Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

print version

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Art, Design and Architecture
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2012 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Ms Anna Daly


This unit deconstructs the visual language/s of popular culture by exploring the notion that film, television, magazines, fashion, advertising, comics, computer graphics and the internet are amongst the most powerful and persuasive communicators of ideas, attitudes, beliefs and stereotypes in our contemporary world. Using the techniques of semiotics and contemporary theory students learn to interpret and deconstruct the meaning of the various mediums of popular culture.


On successful completion of this unit, student will:

  1. be familiar with the salient ideas and methodologies of semiotics, and how these may contribute to an understanding of art and design;
  2. be familiar with the salient ideas and differences between structuralist and post-structuralist thought, and be able to make connections between these ideas and art and design practice;
  3. be able to use semiotics to critically decode and analyse the images and texts of popular culture;
  4. have an awareness and understanding of the cultural roles and responsibilities of professional communicators in today's society.


Research essay (2000 words): 40%
Short analytical essay (1000 words): 30%
One tutorial paper (1000 words): 25%
Class participation: 5%

Chief examiner(s)

Daniel Palmer

Contact hours

One 1 hour lecture and one 2 hour tutorial per week


Must have passed 12 credit points at second year level in Theory of Art and Design, Visual Culture or Cultural Studies