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Aboriginal Art in the Northern Territory (AHIS40016)

HonoursPoints: 12.5Off Campus

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelHonours
Subject codeAHIS40016
Availability(Quotas apply)
Winter Term - Off Campus
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject is taught in Alice Springs and Darwin with visits to artistically significant Aboriginal communities. Emphasising Indigenous ownership of cultural knowledge, students will consider the history and development of Aboriginal art in the Northern Territory and the specific social, economic, geographical and cultural effects it has generated. In a series of structured classes, students will be versed in protocols and introduced to traditional owners and community members. During visits to communities, students will witness the creation of artworks and be able to initiate projects based on primary research. They will learn about the key issues and elements governing the contemporary Aboriginal art scene, the relationship between art and culture, including the importance of art in the wider community. Funding, management models and resource availability will be explained in relation to the art centres visited. Students will also study the display and consumption of Indigenous art at institutional and tourist levels.

A quota of 10-12 students applies to this subject.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should:

  • have met and interacted with Australian Aboriginal people from a diverse range of communities and learnt about their art, its history and culture;
  • have read the literature on, and experienced at first hand, a range of issues that Australian Aboriginal people face, and how these have influenced and affected art production;
  • understand the need to establish networks and foster relationships that recognise and respect Indigenous knowledge, leading to equitable research partnerships in the field of art history; and
  • be familiar with the relevant literature in art history that addresses the place of the Aboriginal art genre, the range of interpretive methodologies applied in the study of Aboriginal art and the politics of consumption and display.

Generic skills

At the completion of this subject, students should gain the following generic skills:

  • be able to research through the competent use of the library and other information sources, and be able to define areas of inquiry and methods of research in the preparation of essays;
  • be able to conceptualise theoretical problems, form judgements and arguments and communicate critically, creatively and theoretically through essay writing, tutorial discussion and presentations;
  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion;
  • be able to manage and organise workloads for recommended reading, the completion of essays and assignments and examination revision; and
  • be able to participate in team work through involvement in syndicate groups and group discussions.

Eligibility and requirements


Admission to fourth year honours or postgraduate diploma in art history, or MA program in art history, art curatorship, arts & cultural management, or Indigenous studies is required. Students must obtain the approval of the subject coordinator to enrol in this subject.



Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

AHIS30005 Contemporary Aboriginal Art, or Australian Indigenous Studies subjects.

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
AHIS30005 Contemporary Aboriginal Art
Semester 1

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



  • A written site project equivalent to 1,500 words (25%), due in late July.
  • An essay of 3,500 words (75%), due in August.
  • Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% (or 10 out of 12) classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. Any student who fails to meet this hurdle without valid reason will not be eligible to pass the subject. All required written work must be submitted in order to pass the subject. Essays submitted after the due date without an extension will be penalised 2% per day. Essays submitted after two weeks of the assessment due date without a formally approved application for special consideration or an extension will only be marked on a pass/fail basis if accepted.

Quotas apply to this subject

Dates & times

  • Winter Term - Off Campus
    CoordinatorSusan Lowish
    Mode of deliveryOff Campus
    Contact hours30 hours taught intensively
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period 1 July 2019 to 18 July 2019
    Last self-enrol date 4 July 2019
    Census date12 July 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail26 July 2019
    Assessment period ends 8 August 2019

    Winter Term contact information


    Students must contact the lecturer in charge of the subject prior to enrolment to obtain written approval to enrol. Application and selection details are available from the lecturer in charge.

Time commitment details

170 Hours

Additional delivery details

Intensive subject taught in Alice Springs, Darwin and surrounding communities in the Northern Territory in June-July.

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    A subject reader will be available.

  • Subject notes

    A quota of 10-12 students applies to this subject. Students should consult the subject coordinator for application procedures and forms. Prospective students must register with the lecturer in charge, submit an application, and receive written approval of enrolment. To enrol in this subject students must submit a Subject Variation form along with written authorisation from the School of Culture and Communication to the Faculty of Arts Student Centre. It is not possible to enrol in this subject on-line. Strict enrolment deadlines apply to subjects taught during the winter recess. The subject dates and HECS/course fee census dates for this subject change each year. Check your enrolment record for the correct census date for this subject.

    Admission to fourth year honours or postgraduate diploma in art history, or MA program in art history, art curatorship, arts & cultural management, or Indigenous studies is required. Students must obtain the approval of the subject coordinator to enrol in this subject.

  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

    Additional information for this subject

    Subject coordinator approval required

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 29 May 2019