Key ideas


Content descriptions in each arts subject reflect the interrelated strands of making and responding.

  • making includes learning about and using knowledge, skills, techniques, processes, materials and technologies to explore arts practices and make artworks that communicate ideas and intentions.
  • responding includes exploring, responding to, analysing and interpreting artworks.


Making in each arts subject engages students’ cognition, imagination, senses and emotions in conceptual and practical ways and involves them thinking kinaesthetically, critically and creatively. Students develop knowledge, understanding and skills to design, produce, present and perform artworks. To make an artwork, students work from an idea, an intention, particular resources, an expressive or imaginative impulse, or an external stimulus.

Students learn, develop and refine skills as the artist and as audience for their own work, and as audience for the works of others. Making involves practical actions informed by critical thought to design and produce artworks. Students independently and collaboratively experiment, conceptualise, reflect on, refine, present, perform, communicate and evaluate. They learn to explore possibilities across diverse art forms, solve problems, experiment with techniques, materials and technologies, and ask probing questions when making decisions and interpreting meaning.

Part of making involves students considering their artworks from a range of viewpoints, including that of the audience. Students consider their own responses as artists to interpretations of the artwork as it is developed or in its completed form.


Responding in each arts subject involves students, as artists and audiences, exploring, responding to, analysing, interpreting and critically evaluating artworks they experience. Students learn to understand, appreciate and critique the arts through the critical and contextual study of artworks and by making their own artworks. Learning through making is interrelated with and dependent on responding. Students learn by reflecting on their making and critically responding to the making of others.

When responding, students learn to critically evaluate the presentation, production and/or performance of artworks through an exploration of the practices involved in making an artwork and the relationship between artist, audience and artwork. Students learn that meanings can be interpreted and represented according to different viewpoints, and that the viewpoints they and others hold shift according to different experiences.

Students consider the artist’s relationship with an audience. They reflect on their own experiences as audience members and begin to understand how artworks represent ideas through expression, symbolic communication and cultural traditions and rituals. Students think about how audiences consume, debate and interpret the meanings of artworks. They recognise that in communities many people are interested in looking at, interpreting, explaining, experiencing and talking about the arts.


In making and responding to artworks, students consider a range of viewpoints or perspectives through which artworks can be explored and interpreted. These include the contexts in which the artworks are made by artists and experienced by audiences. The world can be interpreted through different contexts, including social, cultural and historical contexts. Based on this curriculum, key questions are provided as a framework for developing students’ knowledge, understanding and inquiry skills.

Table 1: Examples of viewpoints and questions through which artworks can be explored and interpreted

Examples of viewpoints As the artist: As the audience:
Contexts, including:
  • societal
  • cultural
  • historical
  • What does this artwork tell us about the cultural context in which it was made?
  • How does this artwork relate to my culture?
  • What social or historical forces and influences have shaped my artwork?
  • What ideas am I expressing about the future?
  • How does the artwork relate to its social context?
  • How would different audiences respond to this artwork?
  • What is the cultural context in which it was developed, or in which it is viewed, and what does this context signify?
  • What historical forces and influences are evident in the artwork?
  • What are the implications of this work for future artworks?
  • elements
  • materials
  • skills, techniques, processes
  • forms and styles
  • content
  • How is the work structured/ organised/arranged?
  • How have materials been used to make the work?
  • How have skills and processes been selected and used?
  • What forms and styles are being used and why?
  • Why did the artist select particular content?
Evaluations (judgements)
  • How effective is the artwork in meeting the artist’s intentions?
  • How are concepts and contexts interpreted by the artist?
  • How does the artwork communicate meaning to an audience?
  • What interpretations will audiences have?
  • philosophical and ideological
  • theoretical
  • institutional
  • psychological
  • scientific
  • What philosophical, ideological and/or political perspectives does the artwork represent?
  • How do philosophies, ideologies and/or scientific knowledge impact on artworks?
  • What important theories does this artwork explore?
  • How have established behaviours or conventions influenced its creation?
  • What philosophical, ideological and/or political perspectives evident in the artwork affect the audience’s interpretation of it?
  • How do philosophies, ideologies and/or scientific knowledge impact on artworks?
  • What important theories does this artwork explore?
  • How have established behaviours or conventions influenced its creation?
  • What processes of the mind and emotions are involved in interpreting the artwork?