Undergraduate Degree




DD3007 Nature In Art & Visual Culture

[Lectures: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: Nil; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

To deliver to the student visual culture and nature in a critical context to each other.


From the earliest cave paintings, representations of the natural world in art have been inextricably linked to human self-understanding. In attempts to represent nature, humans construct places and identities for themselves through processes of difference or equivalence. Given this, is it possible to conceive of nature in such a way that it does not inevitably become “all about us”? The objective of this combined art history, theory and practice seminar is to expose students to the complex issues that arise when working through conceptions and representations of nature in art. The course aims to deliver a reading of the real ecological challenges of our time from a series of art historical, cultural and philosophical examples and work through these understandings through a series of art practice exercises.

Course Outline




Does Nature Exist? 

What do we mean by Nature in art & visual culture?

2 - 6

Constructions of Nature in Art: Is Anthropomorphism inevitable?

Nature in Art & Visual Culture of: World Religions 

Nature in Art & Visual Culture of: The Modern World 

Nature in Art & Visual Culture of: The Colonial World

Nature in Art & Visual Culture of: South East Asian art

Nature in Art & Visual Culture of: Ecological challenges


Project: Formulation and Pitching of Final Projects.


Charisma in Megafauna & Wildlife

9 -10

Theory to Practice: Science, Technology and Visual Culture.

Theory to Practice: Urban Ecologies: Denaturing Nature in Contemporary Art Nature & Performance.


Project: Presentation of proposed final projects.


Project: Critique and consultation on final projects.


Project: Presentations of final projects.

Learning Outcome

The student will be able to place into a critical context the role of nature in visual culture.

Student Assessment

  1. Final Assessment: 40%

  2. Continuous Assessment: 60% (of which at least 15% is participation)

Continuous assessment components may include:

  • Exercises and projects

  • Individual, group and team-based assignments


  1. Academy Group Ltd, Art and the Natural Environment, Academy Editions

  2. Steve Baker, The Post Modern Animal, Reaktion

  3. Coupe Laurence, The Green Studies Reader, Routledge

  4. Davis Lucy, FOCAS 6 Regional Animalities. Culture/Nature Southeast Asia, The Substation Singapore/DOCUMENTA Germany 12

  5. Donna Haraway, The Haraway Reader, Routledge

  6. T Ingold, (Ed), What is an Animal?, Routledge

  7. Mark J. Smith (Ed), Thinking Through the Environment: A Reader, Routledge

  8. Kate Soper, What Is Nature? Culture, Politics and the Non-Human, Blackwell,

  9. N Rothfels (Ed.), Representing Animals, Indiana University Press