Artlink - Stage 4 Teacher Notes

Artlink is an exciting museum educator-led session in which students interact with the Australian Museum collection like a professional artist. After an introduction to some of the visual research and art making processes used by professional artists, students will use the Museum's collection for inspiration and information in the creation of an artwork that they will begin at the Museum.

Before your visit

Syllabus links

The NSW Board of Studies Stage 4 syllabus links relevant to Artlink include:

Visual Arts
  • Practice 4.1 uses a range of strategies to explore different artmaking conventions and procedures to make artworks
  • Conceptual framework 4.2 explores the function and relationships between artist - artwork - world - audience
  • Representation 4.4 recognises and uses aspects of the world as a source of ideas, concepts and subject matter in the visual arts
  • Resolution 4.6 selects different materials and techniques to make artworks
  • Skills 4.21 uses creativity and imagination to suggest plausible solutions to familiar problems
  • Living Things 4.8 describes features of living things
Technology (Mandatory)
  • 4.1.1 applies design processes that respond to needs and opportunities in each design project
  • 4.1.3 identifies the roles of designers and their contribution to the improvement of the quality of life
  • 4.3.1 applies a broad range of contemporary and appropriate tools, materials and techniques with competence in the development of design projects
  • 4.3.2 demonstrates responsible and safe use of a range of tools, materials and techniques in each design project
Design & Technology
  • 4.1.2 describes and follows a process of design when developing design ideas and solutions
  • 4.3.1 describes the work and responsibilities of designers and the factors affecting their work
  • 4.4.1 identifies innovative, enterprising and creative design ideas and solutions
  • 4.6.3 uses a range of technologies appropriately and safely in the development of quality design solutions
Textiles Technology
  • 4.2.1 describes the creative process of design used in the work of textile designers
  • 4.2.2 generates design ideas for textile items
  • 4.5.1 selects and manipulates a range of textile materials
  • 4.5.2 uses techniques and equipment safely in the production of quality textile products

When you booked, you will have chosen the art form (illustration, sculpture, or textile art) that will be the focus of your workshop. If you did not make a selection when you booked, please call the Museum to do so as soon as possible. It is essential that we know your choice prior to your arrival.

Pre-visit Activities

To make the most of your Artlink experience, we strongly advise you to introduce the idea of how artists work and to discuss the students' current understandings of the artistic process. We also suggest that you try as many of the following pre-visit activities as possible before coming to the Australian Museum.

  • Brainstorm the diversity of visual artworks in our world - discuss the idea of who decides to make these objects and images and why.
  • Introduce the terms Sculptor, Illustrator and Textile Artist.
  • Collect images of artworks and discuss their origins, similarities and differences.
  • Research and contact local artists and visit them in their studio spaces. Interview them about their inspirations and creative processes.
  • Discuss ideas about what makes these artists make their works - is it their idea or someone else's? Introduce the idea of a design brief.
  • Investigate the inspirations of famous artists for their most famous/least famous works.

You do not need to photocopy material for your students. Relevant teaching support material for continuing the artworks in progress will be provided to you on the day.

Materials to bring with you

To take away the artworks which are begun in the workshop, please:

  • Bring an A4 document wallet to the illustration workshop
  • Bring a large sturdy shopping bag to the textile art workshop
  • Have each student bring a shopping bag to carry their own artwork

You might wish to bring a camera, particularly to photograph some specimens.

At the Australian Museum

Pre-workshop exhibition orientation

There are, of course, many specimens in many exhibition spaces at the Australian Museum, so to make the most of your workshop experience we strongly advise you to allow some time to familiarise your students with the exhibitions areas relevant to your chosen art form before you begin the workshop. (For those areas, see Visual research component, below.) It is best to arrive 20-25 minutes earlier than your scheduled workshop session time begins, if possible.

Activity Schedule
  • Introductory welcome and orientation in the atrium
  • DVD presentation in a dedicated teaching space featuring an introduction to the research and creation processes of three professional artists ¬- a scientific illustrator, a textile artist and a sculptor.
  • Explanation of the artists brief/project. The artworks begun in the workshop component of Artlink will be shaped by a design brief. Each student will choose 1 of the 3 given briefs.
  • Visual research component. Students will then have time in the relevant exhibition space to draw from some specimens of their choice. For the textile art focus, students will visit the Planet of Minerals and/or the Albert Chapman Collection exhibitions. For the sculpture and illustration workshops, students will visit one or more of the exhibitions Dinosaurs, Surviving Australia, Birds and Insects and Skeletons: Frameworks for Survival.
  • Workshop - Practical/hands-on activity. Back in the dedicated teaching space, students will begin to make an artwork in line with their chosen brief, using the drawings that they have made in the exhibition/s and the materials provided.
  • NB: In sculpture workshops, a variety of equipment will be used, including craft knives and glue guns, which must only be used by the class teacher or a museum educator.

Post-visit activities

In keeping with the idea of thinking and making art like an artist, the visual research and artwork that is achieved during this session could be the beginning of a more substantial and inspiring body of work - students could continue to work on the same artwork, and/or use their visual research to create other artworks, and/or undertake further visual research of the natural world around them. In support of this possibility, some suggestions are to:

  • Review the drawings and photographs collected from the Museum when back at school - discuss the choices made and features of the drawings.
  • Enhance the research drawings and artworks for display at school.
  • Revisit the design briefs to choose another one to apply the research drawings to
  • Using the visual information gathered from your visit, plan a creative response in several different media and present it in a different form and/or scale.
  • Create an installation artwork including the works of each member the class - textile works could be stitched together to make a wall frieze/hanging and sculptures could feature massed together in a prominent location at the school, for example on the front lawn for a day.
  • Visit an artist's studio and talk to them about what makes them want to make artworks.
  • Recycling Box creations - visit a place such as a reverse garbage depot and use some selected items to create a group artwork from your time at the Australian Museum, for example a mural that incorporates small sections from each student's personal focus on the visit.
  • Revisit the pre-visit activities and develop a pathway of study related to a particular artist and his/her inspirations.

Also, please remember to encourage your students to engage with their environment and to look, look, look... It's amazing what's out there to make art from!


Ms Helen Wheeler , Learning Services Operations Manager
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