7-12 Creative Arts newsletter - Term 1 2020

This newsletter highlights new resources and professional learning opportunities. We hope this newsletter will encourage you to continue to be innovative and creative in your delivery of the Creative Arts curriculum.

26 February 2020

In this issue:

  • our 2020 team
  • upcoming events
  • key updates
  • new resources.

Our 2020 Team

The Creative Arts curriculum team has grown! Cathryn Ricketts would like to introduce Kathrine Kyriacou who has been recently appointed as the 7-12 Visual Arts Advisor for 2020. Kathrine will be working to establish and support Visual Arts networks, to develop, implement and evaluate Visual Arts Professional Learning programs and to provide resources and subject specific support to Visual Arts teachers across the state.

Contact details:

Cathryn Ricketts 7-12 Creative Arts Advisor | cathryn.ricketts1@det.nsw.edu.au

Kathrine Kyriacou 7-12 Visual Arts Advisor | kathrine.kyriacou2@det.nsw.edu.au

In addition to the Creative Arts newsletter you may wish to sign up to our new Visual Arts Network to receive information, links to resources, updates and opportunities specific to Visual Arts, Photographic and Digital Media, Visual Design and Ceramics.

Upcoming events


Enrolling and completing a course from the list below, will contribute to 6.5 hours of NESA registered PD addressing 2.2.2, 3.3.2, 5.4.2, 6.2.2 and 7.2.2 from the Australian professional standards for teachers towards maintaining proficient teacher accreditation in NSW.

Search and enrol by copying the titles and course codes below into My PL.

  • Taking care of business in dance RG04592
  • Let's get it started in drama RG04607
  • Playing to win in music RG04606
  • Ain't no mountain high enough in visual arts RG04618
  • Into the lens of photographic and digital media RG04609
  • Thinking out loud in visual design RG04621

All courses are designed to reinvigorate teaching practice for new, out-of-field or returning teachers and are filled with fun and engaging practical activities.

Vivid schools

The Creative Arts curriculum team has been working with Vivid Schools as they prepare for their 2020 workshops. This year students and teachers are encouraged to create light based sculpture works based around a theme. These sculptures are created at school and will be curated by Vivid Schools for exhibition. Students who participate will also be attending a workshop day where they will have the opportunity to listen to industry professionals and share ideas and experiences about their own work. The programs are linked to syllabus outcomes for teachers to be able to plan and integrate the learning experience for their students. More information can be found on the Vivid School website.

Stage 6 Visual Arts and the body of work - online course coming soon

The Creative Arts Curriculum Team engaged with The Arts Unit resources to develop a series of online professional learning courses for Stage 6 Visual Arts teachers. These modules engage with the preliminary and HSC syllabus and students and teachers who have been successfully represented ARTEXPRESS to unpack strategies for developing a successful body of work. Complimenting this is a series of interviews with ARTEXPRESS curators at regional galleries. Stay tuned for a release date soon!

Key updates

Professional learning 2019 and into 2020

Knowledge and skills in Creative arts (KASCA)

Throughout 2019 we held face to face professional learning for the creative arts. On offer were a full day of professional learning based on the stage 4 and 5 syllabuses for music, dance, drama, visual arts, visual design, photography and digital media. Over 145 teachers from over 63 schools across New South Wales attended these face to face sessions. We presented in Tamworth, Wagga Wagga, Lismore, Dubbo, and Sydney. Participants were able to reinvigorate and strengthen their knowledge of the stage 4 and 5 syllabuses. They also appreciated the opportunity to network and ask specific learning and teaching questions about their subjects.

As a result of the positive feedback we recieved, we will be continuing to run these courses and are taking them on the road to the Maitland, Nowra, Albury, Penrith and Coffs Harbour during 2020.

Teaching and assessing students' critical and creative thinking skills

Supported in 2019 by a Creative Innovation grant from the Learning and Teaching Directorate, Teaching and assessing students' critical and creative thinking skills in Visual Arts Years 7-10 was a professional learning project designed to make explicit the central role of critical and creative thinking skills in Visual Arts teaching and learning. The project was coordinated in partnership with Dr Karen Maras, School of Education, UNSW Sydney. Five secondary school Visual Arts teachers from metropolitan, rural and remote schools participated in the project researching, developing and implementing teaching and learning strategies within their Stage 4 and 5 Visual Arts classes that explicitly fostered students critical and creative thinking skills. The results of this project, including a research summary, suite of lesson plans from each teacher and accompanying resources will be shared with Visual Arts educators later this year through the Creative arts website.

HSC practical and performance examination marking periods are now released.

Harmony day poster and song writing competition

New resources

A group of students on their technology exploring through doing.
Image: u.b.do a digital resource package for students and a unit of work for teachers.

u.b.do is a five week innovative teaching and learning program aligned to the NSW Stage 4 and 5 drama syllabus that responds to the issue of digital citizenship. Through the program, students will become more self-aware of the responsibilities and roles of living in and surviving in both an online and human-centred world, by participating in digital and collaborative learning experiences.

This is a complete, syllabus aligned, unit of work that enables students to participate in topics around digital citizenship that addresses student well-being and pro-social behaviour, through resources and lesson sequences aligned to the existing secondary drama syllabus. Drama enables students to gain perspectives and consideration of situations and characters within the playbuilding and scripted environment and encourages reflection on their place in society.

This resource has been created by a team of experienced drama teachers who have had you, a busy teacher, in mind throughout the process and have made all lessons and resources accessible and easy to understand and use straight away.

u.b.do now available through our website!

To support the teaching and learning of the 7-10 syllabus and literacy needs of students, we have developed a units of work that provide guidance and assistance meeting the literacy demands within the drama classroom. The IMAGinE this units of work, support teachers to integrate picture books, graphic novels and slam poetry to enhance their drama teaching and programming. It provides examples of learning activities in drama with suggested activities for approaching drama in English.


Throughout 2019 Kaldor Public Art Projects teamed up with the Department of Education to offer several NSW primary and secondary schools from Bourke, Dubbo, Parkes, Wilcannia, Western Sydney and Sydney's Inner West a unique opportunity to engage with contemporary public art. Teachers and students responded to a challenge to develop site-specific art projects that meaningfully reflected an investigation of their local community and environment. With support from the Arts Unit and the Stem Technology for Learning (T4L) Information Technology Directorate each unique school art project was documented using innovative technology to reimagine the works for display at the Art Gallery of NSW in November 2019. Professional films were also made to document the development and resolution of the artworks.

These films include 360 interactive video, drone footage, and 3D photogrammetry models and provide a rich archive of resources to explore in the classroom and are available for teachers and students to investigate.

Frantic Assembly resources. In semester two of 2019 drama teachers were invited to attend workshops with Frantic Assembly. The Arts Unit and the Creative Arts Curriculum team worked together to create learning and teaching resources to support this teacher professional learning. Participants were supported to consider syllabus links to drama stages 4, 5, 6 before they attended the workshop. After the workshop they had access to lesson plan idea, were able to provide feedback, and were provided with ideas on specific links between activities and various drama syllabus outcomes. These have now been complied into one online resource package. The package contains videos of the participants with examples of the various activities they engaged with. Stay tuned to the Drama resource page for a release date soon.

Coming soon!

Demystifying current music technology - an engaging and accessible creative education kit and digital resource for Stage 4, 5, 6 music 1, 2 and extension is currently being developed and will be released soon. The kit will is built around three new electroacoustic works for flute, voice and electronics by Australian composers Cat Hope, Tristan Coelho and Fiona Hill with performances by Lamorna Nightingale and Jane Sheldon.

The kit will provide teachers with a series of lesson plans and resource materials focusing on developing critical thinking skills and extending students musical experiences of electronic and contemporary music practices. The activities in the kit will draw together composition, musicology, performance, and aural skills.

We will soon be developing a Stage 6 Dance and the Major Study - Callback resource and professional learning course for schools that will be online and available for an extended timeframe. It will provide teachers with three modules that total 6 hours of registered Professional Learning. If you would like immediate up-to-date information about this course, make sure you are signed up to the Creative arts emailing list by sending your details to the emails in the Connect with us section of this newsletter.

Connect with us

Previous issues of Creative arts newsletters.

If you have been forwarded this newsletter by a colleague and want to subscribe, please email CreativeArts7-12@det.nsw.edu.au.

This newsletter features interesting articles about some inspiring work in the Creative Arts by teachers in schools. If you or someone you know is engaging in some inspiring Arts pedagogy, be in touch by emailing CreativeArts7-12@det.nsw.edu.au.

For any contributions to future newsletters, please email by the end of the term. However, please understand that decisions about what is included remains with Secondary Education.

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