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Understanding the complex and dynamic Australian arts world is a key foundation for successful professional engagement in the cultural and creative field. This course maps the Australian arts world as an ecology and situates it within an Asia-Pacific and international arts context. It enables students to share and locate their cultural experience and knowledge within a critical overview of curatorial and cultural practice in Australia. 

The Australian arts ecology is composed of many interrelated and interacting layers of activity led by institutions, movements and individuals. This course will cover key areas including the history, development and role of arts collectives and artist-run institutions, commercial and public galleries, private and State foundations and collectors, and museums operating across a local, regional, national and international context.

The course explores particular historical and cultural interests, issues, events and perspectives that have shaped the Australian arts setting and are shaping contemporary discourse and directions. These include: indigenous culture, post-colonial settings, rural-urban realities, and the development of regional dialogue and hubs. The course addresses and critiques the increasing role of networks and networking in the cultural field, the conditions of globalisation, and concerns relating to sustainability and growth. 

The course works closely with Galleries UNSW and other industry partners, featuring three public guest lectures. This grounds the students in a sense that they are both discussing and constituting the Australian arts world, and aims to enhance networking skills and professional development.


Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 2



Indicative contact hours


Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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