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VSA1000 Introduction to Art Theory

Semester 1, 2014 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Arts and Communication

Contents on this page


Examiner: Kyle Jenkins
Moderator: Stephen Spurrier


The significance of the changing role of the artist within society will be explored in this course by way of art and craft works which reflect, interpret, and comment upon the events, politics, social histories, and technological developments of their respective eras. Students will also be encouraged to appreciate the historical underpinnings which have shaped and directed the practice of art and craft of which they are now a part.


This course will offer an historical perspective of the visual arts and establish the basic philosophical concepts from which to develop an aesthetic awareness and appreciation of the art object within a socio-political context.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a comprehension of artistic traditions which reflects both personal and social responses within an historical context;
  2. comprehend the basic philosophical concepts which will enable them to critically analyse and discuss works of art in an historical and social context;
  3. acquire a knowledge of the development of artistic form through styles drawn from various periods of western and other cultural traditions;
  4. demonstrate written communication skills by clearly and logically expressing ideas pertaining to art historical and theoretical issues, supported by evidence of research and analysis;
  5. recognize the style of a work of art and identify the historical and socio-political influences and their context;
  6. clearly and logically express personal ideas pertaining to art historical and theoretical issues supported by evidence of research and analysis;
  7. undertake the research and exploration to successfully fulfil the requirements for assignments 1 and 2, as well as the weekly research and documentation required to develop answers and responses for assignment 3 which will reflect the listed course objectives.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Module 1: Early 20th century movements 25.00
2. Module 2: Mid 20th century movements 25.00
3. Module 3: Late 20th century 25.00
4. Module 4: Hybrid theory and practice 25.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Harrison, C & Wood, P (eds) 2003, Art in theory, 1900-2000: an anthology of changing ideas, Blackwell Publishers, Malden, MA.
    (Revised edition.)
  • Will relate to the individual program of work as undertaken by the individual student.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Allen, C 1997, Art in Australia: from colonization to postmodernism, Thames & Hudson, London.
  • Arnold, D & Iversen, M (eds) 2003, Art and thought, Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Art and Australia.
  • Art and text.
  • Art in America.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Private Study 165.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1: WRITTEN ESSAY 100 30 31 Mar 2014
ASSIGNMENT 2: WRITTEN ESSAY 100 30 05 May 2014
RESOURCE JOURNAL 100 40 10 Jun 2014

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students? responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Students may be assigned an ?Incomplete? grade to signify that all the requirements of the course have not yet been met. Students who are graded ?I? can pass the course by successfully completing such additional work as prescribed by the examiner by a given date. Students who have been awarded an IM, ISM, IDM or IDB grade must access information regarding further work to be completed, in the Student Centre of U Connect. The Grades Page in the Student Centre contains information about further work to be completed. Students who have not completed the additional work to the satisfaction of the examiner by the given date will receive the appropriate Failing grade.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.