media and formats will you use and why
  • Nominate which contemporary artists are references for you in this approach and briefly explain why. Include illustrations and captions for these in your document. At least one of these artists should be prominent internationally in the field of contemporary art as represented by the following magazines/journals (some available in the library): Eflux Journal (available online), Texte zur Kunst, Mousse Magazine, Artforum International and Frieze.
  • What are your aims in telling this story? Which broader principles or ideas motivate these?
  • Methodology (100 words)
  • How are you going to do the research for this project?
  • How are you going to use that research?
  • How will you make and present the work that comes of this process?
  • How are these material strategies appropriate to the project aims and concepts?
  • Are there specific conceptual methods you need to learn about or skills or processes that you need to develop or outsource? 
  • Rationale (100 words)
  • Why is this project important or relevant to others?
  • What might be the effects of your work?
  • How are the strategies you intend to work with important in achieving your aims?
  • Timeline (100 words):
  • Using dot points or a table, the timeline outlines the steps you must take to complete your project in time. Writing a timeline helps you to think about what is realistically achievable in your available time, and in what order you need to undertake different aspects of the project.
  • Use the weeks of the semester as your guide, finishing with assessment
  • Bibliography:
  • Include at least four scholarly references formatted in the Chicago style (see below). These may not be websites. You may access peer-reviewed journals online using the University's databases, but otherwise, online content does not count towards the four scholarly references.
  • At least one of these scholarly references must be about the artworks by other artists that you write about in your description.
  • At least one reference must be a theoretical/philosophical text which contributes to your thinking/methodology.
  • Only two of your references may be from the required and recommended reading for this course.
  • Chapters in an edited volume by different authors constitute one reference each.

Proposal Style:

  • The project proposal must be fully footnoted using the Chicago style of referencing. Footnotes and bibliography must be formatted precisely using the Chicago style. Please refer to this link for further information: http://soad.cass.anu.edu.au/referencing-guidelines
  • The format of the captions for your images must also follow the Chicago style.
  • The text should be double-spaced, in size 12 Times New Roman font, unless you want to work with the graphic design as part of your project. If so, please provide a short 50-100 word statement about why you have designed the assignment in the way you have. If you do choose to experiment with design, you still need to fully reference your work with all information required by the Chicago Style included.
  • Pages should be numbered consecutively.
  • Margins: Left-hand 30mm, Right-hand 20mm, Top 20mm, Bottom 30mm
  • Include your name and student number as a header visible on each page
  • The assignment should be printed double-sided using recycled paper
  • Staple the assignment in the top left corner


  • The proposal should be submitted digitally before class and in hardcopy at 1pm on the 2021.08.20.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 08/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 22/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Methods and Strategies Video

The mark for this video (30%) will be a combination of contextualizing research (20%) and project and developmental work (10%).

Duration: 4-5 minutes

Due: 1pm Friday of week 9

Task: In lieu of a paper or oral presentation, this assessment task asks you to make a video to reflect on a question that you have about how to approach an aspect of your project. You will reflect on this question by identifying three relevant artistic strategies, each a different approach to telling a story developed by a different artist. Briefly analyze the politics of each of these historiographic strategies and how it functions in a specific artwork. The strategies you choose should all address the question or a particular interest you have in your own project. For example, perhaps they are all ways of using third-person narration, or perhaps they are all ways of combining archival material with new footage. Your task is to analyze each of them and discuss the relative merits and effects of each of them, coming to a conclusion that brings your three analyses together and answers the question you have about how to approach your own project.


Divide your video into five sections with intertitles:

  1. Introduction to the question you have about how to approach an aspect of your own project
  2. Historiographic Strategy #1: (plus a few words describing the strategy - not the name and biography of the artist whose work you are discussing)
  3. Historiographic Strategy #2: (plus a few words describing the strategy - not the name and biography of the artist whose work you are discussing)
  4. Historiographic Strategy #3: (plus a few words describing the strategy - not the name and biography of the artist whose work you are discussing)
  5. Discussion of the implications of the three strategies in relation to each other and how this informs your approach to the question you have regarding your own project.


Export your video as the the MP4 format.

You will be given specific location for file submission in the weeks leading up to Week 9.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Students should develop work for assigned critique times and present all work for review and assessment. Oral Presentations presentations should be given in the scheduled timeframe. Students will submit their work for assessment at the allocated time in the designated place during the examination period. Work must be displayed appropriately. All work must be removed from the workshop after assessment.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Students must remove all of their work at the completion of their assessment.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Sean Dockray

Research Interests

Sean Dockray is Senior Lecturer and Head of Sculpture and Spatial Practice at ANU School of Art and Design. He works with artistic methods of reworking the tools and systems of algorithmic culture, and in socially engaged artistic and architectural practice. He is also concerned with the political role of undisciplined and transdisciplinary practices in reshaping knowledge production to address the "super wicked" problems that we face today, especially where anti-capitalist, feminist, anti-racist and environmental concerns overlap.

Sean Dockray

Thursday 13:00 14:00
Thursday 13:00 14:00
Sean Dockray

Research Interests

Sean Dockray

Thursday 13:00 14:00
Thursday 13:00 14:00

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