The School of Critical Arts

offers courses, workshops, and seminars in art, philosophy, and culture and theory.

Upcoming Courses

You can enrol in any course for free, or by choosing a fee structure appropriate for your employment (waged or unwaged). The number of free places provided is dependent on paid enrollments and allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Courses, seminars, and workshops are held in-person at Fremantle Library︎︎︎ and Claude St︎︎︎, and online.

African Philosophy: Perspectives and Trajectories
August 4–September 8 (online), Thursdays 5–7pm (AWST)
SCA Studio Crit Program
October 6–November 24, Thursdays 6.30–8.30pm (applications closed)
Faking the Science: The Role of Pseudoscientific Content in Art and Narrative
October 7, Friday 10am–12pm
Life, Death, and Meaning
October 9–December 11, Sundays 1–3.30pm

African Philosophy: Perspectives and Trajectories
Augustine Obi
6-week online course
Thursdays, 5pm–7pm (AWST)
August 4–September 8, 2022

Since the beginning of mid-20th century, African Philosophy has emerged as a full-fledged dynamic and growing philosophical tradition. Prior to this era, there was controversy about the possibility of African Philosophy and how best to do the same. And as numerous readers, anthologies and other contemporary African Philosophers have confirmed through their scholarly literatures, the existence of African Philosophy is indubitable, but what is rather a subject of many debates is the constitution of the African tradition of philosophy and the specific qualities that distinguish this philosophical field from western philosophy and other philosophical traditions.

This course sets out to study African philosophy as a living set of traditions in philosophy. Over six sessions, the module outlines the development of African Philosophy from the mid-20th century, offering synthesis of insights from key scholars of African philosophy and putting them into accessible narrative. The course commences with a survey of “ethnophilosophy” as the discourse that gave birth to African philosophy, under the premise that African philosophy is fundamentally at variance with western philosophy and other regional philosophies. In the second part of the course, we will discuss the theories of various professional African philosophers, beginning with the Sage Philosophy Project of Henry Odera Oruka which offers an unswerving objection to the issues raised against “ethnophilosophy.” Several sessions will be devoted to the study of the other influential contemporary African philosophers, particularly Kwame Anthony Appiah, Kwasi Wiredu, Paulin Hountondji, Valentin-Yves Mudimbe, John Mbiti, Ifeanyi Menkiti, Kwame Gyekye, Motsamai Molefe, Thaddeus Metz and the recently deceased, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  

  1. Blackness and the struggle for reason
  2. A history of African philosophy
  3. Philosophy of Ubuntu
  4. Afro-communitarian debate (selfhood and relations)
  5. Morality and justice
  6. African concept of time

Crowned head from Ife (12th–15thC).

Instructor biography
Dr Augustine Obi is a philosopher working in Metaphysics (Ontology), Phenomenology, Hermeneutics, Philosophy of Religion, African Philosophy and Meta-philosophy. He works at Imo State University, Nigeria, and has worked at the University of Melbourne.
SCA Studio Crit Program
David Attwood
8-week course
Thursdays, 6.30pm–8.30pm
October 6–November 24, 2022
Applications closed

The SCA Studio Crit Program is a coordinated series of group studio critiques for artists working in the field of Contemporary Art. Participants present works in progress for critical feedback from the cohort, with the aim of aiding the material and conceptual development of their artistic projects, exchanging ideas, and fostering discussion. 

Participation in the SCA Studio Crit Program is by application, with up to eight positions available. Over eight sessions, each participant will individually present their work to the group for discussion. It is imperative that all participants attend all sessions. Sessions will take place in the studio of the presenting participant, and where this is not possible alternative arrangements will be made. 

Please note that the program is not open to currently enrolled students, and privileges artists that have an undergraduate degree or qualification in art or higher. The program is coordinated by artist David Attwood. 

If accepted, we will send you a link to enrol. We ask you to pay what you can—$250, $100, or $0. There is no cap on the number of free enrolments of the 8 positions available.  

Marcel Duchamp’s 67th Street Studio, 1917–1918.

Instructor biography
David Attwood makes artwork in the form of readymades, found objects and sculptural assemblages using contemporary commodities. Attwood holds a PhD in Art from Curtin University, and in 2019 completed the SOMA Summer Program, SOMA, Mexico City. He has shown his work widely across Australia and overseas in commercial, institutional, artist-run, online, and offsite settings. Attwood is the coeditor of the book The Art of Laziness: Contemporary Art and Post-Work Politics (Art + Australia, 2020) and runs the project space Disneyland Paris
Faking the Science: The Role of Pseudoscientific Content in Art and Narrative
Drew Thornton
Fremantle Library, Walyalup Civic Centre
Friday October 7, 10am–12pm

How do you distinguish “science” from “fiction” in creative works? This seminar is intended for artists and writers who incorporate scientific ideas or practices into their work, as well as for academics and critics for whom the difference between real and “really suspect” is important. Cases of scientific misdirection and hornswoggling are drawn from the field of Biological Arts, from Eduardo Kac’s fluorescent rabbits and the infamous Vacanti mouse, to the presenter’s own work with video-game-playing house flies. These provide context for discussion of the relationship between fakery, creativity and fiction, as well as the conflict between truth and spectacle that confronts both artists and scientists.

The aim of this seminar is to demystify the sometimes dubious involvement of science in the arts, and vice versa. Examining both the synergies and antagonisms that arise from involvements between scientific and imaginative processes ought to provide provocation for artists and creators, and suggest new strategies for engaging with hybrid texts, parsing the murky pseudoscience and hidden fictions encountered across both scientific and literary genres.

Eduardo Paolozzi, The Dynamics of Biology [plate 38 from Bunk!] (1972).

Instructor biography
Drew Thornton completed the degree of Master of Biological Arts with SymbioticA at the University of Western Australia in 2019. Drew’s current postgraduate research at Curtin University investigates textual relationships between contemporary environments and fictional futures.