Balawan Elective

The Bundian Way

The Balawan Electives focuses on the Bundian Way, a shared history pathway winding through significant landscapes over several hundred kilometres between the Snowy Mountains and Twofold Bay. The Bundian Way is an ancient Aboriginal route. The first European settlers were shown the pathway for trade and access purposes. A survey of the extent of the Bundian Way and its accessibility was conducted by John Blay, writer and naturalist, alongside elders and representatives of Indigenous communities. Since then, efforts have been underway to promote the heritage value of the Bundian Way to the wider community and to encourage Indigenous, non-Indigenous locals and visitors to harness the shared values of the path.

Balawan Electives

Following a successful collaboration in 2015, the 2016 Balawan Field Electives bring together as partners the Bundian Way Project, Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council and the School of Art, Australian National University (ANU). These partnerships will primarily facilitate Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal visual artists to undertake field research together on part of the Bundian Way and, interspersed with associated studio development at the ANU School of Art, ultimately produce fine art for public exhibition, aesthetically characterising the Bundian Way.

Environment Studio Electives

For undergraduate students across the university, two Environment Studio Electives (each a 6 unit course) are offered. The First  Semester Elective (ARTV2921 or ARTV6921) comprises of Field Trips 1 & 2, studio time, review and assessment during Semester 1. The Winter Intensive Elective (ARTV2921, ARTV2922 or or ARTV6921) takes place during the mid year break over a two-week period. It includes a five day Field Trip, an intensive studio work period, assessment of portfolio and journal, as well as contact time with teaching staff.  

Mode of Delivery: The ES Elective Study is structured around fieldwork: seven days for the Semester 1 Elective and five days for the Winter Elective. The aim of the course is to equip students with the skills to develop concepts and associated artwork from field research, focusing on the environmental exigencies of specific field locations. Under the supervision of the lecturer, students may develop work in the field and/or in the studio from primary sensory experiences in the field, from expert and local community interaction and/or from quantitative and qualitative data collected in the field. Field excursions are augmented by seminars, class discussions and individual tutorials.

Workload: 2 hours per week lectures (Mondays 2-4pm School of Art G04/05 - tbc), tutorials, critiques and seven days (or equivalent)* of field excursions plus 6 hours per week self-directed studio practice.

* The Winter Elective only has a 5 day field trip.

Prerequisites: Students will need to have familiarity with visual arts studio materials, processes and equipment.

2016 Balawan Field Trip Schedule: 

Field Trip 1:   26 - 28 February 2016
Field Trip 2:   4 – 8 April 2016

For enquiries, please contact:

campfire moment, 2015. photograph: HQ

Beyond Balawan: Aesthetic responses to the Bundian Way

The work of students and visiting artists participating in the Balawan Electives 2015 are captured in the Environment Studio catalogue Beyond Balawan: Aesthetic responses to the Bundian Way

The opening of the Beyond Balawan exhibition 2015 coincided with the launch of John Blay's book: On track - Searching out the Bundian Way

Media about the Bundian Way, the book and the exhibition:


Field Trip images 2015

Image gallery

Updated:  14 February 2018/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications