Art, philosophy & politics

Art Programme (AP) online courses are designed to discuss contemporary issues as they intersect with art, film and curatorial practices. Our interest is in divining new ways of thinking and making and bringing these into the course design. The courses will cover different media, including cinema and other screen-based mediums, painting, installation and sculptural practices.

AP course designers and teachers have extensive experience in designing and delivering university level courses in art schools and university theory departments.

Antoine Vollon, Mound of Butter, 1875–85, oil on canvas, 50.2 x 61cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.



Art + Poetry is a five week online course on art and poetry, run by artist, writer and teacher Mel Deerson.

Each week will focus on a different pairing of artwork and poetry, and will include simple prompts for low-pressure, in-class writing exercises.

Beginning, Tuesday July 4, 18:30–20:00 x 5 weeks.

Week 1: Part + Whole  
Week 2: Coming + Going
Week 3: Days + Miracles
Week 4: Games + Lessons
Week 5: Visions + Messengers

Suitable for anyone at any level - you don’t have to be an artist or a poet, and you don’t have to share your writing in class. No preparation necessary for each class.


If you are experiencing financial difficulties, contact Jan Bryant: 


“Thank you for organising all these eye-opening and thought-provoking presentations.”
— Ellen Ferrier (Artist)

“Incursions, plants, art practices, added a depth and richness to the educational offering for Bundanon’s Siteworks (2022/23).”
— Sophie O’Brien (Curator)

I found it really interesting and valuable hearing directly from all of the participating artists and the group discussions.
— Isabella Loudon (Artist)

“The class was the highlight of my month and has enriched my own painting practice.”
— Eleanor Louise Butt (Artist)

“Just to say how much I enjoyed the sculpture course ... It was really valuable, and made me consider /reconsider many ideas and notions beyond my usual ruminations ... Great selection of artists and working methodologies.’
— Chris de Rosa (Artist)


April–May 2023 Contemporary Sculptural Practices

Art Programme ran a 6-week course on contemporary sculptural practice (considered in its expanded form to include not only objects but installations, texts, films, paintings, etc.). Guests :

  • Susan Jacobs: April 04
  • Dan Arps: April 11
  • Nabilah Norden: April 18

Mid Break: April 25

  • Elizabeth Presa: May 02
  • Emily Floyd: May 09
  • Nicholas Mangan: May 16

Across the course, we questioned whether art in the 21st century had a continued political role to play; what it means to make objects in the climate crisis; and what art would look like if it were solely produced for a commercial market. Readings for discussion were drawn from philosophy, poetry, literature, film, music, or other disciplines.

February 2023
Incursions, plants, art practices

Using fiction, poetry, films, and artworks as the bases for discussion, we will investigate some theoretical concepts sparked by Bundanon’s Siteworks 2022, such as:

  • humans’ relationships with plants;
  • capitalism and drugs;
  • colonialism and decolonising strategies;
  • climate change and art;
  • critique of historical earthworks;
  • philosophical and political themes around life/nature/capitalism.

Set across 3 weeks on line and 1 week onsite (recorded for those who can’t attend in person).

Week 1: February 6, Vegetal thinking, Perceptions of plant life / Guest: Gwynneth Porter (writer)

Week 2: February 13, Impact of Colonisation on First Peoples. / Guest: Mandy Quadrio (Artist) Meanjin based, Pairabeenee, Trawlwoolway, woman.

Week 3: February 20, Art, materials, climate change Guest / Andrew Denton (Canadian/NZ filmmaker)

Week 4:  February 26, Conversation with artists at the Bundanon site / Guests: Naomi Eller and Stephen Rhall

August–September 2022
Post-Conceptual Painting

A discussion on contemporary painting, featured a different guest artist each week:

  • Angela Brennan
  • Emmanuel Rodriguez Chavez
  • Fu-on Chung
  • Sarah Hillary
  • Julie Irving
  • Clare Longely
  • Helen Johnson
  • Patrick Lundberg
  • Mathilde Rossier
  • Sam Rountree Williams
  • Kate Smith

Painting was considered as pictorial practice in the widest, non-denominational sense. Taking the decline in the power of conceptual art as a starting point, it explored the way painters this century  have re-embracing sensation, material effects and diverse approaches, unconcerned with the kinds of debates and/or fixations that ebbed and flowed in earlier moments of modernity.

In consultation with the guest artist, reading were taken from fiction, poetry, philosophy, political theory, film, a still image, or a joke!  

A package of historical texts on painting was included to contextualise the contemporary moment.  

May 2022
On Painting Philip Guston’s Studio

On Painting was a collaboration between AP and The MS.

Bill Hawkins and Jan Bryant instigated discussions on various ideas in painting using quotes from Philip Guston as catalysts. There was an open discussion that included the invitation for participants to presentf their own work.

Divided into 5 parts: (1) positioning Guston / questioning art history methodolgies / Georges Didi-Huberman; (2) political aesthetics / Jacques Jacques Rancière / issues surrounding the postponment of Guston’s large retrospective originally planned for 2020 and identity politics; (3)  Guston’s rejection of abstraction and theories of Mimesis; (4) moods, humour and melancholy / Guston’s allegorical claim for his late works / Walter Benjamin’s theory of allegory; (5) the future of contemporary art under current economic structures (neoliberalism) / Wendy Brown / David Harvey /

Other painters referenced: Pierre Alechinsky / Fra Angelica / Belkis Ayón / Francis Bacon / Angela Brennan / Chardin / Jean Fautrier / Piero della Francesca / El Greco / D Harding / Martin Kippenberger /Julia Koether / Dana Lok / Helen Johnson / José Clemente Orozco / Mathilde Rosier / Diego Rivera / Georgette Seabrooke /

August 2022
Bodies Without Organs

Ruth Höflich

Body Without Organs was a five-part course led by Ruth Höflich with guest presentations by New York-based artist H.A Halpert, the collaborative duo, Mel Deerson & Briony Galligan, and artist/filmmaker Allison Gibbs. It responded to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Theorem (1968) and Claire Denis’ The Intruder (2004) to consider visitor/host relations, folded structures and the porous borders that form around them as well as broader questions on the poetics of cinema and the necessary precarity of open form.

The course was an experiment in different forms of presentation, spanning lecture performance, discussion and modes of artists’ research that invite collaboration. Weekly sessions was underpinned by additional film and video excerpts (incl. Valie Export, Marguerite Duras, Alexandre Koberidze and Jean–Luc Godard) as well readings across theory and poetry

Art Programme operates on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri of the Kulin Alliance and acknowledges and pays respect to their Elders past and present. We offer our ongoing support for the Victorian State Government's Treaty process and hold expectations that the Federal Government will recognise the Uluru Statement from the Heart (2017) that asks for Federal parliamentary voices for Australia’s first peoples.