• Class Number 5728
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Chris McAuliffe
    • Dr Chris McAuliffe
  • 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

This course will examine how social and historical change shaped art and design in the modern and contemporary periods. It will explore the impacts of technology and globalisation, ideologies and institutions on the production, dissemination and understanding of art and design. The formation of modern cultural institutions and markets will be examined, tracing the global development of museums, art galleries and biennales. Postmodern challenges to the histories and institutions of modern art will be studied, including practices based in regional and non-Western cultural traditions, diverse and resistance identities, and disruptive forms of media and engagement.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. identify and apply the principal methodologies of art history and theory;
  2. analyse the visual, historical and theoretical aspects of a broad range of visual culture in the modern period;
  3. identify major cultural themes and historical paths in modern and contemporary art and design;
  4. research and access information about art history and theory; and
  5. present written and oral arguments about the ideas that inform art and design from a wide range of periods and cultures.

Research-Led Teaching

Lectures will be delivered primarily by staff and associates of the Centre for Art History and Art Theory, School of Art & Design. Lectures are based on the research expertise of academics, drawing on extensive practice in scholarly research, exhibition and museum curatorship, and professional practice in the gallery, library, archive and museum sector.

Field Trips

Classes and assignment may include field trips to art galleries and public art works on campus and in Canberra. Students will be encouraged to make use of major museums and collections in Canberra in undertaking assessment tasks.

Additional Course Costs

A class or assessment task involving a field trip or independent research visit to an art gallery or museum may incur costs relating to public transport, parking or admission.

Examination Material or equipment

Not applicable.

Required Resources

The principle resources for the course will be available to participants through the course Wattle site (course outline, class readings, guides to research and writing, assessment tasks). Additional resources supporting engagement with the curriculum (video, online content links, study and writing guides, advice on assessment tasks) will be posted on Wattle. Classes and assessment tasks are designed to be supported by general internet access and ANU on-line and on-campus resources (libraries, Drill Hall Art Gallery, Wattle, Echo360, Turnitin etc). Other resources are available through publicly-accessible institutions such as the National Library of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia, the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery, the Australian War Memorial, and the National Portrait Gallery.

It is recommended that students take advantage of resources offered within the ANU library system (including numerous specialist online research and information sources) as well as the support services of the University. Additional resources are available to students at museums and collections in Canberra.

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 Lecture: Impressionism and the art of modern life Tutorial: Overview of course, assessment tasks First assessment task (fieldwork) available to students
2 Lecture: Art after Impressionism Tutorial: Impression, colour and modern life
3 Lecture: Abstraction Tutorial: Symbolism and emergence of abstraction Second assessment task (research essay) available to students
4 Lecture: The machine aesthetic and the technological sublime Tutorial: Cubism: abstraction, perception, materiality Submission of first assessment task
5 Lecture: Art and disruption: Dada, futurism, surrealism Tutorial: The cult of the machine: art, design, industry
6 Lecture: Modernism in Australia Tutorial: Surrealism Return of first assessment task (during semester break)
7 Lecture: Abstraction in the mid-20th century Tutorial: Australian modernism and the Sydney Harbour Bridge
8 Lecture: Art and mass culture; Art, performance and play Tutorial: Abstract Expressionism Submission of second assessment task
9 Lecture: Minimalism, eccentric abstraction and the informe Tutorial: Performance, installation and intermedia
10 Lecture: Postmodernisms Tutorial: Eccentric abstraction
11 Lecture: Installation Tutorial: Postmodern practices Return of second assessment task
12 Lecture: The global, the postnational and the contemporary Tutorial: Installation Third assessment task (Take-home exam): Available and submitted week 1 of examination period 4-11 November 2021

Tutorial Registration

Students must register for one of the available tutorial times via Wattle.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Fieldwork 25 % 20/08/2021 10/09/2021 1, 2, 4, 5
Research Essay 40 % 01/10/2021 18/10/2021 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Take-home examination 25 % 04/11/2021 02/12/2021 1, 2, 3, 5
Participation 10 % * * 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

* 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 Academic Integrity . 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.


In weekly classes, student discuss issues arising in lectures and readings, put forward their opinions and interpretations of art works, ask questions, and listen and respond to each others’ views. Productive discussions develop ideas and oral presentation skills, and support the development of a community of practice (‘a group of people who share a common concern, a set of problems, or an interest in a topic and who come together to fulfil both individual and group goals’). A class participation grade is assigned on the basis of a student’s active and positive contribution to class discussion.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 20/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 10/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4, 5


Investigation and analysis of a public monument using supplied worksheets. The task includes selecting and visiting a monument, making fieldwork observations, undertaking additional research (library, online), and submitting a written report. The task may be undertaken as a team exercise in groups of up to 4 students. Word limit: 1,000 words.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 01/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 18/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Research Essay

Select and respond to an essay question from a list provided. The questions will relate to topics, issues and art works raised in lectures, class readings and discussions. An effective essay will develop an informed and focussed argument, supported by convincing evidence, robust research sources and formal academic citation (quotations, footnotes, illustrations, bibliography or list of references). Word limit: 2,000 words.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 04/11/2021
Return of Assessment: 02/12/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 5

Take-home examination

The exam paper will include a set question or questions that nominate a topic, to be explored through discussion of nominated art work(s). Both the topic and the art works will have been raised in lectures, classes and readings. The exercise invites synthesis (drawing together ideas, information, evidence), reflection (developing an overview, identifying key ideas or methods), and visual analysis (observing, describing, pointing to). Students have seven days, during the examination period, in which to complete the task. Word limit: 1,000 words

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


A class participation grade is assigned on the basis of a student’s active and positive contribution to class discussion.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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.

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

Work submitted electronically will be responded to on Wattle. Examination papers are not returned.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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.

Resubmission of Assignments

Students who fail to score a pass in their final grade (total of all submitted assignments) but are marked between 45 and 49% will have the opportunity to resubmit.

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).

Dr Chris McAuliffe

Research Interests

Modern and contemporary art, primarily Australia and USA. Interactions between art and popular culture (sport, popular music). Earthworks, installation and minimalism. Art and national discourses (monuments, flags, sport). Curatorship and exhibition practices. Practice-led research and knowledge formation in studio practice.

Modern and contemporary art, primarily Australia and USA. Interactions between art and popular culture (sport, popular music). Earthworks, installation and minimalism. Art and national discourses (monuments, flags, sport). Curatorship and exhibition practices. Practice-led research and knowledge formation in studio practice.

Dr Chris McAuliffe

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Chris McAuliffe

Research Interests

Dr Chris McAuliffe

By Appointment
By Appointment

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