The Politics of Art As Social Activism

Subject SOTH70001 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 2, Southbank - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 Hours
Total Time Commitment:

96 Hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Objectives, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit:


Dr Elizabeth Presa


Faculty of the VCA and Music Student Centre
Ground Floor, Elisabeth Murdoch Building (Bldg 860)
Southbank Campus
234 St Kilda Road, Southbank, 3006

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

The Arts have traditionally provided a powerful form of political protest, social critique and commentary. This subject introduces a range of art-based protest movements, projects and singular works that have influenced cultural transformation and helped shape cultural memory. Moving through the 20th to the 21 century, across and across national boundaries we will examine some of the most significant acts of protest in the visual and performing arts, music and cinema. We will analyse the work of some of the most radical artists currently working in China, Central and South America and Europe as well as the political and social contexts shaping their work. We will identify opportunities for the arts to contribute to social justice and peacekeeping strategies and programmes transnationally.

Learning Outcomes:

This subject will:

• introduce students to the most significant protest movements in the arts and their socio-political contexts;
• develop an awareness of the interrelationships between art, political engagement and social memory;
• develop communication and logistical skills for implementing collective arts-based projects;
• explore opportunities to effectively contribute to international strategies and programmes for the environment, social justice, reconciliation and peacekeeping.


5000 words or equivalent written and practical project, developed in conjunction with supervisor with feedback throughout the semester (100%).

Prescribed Texts:

Subject Reader

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Related Course(s): Master of Transnational Arts

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