Artists-in-Schools Program 2009-16

Background and Program Aims

The Artists-in-Schools Program was a Creative Education Partnership initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts, in partnership with artsACT and the ACT Education and Training Directorate from 2009-16.

The Artists-in-Schools Program sought to give young people and their school communities the opportunity to work with practicing artists and to learn more about the creative thinking process. It also aimed to increase awareness of the role of artists in the community and their work.

Through the Program, students in ACT Government primary schools were exposed to the benefits of creative practice and learning through collaboration on arts projects with a professional artist. Projects focused on developing skills and understanding for students, teachers and the school community. In addition, projects increased educators awareness of opportunities for partnerships between artists and schools, and built their capacity to collaborate with professional artists to support teaching and learning.

The Artists-in-Schools Program supported projects that:

  • involved suitable practising ACT professional artists;
  • had a strong and innovative artistic concept;
  • generated innovative ways to engage students across the curriculum;
  • created opportunities for teachers to expand their skills and knowledge; and
  • were well planned with a focus on building creative partnerships.
2016 Artists-in-Schools Program

In 2016 textile artist Daniel Edwards worked at in the North Ainslie Primary School in terms 3 and 4. Daniel’s practice explores the idea of cultural identity through the medium of textiles, using handmade techniques, including tapestry weaving. He uses multiple techniques such as knitting, sewing, tapestry and weaving to investigate colour and pattern and its links with culture. His exhibition work straddles both fine art and craft practices and he is interested in how working in public places.

As Project Coordinator for the Canberra 100 Centenary Tapestry Daniel worked with people of of diverse ages, abilities and cultures to teach tapestry skills and techniques. During an Asialink residency in Bangalore, India, he developed and delivered a learn-to-weave workshop utilising everyday objects such as bamboo ladders to create simple looms.

At North Ainslie Primary, Daniel worked with students from across the school.

"As artist in residence at North Ainslie Primary School I would have 6 different classes each week to teach weaving, using looms made from cardboard, craft sticks, wool yarn and strips of fabric. Originally I was planning to weave a larger scale tapestry that could be hung in the school. After meeting with the principal we decided individual class by class time would be more beneficial to the school, which had a strong focus on inclusion. This also meant that students who enjoyed weaving could come back and continue to develop their skills. I would work with these students in groups of 4 to 6 and found these smaller groups a good way to help students develop designs and simple colour theory that they could deliver in their weaving projects. It was encouraging to see different age groups and skill levels being able to participate in weaving and incorporate their own ideas and design. The principal of the school noted that particular students with special needs were able to come back on a regular basis and found it a positive time where they could be creative and focus on an engaging school activity. Students with behavioural issues also enjoyed the experience of learning a different skill.

I found it a valuable way two look at how I engage with my local community and how I want to share my practice with the community."

Previous Programs

Franki Sparke at Mawson Primary School