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ISE1003 Contexts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art and Representation

Semester 2, 2022 Online
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Coll for Indigenous Studies, Education & Research
School or Department : Coll for Indigenous Studies, Education & Research
Student contribution band : 2021 Grandfather Funding Cl 1
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 30 June 2022


Examiner: Sue Tuitupou


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the global level is aesthetically appreciated but little is known about the political, spiritual and social construction behind its production. This course delivers a dialogue and context for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and representation. The course offers an opportunity for Australian Indigenous art perspectives to be taught from an Indigenous standpoint.

This course will offer students a method by which they can become conversant with an historical and contemporary overview of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. Students are guided into the story as visual language in discussing Human Rights, activism for land rights, connection to Country, social dialogues, and cultural and community issues. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Copyright are clarified through Law and spiritual belief. Further to this, students will gain an understanding of ethical behaviour regarding Aboriginal material culture and knowledge. Students from the creative industries, community development and education will benefit from this course.

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. be sensitive in discerning the meaning of attachment to land and traditional law and ways of being.
  2. be aware of the history of Australian art that is inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art story.
  3. critically examine Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Copyright and the dialogues, which frame this issue in terms of traditional knowledge, law and economic sustainability.
  4. identify and analyse historical and contemporary issues within the dynamic of cultural expression in the creative industries and community values.
  5. evaluate and establish cultural practice, capacity building and community development.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Tradition and Law 20.00
2. Belonging and Expression 20.00
3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists of the nineteenth century. 20.00
4. Gathering Voices. 20.00
5. Contemporary perspectives: Ancient realities and storylines today. 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

Susan and Emily McCulloch 2008, McCulloch's Contemporary Aboriginal Art: the complete guide, Australian Art Books, Fitzroy.
Wally Caruana 2012, Aboriginal Art, Thames and Hudson, London.

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Approach Type Description Group
Weighting (%) Course learning outcomes
Assignments Written Quiz No 10 1
Assignments Written Essay 1 No 20 1,2,4,5
Assignments Written Essay 2 No 30 1,2,3,4
Assignments Written Essay 3 No 40 1,2,3,4,5
Date printed 30 June 2022