Visual arts 7-10

Visual arts is a mandatory course for Stages 4 and 5 where students study art making, critical and historical studies through a use of the conceptual framework and a variety of frames.

The elective course allows students to further develop their critical understanding of the artist and different points of view of the visual arts. They also expand on their art making practice, using a variety of materials and techniques.

Visual Arts content is organised into 3 broad areas that are applied to both artmaking and critical and historical studies. Practice, the conceptual framework, and the frames provide a language and structure to support students in making meaningful, fully resolved artworks, and in their interpretation and analysis of other artists’ work. In Stage 4, practice, frames and the conceptual framework can be considered separately. As students progress through Stage 4 and 5, the relationships between these are explored in more meaningful ways.

Sample scope and sequences

The sample Stage 4 and Stage 5 scope and sequence documents provide teachers with overviews for programming and assessment in visual arts.


The four frames offer a flexible and robust lens through which to interpret artmaking, art criticism and art history. The frames provide an interpretive scaffold from which students can generate a range of understandings from different perspectives.

The frames resource (DOCX 81.7 KB) provides examples of how each frame can be used to explore the function of the ‘agencies of the artworld’ and the relationships between them.

A student-centered module which introduces the frames as a tool for understanding and engaging with different points of view in artmaking and critical and historical studies. Students demonstrate their knowledge by completing a series of reading, writing and artmaking activities that explore historical and contemporary artworks from subjective, cultural, structural and postmodern perspectives.

A student-centered module which explores portraiture as an area of practice, using the frames as a tool for understanding and engaging with different perspectives and points of view in artmaking and critical and historical studies. The first section, ‘Technical drawing practice’, contains a sequence of activities designed fro students to develop and refine their drawing skills as they learn about the conventions of portraiture. This is followed by four standalone lessons that apply the perspectives of the subjective, structural, cultural and postmodern frames to an artmaking and critical/historical activity exploring one or more focus artworks.

Stage 4 sample unit

Mapping memory Badger Bates

This 10 week unit of work investigates the artmaking practice of Barkindji printmaker Badger Bates. Students interpret the artist's use of visual language to represent personal and cultural meaning in his work ‘Mission Mob, Bend Mob, Wilcannia 1950s’, and then develop their own set of signs and symbols to create a lino print that represents a site that has personal significance to them.

Ctrl + Alt + Shift

This digital resource package provides Stage 5 students with opportunities to investigate and interpret contemporary intersections between art, technology, storytelling, social change and collaboration by focusing on the practice of five Australian artists including:

  • Tamara Dean
  • r e a
  • Joan Ross
  • Alexia Sinclair
  • Lynette Wallworth.

Knowledge and skills creative arts (KASCA) visual arts framework

The KASCA visual arts framework breaks down the core components of practice, conceptual framework and the frames into a series lesson sequences. All lesson sequences come with ready-to-use differentiated learning and teaching resources and are available in an online format here and an e-book (PDF 12.75 MB) version that can be downloaded to your smart device.

Visual arts poster and infographic

The visual arts frames, conceptual framework and practice poster is available to print and display in your classroom via the link below.


The frames (PDF 1.9 MB)

The visual arts frames infographic (PDF 5.57 MB) defines and provides teaching and learning activities for each fame in an eye-catching format.

The visual arts frames included within this infographic are:

  • subjective frame
  • cultural frame
  • structural frame
  • postmodern frame.

Fostering critical and creative thinking in visual arts

These teaching and learning strategies and the accompanying resource, reflects the findings of an evidence-based investigation of critical and creative thinking in visual arts classrooms in NSW.

Stage 5 sample unit

Signs and symbols

This unit involves an investigation of drawing, painting and sculpture conventions to make an artwork that represents self. Students explore the conceptual framework to make artworks that represent themselves through signs and symbols in the structural and subjective frames. In critical and historical studies they investigate, interpret and explain how contemporary artists have represented themselves through the medium of sculpture.

Explore the sample unit signs and symbols.

This website may be useful in the teaching of visual arts for Stages 4 and 5.

Further information and teaching support is available on NSW 7-10 Visual Arts Syllabus (2003).

Student guided online learning sequences to support learning from home or in the classroom.

Mise en Scene google site

A student-centred online unit that builds understanding of the importance of mise en scene in film-making and photography. Students will investigate the practice of classic filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and his influence on four contemporary photographers inspired by his practice. Students will demonstrate their understanding of mise en scène in their art historical and critical writing and their artmaking. The activities would be appropriate for Photographic and Digital media and Visual Arts students.

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