Learning in Visual Arts

Learning in Visual Arts involves students making and responding to artworks, drawing on the world as a source of ideas. Students engage with the knowledge of visual arts, develop skills, techniques and processes, and use materials as they explore a range of forms, styles and contexts.

Through Visual Arts, students learn to reflect critically on their own experiences and responses to the work of artists, craftspeople and designers and to develop their own arts knowledge and preferences. They learn with growing sophistication to express and communicate experiences through and about visual arts.

Making in Visual Arts involves students making representations of their ideas and intended meanings in different forms. Students select the visual effects they want to create through problem-solving and making decisions. They develop knowledge, understanding and skills as they learn and apply techniques and processes using materials to achieve their intentions in two-dimensional (2D), three-dimensional (3D) and four-dimensional (4D) forms.

Responding in Visual Arts involves students responding to their own artworks and being audience members as they view, manipulate, reflect on, analyse, enjoy, appreciate and evaluate their own and others’ visual artworks.

Both making and responding involve developing practical and critical understanding of how the artist uses an artwork to engage audiences and communicate meaning.

Knowledge and skills of Visual Arts

Students make new knowledge and develop their skills, techniques and processes as they explore a diversity of artists, visual imagery, representations, designed objects and environments, and viewpoints and practices.

Knowledge, understanding and skills are intrinsically linked and interact with each other constantly through and between making and responding. The following information serves to articulate the main parts of the broader conceptual areas of knowledge and skills. These are not an exclusive, exhaustive list, but an indication of the breadth of study within Visual Arts.

Terms specific to this curriculum are defined in the glossary and a hyperlink to examples of band-appropriate knowledge and skills is provided with the content descriptions.


Students apply their knowledge and understanding though appropriate and skilful use of visual arts practices as artists and audiences. As students’ progress through the band levels of visual arts, their knowledge and understanding as artists and audiences increase through experiencing a breadth of artists, craftspeople and designers and by engaging with their artworks, ideas, practices, viewpoints, histories and theories. Students discover new ways of representing and expressing their ideas, observations and imagination.

They select the knowledge and skills to realise their ideas, observations and imagination. As they make and investigate artworks, students consider the critical and affective potential of artworks. Students use this analysis to refine their own artistic endeavours, developing increasing expertise and aesthetic expression.

Through learning in Visual Arts, students consider how cultures and societies shape visual arts practice; how artists and audiences contribute to a creative society; and how historical forces and critical commentators recount the contribution of artistic ideas to society and culture. Students learn how formative contexts such as personal experience, family, education system, culture, class and society shape visual arts practices of artists and audiences.

Practices (as artist and audience)

Visual arts practices involve students making, critically thinking and responding as informed participants. The practices include representation, visual conventions and viewpoints; that is, how the artist achieves the intended meaning of the work. Students’ work is informed by the study of other artworks from a variety of contexts.

Through Visual Arts, students develop critical and creative thinking and proficiency in selecting, manipulating and adapting materials and techniques to support their conceptual and perceptual understandings.

Learning in Visual Arts results in the combination of representation, visual conventions and viewpoints by students to make an artwork. Through these practices, students develop critical and creative thinking that supports their analysis and critique of others’ artworks.


Students make artworks that represent their ideas and intended meanings about subject matter. They use a range of materials to make artworks in two-dimensional (2D), three-dimensional (3D) and four-dimensional (4D) forms.

Visual conventions

Students learn about and explore traditional, contemporary and evolving visual conventions used in artworks of diverse styles and composition. These may include combinations of conventions such as visual elements, design principles, composition and style.


In making and responding, students learn that meanings can be generated from different viewpoints and that these shift according to different world encounters. As students make, investigate or critique artworks as artists and audiences, they may ask and answer questions to interrogate the artists’ meanings and the audiences’ interpretations. Meanings and interpretations are informed by contexts of societies, cultures and histories, and an understanding of visual arts practices. These questions provide the basis for making informed critical judgements about their own art and design works and other artworks they see, hear and interact with as audiences.

The complexity and sophistication of such questions will change across Foundation to Year 10. In the later years, students will consider the interests and concerns of artists and audiences regarding time, place, philosophies and ideologies, critical theories, institutions and psychology.

Skills, techniques and processes

Through making and responding, students develop knowledge, skills and understanding of their art making by becoming increasingly proficient with art, craft and design techniques, processes, and ways of perceiving worlds. As they progress in Visual Arts, students develop perceptual skills – in particular, observation and the ability to notice – and learn to respond and view critically. Students develop the conceptual capacity to develop a thought or an idea and represent it visually. They identify and analyse meaning in artworks from diverse contexts. They develop communication skills as they intentionally plan, design and make artworks for various audiences. As they progress through the bands, students develop technical proficiency and expertise with materials and techniques and become skilful practitioners.


In developing knowledge and skills in Visual Arts, students learn to manipulate and adapt a wide range of physical materials and technologies. These may include traditional materials from different contexts such as paint, dyes, charcoal and ink, and contemporary or emerging materials such as digital media, the body, sound, objects, sites and audience.