Overview of NAVA’s Curriculum Consultation

Michelle and Cherry, NEO-Learning Digital Lab. Photo by Leith Alexander, 2019, courtesy of Big hART.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s (ACARA) proposed draft of the revised Australian Curriculum K-10 is currently open for public consultation until 8 July. NAVA is taking a leading role in coordinating a visual arts, craft and design response to the review.

With the support of April Phillips, Wiradjuri-Scottish visual artist, researcher and digital arts educator at Big hART, NAVA engaged the Art Gallery of South Australia’s Neo Ambassadors, a committee of young people aged 13 to 17 living in South Australia. 

NAVA hosted an open Curriculum Consultation via Zoom for the visual arts and craft sector to discuss the changes, push for improvements and strategise on what’s needed to support teachers to deliver this ambitious framework. We were heartened by the level of enthusiasm, engagement and expertise of everyone who participated and thank everyone for their valuable contributions.

NAVA has prepared the following submission and summary of strengths and opportunities raised through NAVA’s consultations.

Have your say

ACARA’s public consultation is open until 8 July 2021. NAVA encourages everyone to review the proposed curriculum documents and complete a short online survey to provide feedback.

This is an important opportunity for the visual arts, craft and design sector to make recommendations that build on the strengths of the current curriculum and improve how visual arts is represented. You are welcome to use NAVA’s responses to help guide your feedback. Download NAVA's 1 page summary below and please share with your networks.

Feedback summary

Strengths

  • Emphasis on process, play, experimentation and impacts as key components of visual arts practice.
  • Emphasis on listening to the voices of First Nations artists when students learn about cultural expressions, although this could be reinforced.
  • Emphasis on responding to and including ALL artists and students, including those with disability.
  • Exploration of the various roles of professional arts worker careers.
  • Classes are encouraged to visit art galleries.
  • References to regional and national collections.
  • Literacy is explored as a way to respond to visual arts.
  • Focus on artistic concepts from across times and living cultures.
  • Introduced learning on identifying and understanding copyright and Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP).
  • Activities that help students understand how to make ethical choices.
  • Students encouraged to engage in self-assessment.
  • References to resources that are co-created with First Nations people and groups.
  • Emphasis on viewpoints and inquiry based learning.

Opportunities

  • Include guidelines to reinforce focus on teaching a diverse range of artists including local, living and First Nations artists.
  • Encourage teachers to invite local artists to speak to their work to ensure the artist's voice is represented and visible.
  • Facilitate greater access for teachers (especially for primary school teachers) to online visual arts teaching resources to support the delivery of the curriculum. Resources could include lists of local artists, tips for engaging a diverse range of artists, help with materials management, more thorough work samples to help with marking, and an online portal of curriculum aligned resources, programs and events for visual arts education, similar to Education Services Australia’s Civics and Citizenship portal.
  • Rephrase the use of unrelatable terms including changing ‘arts works’ to ‘artworks’, ‘First Nations Australians’ to ‘First Nations artists/peoples’, ‘viewpoints’ to ‘perspectives’, and ‘conventions’ to ‘styles’. When referring to First Nations artistic output, change ‘cultural expressions’ to ‘artworks’.
  • Increase mentions of 3D and craft practice under the current elaborations as a guide for teachers in relation to the content descriptions.
  • Facilitate greater access to the art practice of all artists, including those with disability, from CALD backgrounds, and the development of resources to demonstrate diverse creative practice. 
  • Demonstrate applications of art practice in other areas such as health and community development.
  • Support arts organisations/institutions to better provide meaningful and reliable education kits/programs that align more closely and consistently with the national curriculum links. NAVA is keen to work with ACARA and national institutions to help arts organisations release mapped curriculum documents with unique or aligned elaborations for all current and future kits/programs. This could be through the development of a shared template for arts organisations and institutions to use when creating kits/programs. The template could include a set of resources and a glossary that is consistent across all organisations.
  • Support arts organisations/institutions in the preparation of detailed material when mapping to the new curriculum when rolled out.
  • Support a national curriculum that reduces state based differences (and the work required to respond to this in arts education programs).

Neo Ambassadors, AGSA

Thank you to the following teen AGSA Neo Ambassadors for your contributions to this research: Madeleine, Angelina, Montaigne, Abbey and Ezra.

In the two and a half years that I've been studying art at high school, we've only ever learned about white male artists, which is really sad because my school prides itself on diversity and yet they don't teach it, which is really crappy. 
I felt like at school it was very much teaching you how to produce art, rather than teaching you the meaning of art. We don't really get taught about the culture, so I have to go and I guess, educate myself when I feel like it's something that I should know when I'm doing the art. 
I've definitely learned more about the application of art outside of schools, especially how, I guess, curating works, how exhibiting works and how the actual art market works, whereas they don't teach you that in school I feel, and I think it's something that should be taught. 
I think that it will be really good if the art curriculum imitated what practicing artists actually do a bit more, and we had more of a chance to talk through our ideas and develop a more resolved body of work and then have the opportunity to actually exhibit that in some capacity. 
I think it would be good if we could learn more from local artists in our community and actually maybe have them come in, because then we'd have the opportunity to actually speak to them and find out more about their work. Although I did have the opportunity to watch a presentation by Stelarc, when he was in Adelaide last year, he came to our school and he talked to us about his work and that was very interesting. 

Overview of NAVA’s Curriculum Consultation