This course is FREE with an Online Subscription

Course Description

This course helps participants to teach Art History and Art Criticism to Years 7 to 12. Students will employ analogies from the practices of forensic science and crime detection to investigate what art historians and art critics do and how artworks deliver meaning to audiences.

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Participants will explore strategies to assist students in their art historical and art critical writing.

For senior students, the course includes approaches for deeper learning and writing of art historical/art critical narratives.

The course addresses content for all Australian Visual Arts syllabuses and the Australian Arts Curriculum.

Ideas will be explored in the following areas:

  • European Classical to 19th century art
  • Modernism
  • Postmodernism
  • Indigenous
  • Australian
  • American
  • Pacific
  • African
  • Asian
  • Islamic

Participants will receive pictorial teaching resources as well as summaries and tables.


Teachers of Visual Arts, Photography, Digital Imaging and Video Years 7 to 12

Teaching Standards

3.3.2 Proficient Level - Plan for and implement Effective Teaching and Learning - Use teaching strategies: Select and use relevant teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem-solving, and critical and creative thinking

$  329 + GST - Individual Enrolment
$1250 + GST - Team Enrolment

FREE with  Online Subscription

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"I thoroughly enjoyed this course; I am a huge fan of crime shows and movies, so this was right up my alley. I gained such interesting insights on how to break up artworks and essentially dissect them to be a better teacher."

- Hayley Small, Mt Annan Christian College

"I haven't taken a senior class in two years. This course has helped me to brush up on the VA syllabus content area and motivate me to review my upcoming Yr11 program. I feel inspired to develop new content to ignite learning."

- Karen Preston, Mullumbimby High School

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Module 1: Introduction

    • Welcome to the Course!

    • Introduction

    • Art on Trial Teaching Art - History and Art Criticism in Secondary Schools

  • 2

    Module 2: 'Art on Trial' - A Framework for Teaching Art History and Art Criticism

    • 2.1 Teaching Theory is Fun - A Forensic Approach!

    • 2.2 A Framework for Teaching Art History and Art Criticism

    • Glossary of Terms

    • Sample Stage 4 Scope and Sequence (Year 7, 8)

    • Elements and Principles

  • 3

    Module 3: 'Setting the Scene' - Art and Context

    • Objectives

    • 3.1 'The Scene' - Artworld and Artworks

    • Activity 3.1

    • Video 1 Practice

    • 3.2 The Artworld in Time and Place

    • Sample Task 3.2 - Architecture

    • 3.3 The 'Scene' of the Crime and Conventions of Practice

    • Sample Task 3.3 for Sculpture

    • Video 2 - Interiors

    • Video 3 - Conventions of Drawing

    • 3.4 Context, Research and Written Responses

    • Connecting Material and Conceptual Practice

  • 4

    Module 4 - 'The Contemporary Scene' - Modernist and Postmodernist Practice

    • Objectives

    • 4.1 Beliefs, Attitudes and Modernist Practice

    • 4.2 Beliefs, Values and Postmodernist Practice

    • Activity 4.2

    • Activity 4.2 Example

    • Sample 4.2 Task - Levels of Explanation

    • Video 4 - Modernist and Postmodernist Practice

    • 4.3 Postmodernist Art and Appropriation

    • Sample 4.3 Task - Practice

    • 4.4 Generating Art Historical Accounts

    • Structuralism and Poststructuralism

  • 5

    Module 5: 'The Perpetrator' - Who are Artists and What do they Do?

    • Objectives

    • 5.1 The Artist's Practice - Analysis and Literacy

    • 5.2 The Artist's Lifeworld and Art Historical Accounts

    • Video 5 - Valamanesh

    • Activity 5

  • 6

    Module 6: 'Hard Evidence' - Facts, Claims and Witnesses

    • Objectives

    • 6.1 Art Historians and Art Critics

    • 6.2 Art Criticism and the Audience

    • Activity 6

    • 6.3 Art Historical Facts and Art Critical Claims

    • Video 6 - Antoni

    • 6.4 Using Citations to Generate Art Historical/Art Critical Arguments

    • Video 7 - Citations

  • 7

    Module 7: 'Closing the Case' - Narratives and Case Studies

    • Objectives

    • 7.1 Developing an Art Historical/Art Critical Narrative

    • Activity 7

    • 7.2 Bodies of Work and Case Studies

    • Activity 7.2 Example

    • Video 8 - Body of Work

    • Conclusion

  • 8

    Course Feedback

    • Course Feedback

Do you teach in NSW? If so, this is relevant to you:

Completing Art on Trial - Strategies for Teaching Secondary Art History and Art Critisim will contribute 10 hours of NSW Education Standards Education Authority (NESA) Accredited PD in the priority area of Delivery and Assessment of NSW Curriculum/Early Years Learning Framework, addressing standard descriptors 3.3.2 from the Australia Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.



Janet Rentz

Janet Rentz

Janet Rentz has been an art educator for thirty years, having completed undergraduate and Masters degrees in design and art education and embarking on PhD study. Starting as a classroom teacher, Janet then headed up departments in two NSW secondary schools. Following this, Janet became an educator for museums and galleries, devising art programs for school students. After this Janet became the NSW Visual Arts Consultant for DET, implementing the new visual arts syllabus, training teachers and developing support resources. She has lectured in art education at UNSW College of Fine Arts and UTS. She is currently writing art programs for distance education and giving workshops for NAS HSC students.

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