• Offered by School of Art and Design
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Art History
  • Areas of interest Art History, Australian Studies, History, Australian Indigenous Studies, Visual Arts
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

We are in an extraordinary moment in Australia. Art historians, art museums, artists and critics are responding to Black Lives Matter, the continuing destruction of First Nations sacred sites and are attempting to move towards reconciliation between First Nations and non-Indigenous peoples. In this course you will critically examine settler/non-Indigenous artists and/or First Nations artists and creators in visual culture more broadly (designers, photographers, dancers, and film-makers) who have engaged through their art in cross-cultural activity, within the colonial, modernist or contemporary periods.You will study the places and people and the circumstances that led to the production of artworks involving interactions between non-Indigenous artists and First Nations art and culture. The course will also address how the meaning of the artworks changed over time, for example, in relation to contemporary First Nations re-evaluation, repatriation and reception of historical works. Finally, you will be provided with knowledge of best practice concerning collaboration between non-Indigenous and First Nations artists and curators. You will experience works first hand through visits to the national galleries and museums, and will listen to both First Nations and non-Indigenous voices as part of this course.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the historical development and political context of the cross-currents in First Nations and non-Indigenous art from the Colonial period to the present day;
  2. critique the appropriation and representation of First Nations art and culture in non-Indigenous art and design;
  3. identify best practice and demonstrate knowledge of the role of collaborations between First Nations and non-Indigenous artists and curators;
  4. research, access and critically evaluate the links between First Nations and non-Indigenous art and design; and
  5. speak and write with confidence about cross-currents in First Nations and non-Indigenous art.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Four wall labels of 250 words totaling (1000 words) (20) [LO 1,2,4,5]
  2. Theoretical essay of (1000 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Catalogue essay for general public with list of 12 artworks plus (2000 words essay) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  4. Participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,5]

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.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: lectures, seminars and tutorials; and

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 36 units of courses towards an ANU degree, or with the permission of the convener. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ARTH6176.

Prescribed Texts

No textbook required. Some relevant readings will be posted on Wattle. Others will be put on reserve in the library.

Preliminary Reading

Geoffrey Bardon and James Bardon, Pupunya Tula: A Place Made After the Story: the beginnings of the Western desert painting movement  Melbourne: Miegunyah Press, 2007.

Rex Butler  What is Appropriation?: an anthology of writings on Australian art in the 1980s and 1990s Brisbane: Institute of Modern Art, 2004.

Kate Darian Smith et al eds. Conciliation on colonial frontiers: conflict, performance and commemoration in Australia and the Pacific Rim New York: Routledge, 2015

Martin Edmond, Battarbee and Namatjira Sydney: Giramondo, 2014.

Marcia Langton, ‘Stamped! Indigenous history and Australia post’, Ngoonjook: Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues, No. 24 (Dec. 2003), p. 25-29

Donna Leslie, ‘Indigenous Australian inclusion in Australian art history’

Carolyn Lovitt, ‘Aboriginal Art as Décor: The Politics of Assimilation in White Australian Homes 1930-1970’ (Masters Research Thesis, University of Melbourne, 2000).

Susan Lowish  Rethinking Australia’s Art History: The Challenge of Aboriginal Art (New York: Routledge, 2018).

Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues. Volume 15, issue 1 (March 2012)

Ian Mclean,  White Aborigines: Identity Politics in Australian art , Cambridge: Cambridge Unviersity Press, 1998.

Ian Mclean Double Desire: transculturation and Indigenous contemporary Art (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014).

Christine Nicholls From Appreciation to Appropriation: Indigenous influences and images in Australian visual art (Adelaide: Flinders Universty Art Museum, 2000).

Alice Procter, The Whole Picture: The Colonial Story of the Art in our museums and why we need to talk about it (London: Cassell, 2020)

Terry Smith, Transformations in Australian Art vol 1 and 2, St Leonards: Craftsman House, 2002.

Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies London: Zed Books 2012

Khadija Von Zinnenburg Carroll, Art in the Time of Colony, Surry: Ashgate, 2014.


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
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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