Visual Arts as a subject provides for various interpretations of the visual arts that are both contemporary and relevant. Acknowledging that visual arts encompasses the areas of art, craft and design, the subject is theoretically and practically sustained by practice, the frames, and a conceptual framework about art. These underpinnings form the basis for content and accommodate different student interests and abilities.
Fostering interest and enjoyment in the doing, production and consumption of art, the
subject seeks to build informed citizens and discerning audiences for art and to raise the standard of cultural awareness in Australia. Visual Arts acknowledges the need to respect cultural diversity within Australia and in other regions and cultures.
Visual Arts builds understanding of the role of art, in all forms of media, in contemporary and historical cultures and visual worlds. In contemporary societies many types of knowledge are increasingly managed through imagery and spectacle and much of students’ knowledge is acquired in this way. The subject of Visual Arts serves to facilitate the interpretation of such information.
Visual Arts places a high regard on how students develop an informed point of view and encourages tolerance, diversity and empathy between students, teachers and others in the expression of different points of view. Visual Arts recognises the contribution that different kinds of knowing make to understanding. It provides for the acquisition of both practical knowledge and propositional knowledge, and it acknowledges the different sets of beliefs and values that condition understanding and practice.
Visual Arts is of great relevance to students’ lives and enables them to gain increasing
intellectual autonomy, evident in interpretations of their own work and the work of others. The subject rewards individual thinking in the representations of students’ ideas both aesthetically and persuasively. It offers students opportunities to engage in creative and inductive forms of inquiry and to be assessed on their production — through the making of artworks — as well as on their critical and historical understanding of art, demonstrated in their writing and talking about art.
Visual Arts values how students engage in intelligent and adaptive performance, building their own skills and abilities in the production of artworks. Such action is dependent on reflection, the refinement of critical skills and the development of judgement. With the making of an artwork involving various investigations, there is no fixed guarantee of success although inductive reasoning and the development of competencies and the mastery of routines through practice contribute to improved procedural judgement.
Visual Arts provides a school context to foster students’ physical and spiritual development. In a holistic sense, experiences in creative activity offer engagement with material things and provide for physical actions (eg painting, drawing, constructing, building). The bringing together of ideas and materials invested with meaning may lead to spiritual significance in the art produced, and for the student. The study of artworks in historical and contemporary cultures reflects an ongoing interest in representations of the spiritual.
Visual Arts builds a desire in students to continue learning after school in further education and training, employment, in informal and formal settings and as informed citizens. Many courses are available in art, craft and design and related fields in the university sector and Visual Arts Stage 6 Syllabus 7 the TAFE sector and an increasing number are being developed by private providers. These courses are well suited to students who have studied Visual Arts in Stage 6.
The knowledge, understanding, skills and values gained from the subject assist students in building conceptual and practical skills which can be applied in art, craft, design and related careers, and other real world contexts. Students’ critical skills — analysis, reflection, judgement and appreciation of the visual arts and the world — can be applied in a range of contexts.
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