ACT Artists-in-Schools Program 2012

In 2012, three artists were chosen to work in three ACT primary schools. The artists, in conjunction with their nominated schools, developed projects based on the artists’ current professional practice that provided opportunities for students and teachers to develop skills and an understanding of artistic thinking. 

Projects took place in terms 3 and 4 in 2012. Details of the five selected artists and their projects are below:

Joanne Searle at Macgregor Primary School

Joanne Searle is a Canberra-based artist and an Associate Lecturer at the Australian National University Ceramics Workshop. In 2012, she worked with students and teachers at Macgregor Primary School on structured, across-school visual arts projects, culminating in an end-of-year school exhibition. Macgregor Primary owns a kiln that has been out for use for a number of years which was used during the project. In working with the school, students were taught clay-making skills through introductory workshops before developing individual works addressing year-specific themes such as the environment, subverted fairytales and refugees. The artist also worked directly with a group of six boys with learning and/or behavioural challenges in creating artworks. In addition to the end-of-year exhibition, students benefited from participating in all aspects of clay making, including kiln firing their own works. The residency was successful in inspiring artistic enquiry across disciplines. A direct outcome of the residency is a proposal to facilitate future ceramics projects at the school. 

Joanne Searle at Macgregor Primary School 

Jim Sharrock at Wanniassa Hills Primary School

Jim Sharrock is a Canberra-based musician, artist and educator with a background in providing education programs through community-based projects. In 2012, he worked with the Wanniassa Hills Primary School in developing a music project along the theme of Festival Music, with the aim of participating in the Centenary of Canberra celebrations. The school worked collectively in designing and building instruments that incorporated stories related to aspects of Canberra’s physical and social landscape. Throughout the process, teachers were taught how to design and build instruments using everyday materials such as agricultural pipes, before working with their students in designing their own instruments. Students and teachers were also introduced to music and sound production theory. A number of instruments were played during a parade as part of the Centenary of Canberra celebrations, with six instruments then selected for performance at the Schools Market Day at the Village Festival. Benefits to the school have included whole-of-school participation in instrument and music making classes, a collection of custom-made musical instruments and musical sculptures, community engagement through public performance and a greater connection with the wider community.

Jim Sharrock at Wanniassa Hills Primary School 

Franki Sparke at Mawson Primary School 

Franki Sparke is a Canberra-based a visual artist/printmaker and illustrator with over 30 years experience in Canberra. Her work is featured national and capital collections including the National Gallery of Australia and Canberra Museum and Gallery. In 2012, she worked with Mawson Primary School in developing a school-wide Mawson Art Alphabet Project that incorporated student participation in constructing individual letters through use of painting, drawing, printing, photography, collage and construction. Of particular interest to the school were themes related to diversity and the school’s cultural link with China, the environment and the Antarctic (through association with the explorer Douglas Mawson). The artists worked with students and teachers in creating 1300 individual letters, of which 800 were then digitised and incorporated into various media formats including screen projection, school advertising posters, newsletters, school banners, alphabet stickers, postcards, bookmarks and a project-specific business card. Students and teachers benefited from collective participation in a creative project, the unique opportunity to celebrate the school’s cultural diversity, the creation of a shared Visual Arts space, new arts supplies and a digital catalogue for future posterity.

Mawson Primary 

This initiative complements other programs funded by the ACT Government that engage artists and teachers in professional learning and deliver arts education programs in the community.