Education Programs and Resources: Contemporary Art


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Education programs and resources for Visual Arts students and teachers related to the Gallery’s Contemporary Collection as a core area of investigation.

Jump to...   Years K-6  •  Years 7-12  •  Tertiary  •  Collection connections  •  Education Kit


Years K-6 programs

Art Adventure Tours

Join our specially trained Volunteer Children's Guides on an Art Adventure Tour to introduce K-6 students to the Gallery's permanent collection. All tours are written to complement the K-6 syllabus and the most appropriate subject links are highlighted in each tour description.

Duration 60 minutes
Approx. 10 students per group
Tuesdays - Fridays on the hour
Bookings essential

Topics applicable to contemporary art:

  • Learning to Look
  • Let's look back: every picture tells a story
  • Let's take off: transport, technology and communication
  • Let's find out: how do they do it?

See K-6 Collection Programs for details.

Staff Development Days

Held on the first day (pupil-free) of Terms Two and Three, incorporating a blend of specially designed programs, tours, lectures and practical workshops for up to three schools.
9.30am - 3pm, $40 per person (includes morning tea, lunch and education materials).

See K-6 Staff Development Days page for details.

Teachers Enrichment Days

Approximately four per year. Focusing on key temporary exhibitions, issues and ideas, including lectures, tours, exhibition entry, workshops, education resources and refreshments.

See K-6 Enrichment Days page for details.

K-6 students near Ken Unsworth's sculpture


Years 7-12 programs

Study mornings:
Introducing the Contemporary Collection

Focusing on key artworks. Designed to promote looking and interpreting skills, empowering students when viewing original art works in the collection. Based on the Gallery's Collection Education Kits as a key support resource for self-guided visits. Usually presented through a slide talk format, which may also incorporate a video or performance component. Recommended for large groups, up to a maximum of 300 students

Duration 60 minutes
Cost $3.00 per student

Bookings essential

Discussion Tours

Focusing on looking, questioning, interpreting and responding. May also incorporate a range of stimulus material, props, practical activities and materials. For small groups of up to 15 students.

Duration 60 minutes
Cost: $127.50 per group of 15 students or less
Bookings essential

Topics applicable to contemporary art:

  • Looking and Interpreting
Gallery Focus:
  • The Contemporary Challenge
  • Photo-media
Syllabus Focus:
  • Frames of Reference
  • The Conceptual Framework
  • Body of Work
  • Material Matters
  • Art-Write

See Years 7-12 Visual Arts for details.

Focus Fest Teachers Conference

Focus Fest Teachers Conference Two-day teachers' conference held annually in Term 4, exploring a key theme, topic or issue in the visual arts through the Gallery's collection and temporary exhibitions. Includes lectures, presentations and workshops by artists, museum educators, curators, critics, secondary school teachers and experts in related fields.

See Focus Fest page for more details.

ARTEXPRESS Teachers Days

Held annually in Term 1, including presentations by HSC students, Visual Arts teachers, museum educators, curators and practising artists.

See ARTEXPRESS Teachers Day page for more details.

Students in fron of Melinda Harper's painting


Tertiary programs

Gallery floor talks

Discussion tours of the permanent collection and some temporary exhibitions, led by specialist educators or curatorial staff, are available for small groups of 20 or less.

  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Bookings: A minimum of 2 weeks' notice is required
  • Depending upon availability of Gallery staff, free to NSW-based and publicly-funded tertiary audiences
  • Non-NSW students and those from privately-funded institutions: $150 for 20 students or less

Specialist talks and lectures

Specialist lectures on the permanent collections and some temporary exhibitions are available for larger groups. Content can be tailored to specific needs on request.

Also offered are Gallery Orientations which include introductory lectures on the Gallery's history, on line resources, curatorial practice, exhibition management, public programs and education.

  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Bookings: A minimum of 2 weeks' notice is required.
  • Depending upon availability of Gallery staff, free to NSW-based and publicly-funded tertiary audiences.
  • For non-NSW students and groups from privately-funded institutions, there are fees for the use of the lecturer, AV staff and lecture theatre. Fee structure available from the Public Programs bookings office.

Artist and curator exhibition talks

Gallery talks and lectures are presented in conjunction with temporary exhibitions and collection exhibitions. These are held on weekdays at 1pm or 3pm or 5.30pm Wednesdays; and occasionally on Saturdays.
Coming talks...

See Tertiary Education for more details.

Ben Quilty giving a lecture


Contemporary Collection Connections

View works in the Gallery's contemporary collection.

Investigate the Gallery's contemporary collection and gain insights into the curatorial process with myVirtualGallery.



Education Kit:
Encounters with Contemporary Art

This education kit has been developed to help students understand and appreciate contemporary art through key works in the collecion. It focuses on the work of sixteen artists, from Australia and overseas: Hany Armanious, Ian Burn, Simryn Gill, Tim Johnson, Anish Kapoor, Anselm Kiefer, Maria Kozic, Tatsuo Miyajima, Tracey Moffatt, Mike Parr, Gerhard Richter, Doris Salcedo, Cindy Sherman, Haim Steinbach, Imants Tillers and Jenny Watson. For each artist, the kit includes an image of a key work, images of supplementary works, statements by the artist and a critic or commentator, an extended commentary, selected references and activites for primary and secondary students.

Cost: $25.00

Sample pages...      • Buy online >


Contemporary education kit


IMAGES (from top):
K-6 students in front of the Ken Unsworth sculpture, Rapture 1994 © Ken Unsworth
7-12 students in front of the Melinda Harper painting, Untitled 1998 © Melinda Harper, 1998. Licensed by VISCOPY, Sydney
Artist Ben Quilty speaking about his work
Encounters with Contemporary Art education kit