Artlink - Stages 2-3 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 syllabus links relevant to Artlink include:

  • Visual Arts Stages 2-3
  • Science & Technology Stages 2-3
Visual Arts Stage 2:
  • VAS2.1 Making Represents the qualities of experiences and things that are interesting or beautiful by choosing among aspects of subject matter.
  • VAS2.2 Making
  • Uses the forms to suggest the qualities of subject matter.
  • VAS2.3 Appreciating Acknowledges that artists make artworks for different reasons and that various interpretations are possible
  • VAS2.4 Appreciating Identifies connections between subject matter in artworks and what they refer to, and appreciates the use of particular techniques
Visual Arts Stage 3
  • VAS3.1 Making Investigates subject matter in an attempt to represent likenesses of things in the world.
  • VAS3.2 Making
  • Makes artworks for different audiences, assembling materials in a variety of ways.
  • VAS3.3 Appreciating Acknowledges that audiences respond in different ways to artworks and that there are different opinions about the value of artworks
  • VAS2.5 Appreciating Communicates about the ways in which subject matter is represented in artworks
Science and Technology Stage 2
  • PSS2.5 Products and Services. Creates and evaluates products and services, considering aesthetic and functional factors
  • DMS2.8 Designing and Making Develops, implements and evaluates ideas using drawings, models and prototypes at appropriate stages of the design process
Science and Technology Stage 3
  • PSS3.5 Products and Services. Creates and evaluates products and services, demonstrating consideration of sustainability, aesthetic, cultural, safety & functional issues.
  • DMS3.8 Designing and Making Develops and resolves a design task by planning, implementing, managing and evaluating design processes.

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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