Transcript of Welcome to 2021

This transcript has been edited slightly for clarity. Listen to the Welcome to 2021 podcast (25:21)

Jackie King – The following podcast is brought to you by the Creative Arts Curriculum Team from Secondary Learners Educational Standards Directorate of the New South Wales Department of Education. As we commence this podcast today, let us acknowledge the traditional custodians of all the lands on which this podcast will be played around New South Wales. Their art, storytelling, music and dance along with all first nations people hold the memories, the traditions, the culture and hopes of Aboriginal Australia. Let us acknowledge with honour and respect our elders past, present and future, especially those Aboriginal people in our presence today who have and still do guide us with their wisdom. Welcome to the creative cast podcast series for 2021. My name is Jackie King, and I'm a creative arts project advisor for the New South Wales Department of Education. Today we're going to meet the Creative Arts Curriculum team and learn about the people behind the support for creative arts teachers across New South Wales. Hi, everyone. And welcome. Thank you so much for joining us today. We have a few really special announcements for our listeners today, but to kick this off, I'm going to introduce first our 7 to 12 Creative Arts Curriculum Adviser, our fearless leader, Cathryn Horvat. Hi, Cath.

Cathryn Horvat – What an exciting introduction.

Jackie King –Thanks so much for joining us today and being here; I know you're super busy. Still, I wanted you to be the person to introduce our biggest piece of news. And obviously, that is because now we have a huge team of people to introduce to our listeners. Are you able to explain to our listeners a little bit about our team and what that will mean for our creative arts teachers across New South Wales?

Cathryn Horvat – It's my absolute honour, Jackie. So thank you for letting me have this time to do it. It's my absolute honour to introduce the team today because our team has been incredibly small. For four of the last five years now, I was actually on my own. It is now a great honour to say that we have an incredible six people here to support the creative arts curriculum delivery in schools. So what are our main what are our roles? What do we do? What can we do for you? So we are here to provide advice and support in planning for effective teaching and learning. We advise on curriculum, implementation and design. We also give advice for incorporating the use of technology in your pedagogy and through assessment. Some of the other things we do on a different level is advice on policies and directions—strategic advice to our stakeholders. We also create and generate support materials, resources and professional learning for you all, but here to help you in any way we can to help with the effective delivery of those wonderful syllabuses in the best subjects in the world.

Jackie King – The best subjects in the world, even though I'm probably sitting in front of six people who were extremely biased about those subjects.

Cathryn Horvat – There's no bias about it. Our 13 syllabuses are the best in the curriculum. We all know.

Jackie King – Absolutely. So let's introduce this team. Can we actually start with you, Cathryn? So, Cathryn, you are the 7 to 12 creative arts curriculum advisor. When you were in school, what was your main subject and what is your passion within education?

Cathryn Horvat – My main subject when I was in school was a drama teacher, and drama marker and drama was my real passion. I didn't ever think when I was growing up; I wanted to be a drama teacher. I grew up in a musical family, but I fell into the role of drama teaching, and that's where I found just my place. But I did. I was a year advisor and held various other leadership positions at schools as well. Still, I also taught entertainment and music as well and English and a little bit of English. But drama was my main passion. I love the creative arts because it gives any child anywhere a place and helps them find and be who they are. And so that is my passion. I was one of those kids in high school where I wasn't a happy kid. I didn't fit in, and I wasn't a very academic student, and I really found my place and my safety net through the creative arts. If it wasn't for the creative arts, if it wasn't for the teachers, if it wasn't for the extracurricular activities, if it wasn't for any of that, I don't think I would have stayed at school. So my passion for teaching and my passion for what we do stems from that. And I guess it's always led me down that teaching journey of helping identify and give those kids that don't know who they are a chance to embrace their creative outlet. Where they can express themselves, a place where they feel welcome and free to be who they are within that classroom. While achieving excellent academic goals. I guess that's my main passion is trying to get teachers across the state even higher than teachers, to see the value and importance of our contribution to the world in helping shape the human inside of that student and giving them the chance to be.

Jackie King – Well, I'm going to think I'm going to cry at that. That is so important. And I think that's one of my main motivators to give all students a place, and you're right. So many students find their home within the creative arts, which is important,

Cathryn Horvat – Totally. And if we think about especially what's happened with the Covid-19 Pandemic and we had to change the way we interacted the arts became the driving force of being able to connect and express ourselves in a time where we were so limited to do that. And that just goes to show some of the power that that we have in the importance of the arts is the subject is that it can still give us that chance to look after our wellbeing.

Jackie King – Yeah, fantastic. I'm going to move now to Kathrine Kyriacou, who is our 7 to 12 visual arts advisor. Hi, Kathy. Thanks for being with us today. Hi, Jacki. Thank you. Our listeners had already heard from you once before because you delivered a fantastic podcast last year with some visual arts teachers. With Stage five, we called it Dive into visual arts or something like that. Yes, we did and it was fantastic. Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself? Obviously your subject is visual arts, but a little bit about your background and your passions for education?

Kathrine Kyriacou –So I've been teaching for about 25 years. I've taught in a range of systems here, and I've taught in the UK, mostly here in New South Wales. I've also taught in university settings as well. My passion for education, I've long been involved in visual arts education in terms of sharing in professional learning through my involvement with the Professional Association in New South Wales. I get a real buzz from sharing ideas with other people and, you know, inspiring change in classrooms through working together and have always found that I'm able to invigorate what I do with my students by learning from what other people are doing with their students and sharing the best ideas. And I've always wanted to be a part of that, I guess very much like Cathryn just said, I also obviously have found that visual arts is a subject that challenges students. It challenges them through their hearts and through their hands and through their heads as well. And that's really exciting, you know, as a teacher, always, one of my most sort of beautiful moments was that moment where you have a kid in a class who's slouching down and you're watching them and they're slouching down. And you know that the lesson content and the things you're sharing with them has just slowly made them move forward in their seat and sit up and listen in and that you've hooked them. That for me, is an absolute pleasure and one of the things that I love about being in the classroom. And so it's an absolute privilege to be in a position now where I can talk to other teachers about that very regularly and remind them of good ways to make that happen more often.

Jackie King – Beautiful, so engaging students and sharing, which is really important. That's so much about what this podcast is about, and also the statewide staff room and and what our roles are about too is sharing and sharing of ideas. So I'm going to move now to our creative arts curriculum officers. And we are so lucky this year to have three creative arts curriculum officers who will be creating some fantastic resource materials for you and also professional learning to assist creative arts curriculum delivery statewide. So our first creative arts curriculum officer is Alex Papasavvas. Alex Papasavvas, welcome. Thank you for joining us today. Can you share a little bit about yourself in the same way that both Katherine's have?

Alex Papasavvas – Thank you so much. I was probably always destined for teaching my mum is a teacher. I know that's a very common story in this profession. There's a lot of teachers in my family, and I came to visual arts, I think, in a roundabout way, as well. I was, I really saw myself as a musician in high school. I was doing elective music, and when it came time to transition into the HSC, my school wasn't willing to offer Music one, and I wasn't willing to do much music theory. So I thought, OK, visual arts, I can have a creative outlet and see how that goes. Turns out I loved it and every new bit of information and every new art making technique that came through in that course I just jumped onto, and it really inspired me in a way that I'd I didn't think, you know, it was my thing at the time, and that continued for me throughout tertiary study and every time as visual art teachers, we have to really be generalists in the studio. We have to know a bit of everything to carry our students through painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, photography, digital media, the lot. And it was just such a pleasure being able, having that privilege to go to art school and learn all of these great new techniques and get so inspired all the time. So in terms of my professional trajectory, I left Sydney very early to pursue opportunities in rural and remote New South Wales, and I haven't been back to Sydney to work since then. So, for me, a real passion is some of the particular issues that we have in rural and remote settings and very much with working with Aboriginal students, which has been such a huge part of my career. And teaching is supporting those communities and those students in schools. And that's something that I really think is very important

Jackie King – Fantastic and something that we are really going to focus on too; throughout our podcast this year, is really trying to connect without rural and remote teachers and having them share some of their experiences with us, and also being able to share back I think is really important. Alex Manton. Alex Manton was with us for a little bit of time last year as a resource writer in music, and she did some fantastic work there. But Alex, do you want to talk a little bit about yourself, please.

Alex Manton – Hi, Jackie. Sure, I've been teaching for 15 years in the classroom and university settings, most recently. Look, I too grew up in a very musical family, and I'm also from a family of teachers. There's no surprise there, and I think I knew that I was going to be a music teacher for a long as I can remember. Which is a bit strange, I suppose. I think I came to that conclusion at about age 12, and I started tutoring the flute in high school and absolutely loved it. And that led me to where I am today, really, going to study at the conservatorium and become a music teacher. And I think for me that there's a few things that I'm passionate about, one of them is developing a sense of community through music. I think that music can be incredibly powerful in bringing together the school community and the wider community. So parents and families and even the broader community in the whole area create performance opportunities for students. And so alot of my work has been ensemble focused in creating music ensemble programs, band programs and vocal programs with feeder schools involved with big concerts and things like that to get everyone involved and excited about the performance. And I think that those co-curricular opportunities really link to the classroom. They support each other to build a really rich musical culture in a school, much like drama ensembles can or dance ensembles can. They are. They are linked and can be fantastic outlets for students. So that's a sort of passion of mine. The other passion of mine is to do with, I just believe that every student can learn and I never give up on any of them. I try to find something that that student is good at so that they get that sense of accomplishment, and that helps their self-esteem. And then that opens up to the world of discovery and, well, what can I do now? And how can I get better? And I think that that's incredibly important in education in general. I think that the creative arts can be an incredible vehicle for that as well as it tied into all those human elements that Cat was talking about, Um and also in regards to well being as well, so that our students have an outlet to explore themselves. So, yeah, that's what I'm passionate about.

Jackie King – Really, That's fantastic. I love how you talk about, you know, it's really important just to find something that that student is good at and really focusing on that. I can't tell you how many times over the years I've talked to adults and they're like, I really wanted to do music, but I couldn't do music because I wasn't good enough at it. My teacher told me not to or whatever. When I was teaching, if the kid could breathe, they were in my class in music like and I would find something to be able to do with that student. And our final curriculum officer is Ravenna Gregory, who comes with a wealth of experience. I'm going to hand it over to Ravenna to talk about her career and her passions within education.

Ravenna Gregory – Thanks, Jackie. Yeah, I think I've got Kathrine Kyriacou beat on the 25 years, and I think once you get over 25 years of teaching, you probably stopped counting or I have, but it's certainly been a long time that I've been a drama teacher, really. And like Cat, I've taught English and I've been learning enrichment and special needs teaching as well. I've taught mainly in New South Wales and in the UK and in both the Independent and the public systems. So that wealth of knowledge, I guess, has grown over many, many years of teaching and being in that classroom and, I guess the thing that's kept me really in drama education and so passionate about it is that incredible vulnerability that students have to reveal in order to be creative to take those risks that end up as creativity as creating something new and innovating. And I think that trust that students place in you in a drama classroom and I think in all of the creative and performing arts is incredibly, uh, important and has kept me inspired as a teacher. I grew up myself as a remote student rural student up in the mid-North coast, and I didn't have the opportunity to be involved in very many co-curricular or extracurricular ensembles, which has been a real passion for me as a drama teacher. But what I did have was the most incredible mother who was a visual artist and the grandmother who was a musician and incredible imagination. So I remember, sort of. I don't know that I remember, but I've been told stories of myself acting out Snuggle pot and cuddle pie. Holding onto a hairbrush is if it was a microphone. I remember when I really thought that theater was for me was I think it was year nine. Mr Stewart made us read 12th Night in English, and I remember laughing at Malvolio and mocking that character of Malvolio. And then, as we read towards the end of the play, the play, as we read towards the end of the play, realizing how cruel I had been and that I have been complicit in Malvolio's downfall. In that moment, I realized the power of theater to really change an audience and change an audience in a quite a profound way. In that I came to that realization myself rather than Shakespeare having to sort of teach it to me, even though he did it clearly in a very skilled way on. I guess I've been really obsessed with theater since then. So as a remote student, I found my way down in year 10 to Belvoir Street Theater to do my work experience and was backstage there and have been a subscriber there I think ever since all way through university and I see a lot, a lot of theater, I guess I'm really interested in in our creative collaboration. And I think that the critical thinking that happens in drama has been a real passion for me, particularly the projects at HSC. I'm also embedding some of those critical and creative thinking skills in the earlier years in Stage four and five on I'm really excited to provide some resources like that for teachers around the state.

Jackie King – Fantastic. I am also a really huge theater nerd, so I think we're going to get on fantastically, um, being able to talk about theater.

Cathryn Horvat – Hey, Jackie, can we hear from you? I don't think we've ever actually formally introduced you. So who are you? What is your role, and what's your passion?

Jackie King –Yes. Oh, my name's Jackie and I'm Creative Arts Project advisor now with our creative Arts curriculum team, which I'm really excited about. Prior to this role, I was a music teacher in a school in the Hunter Valley. I dabbled in lots of different things, really, because I was a music teacher. I also taught visual arts sometimes in Stage four and drama in Stage four and five, which was very exciting. My background is I really love theater and music theater as well. So when I started my degree, I actually started my degree doing a music theater degree, which is why I'm really interested in the creative arts. I'm really interested in drama. I'm really interested in Danceas well, because I've studied a little bit of drama and dance. So yeah, my my passion outside of work is theater. I really enjoy going to the theater and being involved in theater. My passion in the educationI think everybody has touched a little bit on things that I'm really passionate about. I'm really passionate about how the creative arts helps to create that whole human. How so many students, particularly students who could be troubled and don't have a place, find their place in the creative arts. I was a year advisor for a period of time at my school. Being is a really big passion of mine and really helping students find their place in the world and doing that through the arts. What could be what could be better? So yeah, they're the things that I'm passionate about. As Kathrine said, I'm really passionate about sharing and collaborating, which drew me to this kind of role because in my role as a head teacher at the school that I was at, I loved supporting my staff and my students. To be able to do that on this level is something that really excites me as well. So now that you've heard from our team, I really want to reveal our plan for the Creative Cast Podcast series this year. This year, we have decided to do things a little bit different to last year and give each term a theme. Each curriculum officer you've now met today will interview teachers and experts in line with that theme. So Term one is called Let's Talk topics and I'm going to briefly throw to Alex Manton to explain, as she's already organized, next week's podcast for you.

Alex Manton – Sure. Let's talk topics will be a series of what teachers are doing in stages four and five in all, the creative in terms of what content or topics they're covering that's within their syllabuses, if relevant, and how they implement that in the classroom. So, yes, you will hear from us shortly in regards to that.

Jackie King – Beautiful and then term two is Stage six and the HSC and what that is going to be mostly about is how to get the most out of your students through those last couple of terms because, let's face it, term two and term three are the really busy months for us creative arts teachers getting through those practical elements and also just refining the writing. So term two is about Stage six and hsc and how to get the most out of those last few months. Term three is a think tank, and that is going to be about our sort of issues within our subjects. We're going to be talking to lots of different people, not just teachers in that subject area. And I know Kathrine Kyriacou has a cool one lined up covering the conceptual framework. Term four we're calling. Where to from here? Here, we're going to explore post school pathways for your students, any backwards mappingideas, excursions, co and extracurricular activities and anything else that seems to come to light throughout the year. That might help your planning for 2022. And I hope you've gathered by now that our creative arts curriculum Officers will be taking the reins at some points throughout the year and will be running some of these interviews. This is why I thought it was so important for you to meet them all today and get a little bit of background on what is important to them and what they are about. Today, our final announcement is how we would love to hear from you, our creative arts teachers across New South Wales.

If you have an idea that you would love to share with people or if you'd really like to be interviewed or if you'd really like a particular topic explored, please, please, please get in touch with us and I would encourage all New South Wales Department of Education teachers to join the Creative Arts Statewide Staffroom, which I'm going to put a link into the show notes. The Creative Arts Statewide Staffroom is a source of all New South Wales Creative Arts Curriculum Delivery truth. It is also an excellent place for you to be able to connect, learn and share with your creative arts colleagues statewide. So to contact our Creative Arts curriculum team who you've been introduced to today, you could do so through our statewide staffroom. Or you could also email We really hope that you enjoy the Creative Arts Podcast series this year, and we'd also really hope that you get in contact with us throughout the year. Thank you for joining us today, and we look forward to speaking with you again in the future. This podcast was brought to you by the Creative Arts Curriculum Team Secondary Learners Educational Standards Directorate of the New South Wales Department of Education. Get involved in the conversation by joining the Statewide Staff Room as a source of all truths regarding curriculum or email our curriculum advisor, Cathryn Horvat using the email address The music for this podcast was composed by Alex Manton and audio production by Jason King.


Return to top of page Back to top