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VSA1002 Introduction to Contemporary Art Practice

Semester 1, 2020 Online
Short Description: Intro to Contemporary Art Prac
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Creative Arts
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 100301 - Fine Arts
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: David Usher


This course is offered in ON-CAMPUS mode as STUDIO PRACTICE and EXTERNAL mode as STUDIO RESEARCH. Intensive Studio Practice in Painting and Drawing only offered at Springfield Campus.
For 1st Year courses: This course is significant as it is a foundational course for first year students. Students are introduced to a range of technical, conceptual, practical and observational skills related to various studio and gallery practices as Material Idea being the central topic. In on-campus and external modes students are encouraged to research concepts, techniques and skills in order to apply and develop their understanding of historical, traditional and contemporary visual arts practice. In addition, students are made aware of cross-disciplinary studio and hybrid practices.
The student will be introduced to the various career pathways within the arts industry. This includes: practicing artist; curator; gallery administrator; art education officer; art teacher and art writer. This enables the student to cater the learning to their career aspirations. This course is integral to further understanding of Alternative Studio Practices within VSA1001 Contemporary Art Practice 1 and VSA Project 1.


Students learn to understand the various processes and materials used within studio practice considering the idea of Studio Practice as Material Idea. Students build technical, analytical and research skills within all visual arts areas including the studio disciplines: painting, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture and drawing. The course offers workshops and critiques as well as lectures and discussions on contemporary art and craft practice. The work of established professional artists is analysed in order to increase student insight into their own practice.
The visual language and studio research used at this level will be commensurate with skill-development.
NOTE: Both ON-CAMPUS and EXTERNAL courses will be underpinned by history and theory lectures in associated visual arts courses. For ONCAMPUS students, students will undertake WH&S induction and employ the safe handling of materials, processes and equipment.


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

  1. acquire a foundational knowledge of materials and concepts;
  2. research historical and contemporary art practice to evaluate and analyse the ideas constructed by artists;
  3. apply relevant skills and knowledge to produce and realize works of art and forms of creative expression;
  4. communicate visually and/or in writing by clearly and logically expressing ideas pertaining to practices and concepts inherent within traditional and hybridised artistic outcomes.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Selection of one or more studios from painting, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, drawing and hybrid practice for students who are undertaking ON-CAMPUS study for this course. For Springfield students, they will be undertaking painting and drawing.

Students undertaking EXTERNAL study for this course, there are two options to choose from. Option 1: Students undertake self-initiated research (in consultation with the course lecturer) developing the topic area that will be discussed for the three assignments. Option 2: Students undertake studio work in painting and drawing through both online lectures and self-initiated research/studio work

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. (

Stiles, K & Selz, P (eds) 2012, Theories & documents of contemporary art : a sourcebook of artists' writings, 2nd edn, University of California Press, Berkeley.

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.
Foster, H, Krauss, R, Bois, Y & Buchloh, BHD & Joselit, D 2016, Art since 1900: modernism, antimodernism, postmodernism 1900 to 1944, 3rd edn, Thames & Hudson, London.
Jacob, J & Grabner, M (eds) 2010, The studio reader, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Kalb, PR 2013, Art since 1980: charting the contemporary, Pearson, London.
Lind, M 2013, Abstraction (Whitechapel: documents of contemporary art) series, MIT Press, Cambridge.
Defining contemporary art: 25 years in 200 pivotal artworks by Daniel Birnbaum, Cornelia H Butler & Suzanne Cotter.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 65.00
Private Study 100.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 100 45 23 Mar 2020
ASSIGNMENT 2 100 10 20 Apr 2020
ASSIGNMENT 3 100 45 01 Jun 2020

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

    External and Online:
    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.

    It is the students’ responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and 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.

  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 for this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There is no examination 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

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.

Date printed 19 June 2020