Object-based learning at the National Gallery of Victoria

Short video series

Episode 02: The Banquet of Cleopatra

Episode 07: Avalokiteshvara

Client: Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, The University of Melbourne

Impact: Transforming the homes of first-year students into world class art galleries

These engaging and beautifully produced videos, presented by the labyrinthian thinker and raconteur Ted Colless, will play a key role in connecting studio-based learning to the broader world of ideas.

— Dr Sean Lowry (Head of Critical and Theoretical Studies, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music)


Process: Talking the talk on art critique

As an introduction to art critique for many students, these videos needed to artfully pair analysis with clear illustration to allow students to develop a clear understanding of the relevance and importance of critical thinking to their future studies and professional lives. Dr Sean Lowry approached us as he was in the process of transforming his subject to an online medium. His goal was to create an experience for his students that was as engaging as the in-person version—if not more so.

Learning Environments worked alongside a team of subject experts to plan and produce a series of four videos utilising object-based learning strategies. Commentary from senior visual art lecturers was interwoven with footage of the discussed artworks and artists, including a selection of footage shot of on-location artworks at the National Gallery of Victoria. Centring diverse artists, from those with Tibetan-Chinese origins to Cleopatra’s banquet by Tiepolo, meant that there was something of relevance to many students’ art styles and interests. This critique, full of insightful and nuanced commentary, was delivered by senior visual arts lecture and art critic, Tessa Laird, and nationally renowned art critic and published writer, Ted Colless.

These videos were carefully curated alongside other content to form final subject modules. By bringing esteemed critics, and world-famous artworks, to the intimate environment of student’s homes, we ensured that through the instability of the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future, visual arts students at the University of Melbourne are offered a world class education.

behind the scenes