FINEARTS 210G : Understanding Contemporary Visual Arts Practice

Creative Arts and Industries

2024 Summer School (1240) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

How does the contemporary art world work? Premised on the idea that there are many art worlds, this course examines global and local contemporary artistic practices, theories, histories and institutions, exploring the practices and discourses that constitute these worlds. No prior knowledge or experience of contemporary art is assumed.

Course Overview

This course offers an introduction to a range of practices, research and theories in the contemporary visual arts focusing on a selection of critical transformations in this field.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 60 points passed

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: University

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Research and participate in contemporary art practices (Capability 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)
  2. Analyse examples of practitioners' methodologies and areas of investigation (Capability 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignment 40% Individual Coursework
Essay 60% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2

Students must achieve 50% or more overall in order to pass the course.

Teaching & Learning Methods

The course is delivered via 2-hour lectures and classes on Thursdays and Fridays. Attendance is expected at scheduled lectures. 

The classes, course content and assessment tasks provide an introduction to a range of practices, research and theories in the contemporary visual arts focusing on a selection of major transformations in this field. Students will be introduced to historical and cultural contexts of contemporary visual arts and invited to consider these contexts in class time and in the assessment tasks. The classes and assessment encourage students to critically consider diverse artistic practices, artworks, theories and contexts, and to research and think reflectively. Students will have the opportunity to develop skills in the reception and interpretation of information, and to communicate ideas and knowledge effectively in academic English. Students are encouraged to ask questions and discuss the course content and assessment tasks both in class time and on Piazza.

Workload Expectations

This Summer School course is a standard 15 point course. For a 6 week course, students are expected to spend on average 20 hours per week involved in each 15 point course they are enrolled in during Summer School. In total you should expect to undertake 150 hours of study in this course inclusive of 24 hours of class contact time, and of reading, research, writing and self-directed study for the two course assessment tasks.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. 
The course will not include live online events.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a six week block delivery.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

In formative evaluations of the course in semester 2 2023, students asked for additional lectures that directly address the required readings. These requested lectures were developed during this semester and will be refined for the courses in 2024.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

In this course, students are prohibited from using generative artificial intelligence text software, such as ChatGPT, on their assessments. You are expected to complete your assessments without substantial assistance from others, including automated tools.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

By direct email request to the Course Director, a student may request an extension of time for assessment tasks if their study time has been disrupted by illness or other unexpected event that is out of the student’s control.

Students should notify the Course Director of their situation as soon as practicable, and preferably before the due date. Notifications received after an assessment due date will still be accepted where that is reasonably possible within the context of this course. Notifications by students should include information about the unexpected circumstances and should attach evidence to support this if they have any.

Feedback on students’ learning and assessments is important for their progress in a course; however, where extensions have been offered the feedback given may be diminished owing to logistical reasons.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 24/10/2023 12:50 p.m.