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VSA1002 Introduction to Contemporary Art Practice

Semester 1, 2012 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : School of Creative Arts
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Alexis Tacey
Moderator: Stephen Spurrier


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: BCRA or BEDU


This course is concerned with building a practical foundation in all five studio areas. By exploring a variety of methods and materials students will be encouraged to develop their technical, conceptual and observational skills. NOTE: Arts Management is the only area available to External students.


This course is concerned with building a practical foundation in all five visual arts studio areas. By exploring a variety of methods and materials students will be encouraged to develop their technical, conceptual and observational skills. Studio practice will be supplemented with project work which will be undertaken in the two-dimensional disciplines of Painting and Printmaking and in the three-dimensional disciplines of Ceramics, and Spatial Construction. Studio practice will be reinforced by lectures and discussion on contemporary arts/crafts practice, analysing the work of established professionals in order to increase student insight into concepts expressed visually in all aspects of studio practice. This will be underpinned by history and theory lectures in associated visual arts courses. NOTE: Arts Management is the only area available to External students.


On completion of this course students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. an understanding of materials and how to manipulate them through practice and experimentation in each of the two- and three-dimensional areas offered;
  2. an ability to apply principles of design to their two- and three-dimensional product;
  3. the ability to see things analytically, and record or exhibit them appropriately;
  4. the ability to use materials and techniques to conceptually convey ideas;
  5. skills in the correct, safe handling of materials and processes in each workshop discipline;
  6. demonstrate management, planning and organisation skills, including responsible attitudes and work habits required for continuing studio practice;
  7. an ability to understand curatorial issues and concepts;
  8. a responsibility for studio space including cleaning of work areas and respect for equipment;
  9. written communication skills appropriate to the task of producing a journal and project folio;
  10. oral communication skills by providing a rationale for their project.


Description Weighting(%)
1. DRAWING Studies (On campus only) include:

The uses of observation, composition and concept;

Uses of line, tone and colour;

Utilisation of different materials;

Develop critical awareness and visual analysis;

Drawing in contemporary art and history.
2. PAINTING Studies (On campus only) include (by way of Lectures, Demonstrations, Student Practice and Set Projects);

Approaches to painting techniques, processes and media, both traditional and contemporary

Elements of composition, harmony and proportion, and colour theory

Theory of historical and contemporary art practice
3. PRINTMAKING Studies (On campus only) include:

Introduction to the history and nature of printmaking

Relief prints in black and white and their history

Editioning: the repetitive quality of prints

The history and nature of etching

Introduction to etching techniques
4. CERAMICS Studies (On campus only) include:

Ceramics as an art form

Ceramics as a technology

Integration with other disciplines

Analysis of historical and contemporary artists' work

Techniques: Kiln firings, clay bodies, construction techniques, glaze, glaze application
5. SPATIAL CONSTRUCTION Studies (On campus only) include:

An introduction to contemporary approaches to spatial practice and textiles

Exploration of materials, techniques and processes in traditional and non-traditional istallation and object design

Analysis of work produced by selected artists
6. ARTS MANAGEMENT (External only)

Gallery and Museum Comparison

Critical Writing and Exhibitions

Contemporary Art and Writing

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. (

  • To be advised by the lecturer in each area.

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.
  • Arnheim, R 1954, Art and visual perception: a psychology of the creative eye, University of California Press, Los Angeles.
    (Also revised edition 1974.)
  • Art and Australia.
  • Art in America.
  • Art International.
  • ArtForum.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Private Study 165.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
GALLERY & MUSEUM COMP 1000 WDS 100 30 16 Apr 2012
EXHIBITION REVIEW 1500 WDS 100 60 11 Jun 2012

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:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  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.

  2. Students are strongly advised to maintain regular contact with their supervisor.

  3. Students will be assessed by a panel of Visual Arts staff who will provide written feedback at the completion of each studio.

  4. At assessment, students will present work from all their studio areas as directed by the lecturers in charge of these areas and will be in attendance to discuss their work. To be assured of a passing grade, students must meet the requirements of designated examiners.

  5. There will be regular studio critiques to review students' work in progress.

  6. Students will be expected to satisfactorily complete all studio requirements in order to pass the course.

  7. It is essential from the point of view of sequential learning and an understanding of workplace, health and safety issues and practices that students aim at full attendance in all workshops. Medical certification or appropriate documentation must be produced in cases of non attendance.

  8. All required assessment items must be presented at scheduled assessment times for a student to be considered for assessment.