Education and Arts

Create Yourself

Sculpture Class

Turn Your Passions into a Career

If you have a creative bent and want to channel your expression into bigger things, you should check out the Arts degrees at ACU.


Recognised artists and industry professionals


The Arts teachers at ACU are not only committed, inspiring and passionate educators; they are also industry professionals with outstanding reputations in their respective fields. This means that you will graduate with both the technical skills to create your vision and the business/industry know-how to allow you to ply your trade in the commercial sphere. Our small class sizes mean that you won’t be lost in a sea of faces and can really make the most of the industry connections and opportunities made available through your studies.

Click on a location below to get a quick taste of what some of our Arts staff have been up to professionally in the last year or so.

Senior lecturer in Visual Arts Lachlan Warner was recently selected to contribute to the inaugural exhibition at the Nan Tien Institute alongside Ah Xian, Guan Wei and Lindy Lee. Lachlan also curates the program of ACU’s McGlade Gallery in Sydney’s inner west, which frequently exhibits the work of established artists and provides a space for students to showcase their work at professional industry standards.

Senior lecturer Jeannette Siebols was a finalist in the 2015 Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing, as well as the 2015 Mosman Art Prize. She exhibited twice in 2015, at the Stations of the Cross exhibition, McGlade Gallery and the Slow Burn exhibition, Delmar Gallery.

Senior lecturer in Visual Arts Dr Catherine Bell participated in an array of group exhibitions in 2015, including: PP/VT (Performance Presence / Video Time), Australian Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide; Finitude, Plimsoll Gallery, Hobart; Affiliated Text, Cross Art Books Gallery, Sydney; Selfie: Image Narrative Opiate, Cross Arts Books Gallery, Sydney; Stations of the Cross, McGlade Gallery, Sydney; Treatment, Melbourne Water Treatment Plant, Werribee; and Treated – The Sublime Passage, Wyndham Art Gallery, Melbourne.

Lecturer in Graphics/Graphic Design Elvis Richardson, was a finalist in the Fremantle Print Award and was selected for the following exhibitions: Octopus: Lost and Profound, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne; Transmission: Legacies of the Television Age, National Gallery of Victoria; Bad Spelling, Cross Arts Book Gallery, Sydney; Platform of Ideas, Artspace, Sydney; Crafted History, Maroondah Art Gallery, Melbourne; FEMMO, BoxCopy Gallery, Brisbane; Exhibit A, Lock Up Artspace, Newcastle; Sydney Contemporary Art Fair Video, Carriageworks, Sydney.

Visual Arts lecturer Prudence Flint was a finalist in the 2015 Archibald Portrait Prize, Art Gallery of NSW.

Lecturer in Music, Dr Timothy McKenry, receives regular commissions as a composer, the latest being a piece for Soprano and mixed ensemble for the Bridges Collective – a work that has toured internationally. Other recent commissions include a choral setting of the Dylan Thomas poem Do Not Go Gentle for SATB (commissioned by the Da Capo Singers) and a major work for organ and 'cello titled Relentless (commissioned by the City of Melbourne).

Dr Mark Lyall, is a lecturer in Digital Media whose recent professional work includes the commission Hymn for things forgotten (5 minutes), for the Daylesford Community Brass Band, work as composer and music engineer for the 3-part ABC documentary series Art and Soul, and a multimodal commission for the Melbourne Rainbow Band incorporating text, music and ‘live’ sound design.

Senior lecturer in Digital Media, Dr Diane Charleson, is the organising force behind ‘Walk in my Shoez’ a weekly program on Channel 31 covering contemporary issues, hosted by comedian Rose Callaghan and produced by third year Media students from ACU.

Brisbane-based artist Lindsay Farrell, Associate Professor in the Visual Arts, recently exhibited in Camino II at the Vera Wade Gallery and Visionaries at the Peter W Sheehan Gallery, Brisbane. Lindsay was also a judge of the Redcliffe Religious Art Prize and Pixel Prize. Lindsay is the Director of ACU’s Sheehan Gallery in Brisbane, located near the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, which frequently exhibits the work of established artists and provides students with a space to showcase their work at professional industry standards.

Associate Professor in Digital Journalism, Cathy Jenkins, has 16 years of experience as a radio journalist, including five years in the Queensland Parliament Media Gallery. Her current interests lie in the role of social networking sites as agents for mobilisation and community building, and as sources for news.

Senior lecturer in Music Judy Fromhyr works extensively as a Music and Festival Director and performer. Judy’s current research interests focus on the development of expertise in musical performance.


Thought leaders


The process of creation is also important when thinking about and pursuing the interests of the societies we want to live in. It is vital that we can understand the times we live in and develop the capacity to make meaningful contributions to public debate and discussion. In this regard our academics at ACU are leading the way.

Click on a location below to get a quick taste of the exciting ways our Arts staff are influencing public discourse and having an impact on important social issues.

Historian Dr Hannah Forsyth is a regular contributor to the media, in newspapers such as The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald, as well as The Conversation and London’s Times Higher Education. Her recently published A History of the Modern Australian University has been the subject of much discussion in the public sphere and reflects her ongoing interests in the in the structure of knowledge, education, government and capitalism and the implications of these for socio-economic equality and strategies for social inclusion. A public intellectual on the rise, an essay by Hannah was recently included in The Conversation’s 2015 Yearbook – Politics, Policy and the Chance of Change.

Research undertaken by Dr Tony Stokes and Dr Sarah Wright on trends in the economics discipline and profession in Australia has been reported on by both the Sydney Morning Herald and Age newspapers (these newspapers also reported on ACU’s top score for teaching and learning quality in Economics in Australia- see qilt.edu.au). Dr Stokes and Dr Wright are distinguished leaders in the field of Economics education, and authors of the multi-edition HSC Checkpoints in Economics (Cambridge University Press) and the recently published second edition of Contemporary Economic Policies and Issues in Australia (Greenacre Educational Publications).

Associate Professor Mark Chou is founding co-editor of Democratic Theory: An Interdisciplinary Journal, published by Berghahn as well as author of the Palgrave Macmillan book series, The Theories, Concepts and Practices of Democracy. He is also an associate of the Sydney Democracy Network. Mark is a regular contributor to The Conversation is the author of a number of research articles in such journals as Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Australian Journal of Political Science, Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory, New Political Science, Political Studies Review, Telos, Critical Horizons, and Journal for Cultural Research.

Noted historian Professor Shurlee Swain’s research has been crucial to the publicity and political attention given to Australia’s history of forced adoptions and abuse of children in care. Professor Swain is a prolific author, whose 2013 book The Market in Babies: Stories of Australian Adoption (co-authored with Marian Quartly and Denise Cuthbert) was launched to extensive media attention. She has recently worked as a consultant for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and will be writing the History chapter of the Commission’s final report. A dynamic and engaging public historian, Professor Swain has also contributed to the extremely popular ‘Who Do You Think You Are? on SBS, and acted as historical consultant for Channel 9’s drama ‘Love Child’.

Dr Tracy Sanders, a senior lecturer in Drama and Sociology, has extensive experience in drama education and in consulting (for schools and NGOs), drama script writing, and drama directing. Her work in ethnographic community narratives was showcased on the international stage when her play Mary, A Woman for All People was performed in Rome for the canonisation of Mary MacKillop in 2010. Dr Sanders’ work is widely respected amongst drama colleagues and she is actively engaged as a professional mentor. Her research has explored drama in single sex classrooms and, more recently, the use of ethno-drama and community narratives in the wider community.


State-of-the-art facilities


At ACU we are committed to providing you with professional equipment and spaces in which to hone your craft. In addition to giving you the opportunity to develop your skills to their highest potential, this also allows for a seamless transition from campus to career.

As part of our commitment we look forward to launching our new state-of-the-art media studios in February 2016 at our Melbourne campus, just one part of the exciting Arts precinct we are building in bustling Fitzroy.

Visual Arts studio

ACU Melbourne Gallery

Recording studio

Sound engineering equipment


Internships and international study programs


At ACU we want to give you the tools to turn your passion and skills into a rewarding career. The first part of that is about giving you the hands-on professional experience that will allow you to discover your niche and get a head start in your career. The second part is creating international immersion and study programs for you that can ignite your passion and inspiration, and give you a greater understanding of the world, its complexity, and your place within it.

We have extensive internship programs and partnerships that give us the scope to secure a placement that responds to your particular needs. Internships are embedded into our practically oriented courses (for example, our third-year Bachelor of Digital Media will students can undertake a 120-hour internship with a media organisation as part of their course load) and voluntary opportunities in the field are offered throughout our courses.

Community Engagement is also an important part of what we do at ACU, and a community engagement unit helps you gain new skills and experiences and improve your resume, while making an important contribution to the wider community (at a local or international level).

Students of International Development will undertake an immersion program that will enrich their understanding of both theory and reality on the ground. You can read about the deep impact of the immersion program on three of our students here.

Students of the Arts can take a study tour of the world famous Venice Biennale, or travel to New York to read novels, attend performances and immerse themselves in the locations that gave birth to these texts and the cultural sites (theatres, art galleries and museums) that provided the creative impetus for these works.

All ACU students have the opportunity to participate in the International Core Curriculum in Rome, London, Beijing, Paris or Florence.

It is the combination of technical abilities, critical thinking skills, industry experience and real-world exposure that makes our graduates ready to hit the ground running on completion of their studies at ACU.


Industry experience


ACU offers an environment where creative people come together to explore their passions and unlock their potential. While studying you can enhance your professional opportunities through ACU’s community engagement activities and partnerships – so you enter the workforce with documented experience and evidence of creative capabilities and achievements. Get involved in all aspects of bringing a story to life on stage, in a studio, on screen, in print, or digital media.

Check out some of our students and what they have to say about studying at ACU.

Alex Lehours - Visual Arts and Design

My world is a colourful one. Every day I get to be creative. I have made a career out of my passion.

Find out more about Alex's experience

Chris Bates - Media and Communication

Seeing my imagination become reality on screen makes it all worthwhile. I love seeing a film come together.

Find out more about Chris's experience


Kick-started career


Jessica Pedevski - Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design (Alumni)

Jessica at the gallery

Always challenge yourself, go outside your comfort zone and in the end you will see just how much you have learned and developed in your practice, both technically and conceptually. I think I am very lucky to be where I am today, and I feel not many people can say that they have their dream job. The decisions you make early on definitely do have an impact on your future. In the first two years of the course, we were to complete a community volunteering unit. Whilst some volunteered at local primary schools, op-shops and the like, I really wanted to use this opportunity to set me up in getting a great internship in my final year. I completed my voluntary unit at Gertrude Contemporary, and my experience from this definitely helped me in getting an amazing internship at ARC ONE Gallery, where I was later offered a Casual, then Part-Time position. From this point forward, I have worked my way to where I want to be today.

Find out more about studying visual arts at ACU