Art History

We’re immersed in the cultural complexity of art and architecture
Making sense of the visual art created today and by cultures of the recent and distant past.

We engage with art and visual culture both within Australia and around the world. From medieval Italian manuscripts to contemporary Asian installations and the study of museums, galleries and institutions, we are experts in art history, curating, film studies, and museum and heritage studies.

Through our fieldwork placements you'll have the opportunity to visit major cities around the world and experience art beyond classroom learning. 

Other specialisations include modern art, post-modern art, contemporary art and film from the United States, global histories of art and its networks and exchanges, Western Europe, East and Southeast Asia, and Australia, the last of which includes the study of Indigenous painting, and new media.

Our study offering

Gain a sophisticated understanding of the full range of cultural, theoretical, social, political and economic issues underlying the art gallery and museum system. 

In today’s image-saturated world, the ability to interpret critically the visual qualities of a given object is highly relevant. Study art history to gain skills in understanding and interpreting visual communication, expression and innovation. Explore the rich and fascinating history of creating, viewing and experiencing works of art and architecture. Understand and recognise how art is a profound and persistent human impulse.

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degrees.  

For those aiming to compete for specialist and academic posts in museums and universities, a research degree is becoming increasingly important. The rewards of working on new material or bringing new approaches are great, and the University offers breadth and depth of supervisory expertise in Art History and related fields.

Museum and Heritage Studies will equip you with a contextual understanding of core historical and theoretical developments in museum and heritage studies. You will learn the frameworks for managing collections and sites and develop a practical understanding of the modes of interpretation used in the museum and heritage sector.

The research programs involve independent research work and the preparation of a thesis under the supervision of the director of the program, and other academic staff in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Our research  

We are a leader in art history and theory research in Australia with strengths across a wide range of areas, including:

  • Early modern Europe and Asia
  • Visual culture and global modernities
  • Australian art, includes the study of Indigenous painting, cinema, and new media
  • Asian art
  • Film history and theory
  • Museum and exhibition studies

Research institutes and resources

Our people

  • Associate Professor Donna Brett, Chair of Discipline
  • Dr Yvonne Low, Undergraduate Course Component Coordinator 
  • Associate Professor Sarah Gleeson-White, Honours Coordinator
  • Dr Mark De Vitis, Postgraduate Program Coordinator, Art Curating
  • Dr Chiara O’Reilly, Postgraduate Program Coordinator, Museum & Heritage Studies
  • Professor Mary Roberts,  Research Director 
  • Dr Lilian Cameron, Academic Internship Coordinator, Art Curating & Museum and Heritage Studies


Visit the School's events calendar  to see our upcoming events and seminars.

Discipline Chair

Associate Professor Donna Brett

Art History

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