Learning Framework

Visual Arts

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The Visual Arts course is an elective course for students aiming to develop their interest and involvement in making and interpreting art, through the development of art-making skills, critical and reflective thinking. In Visual Arts, students work with a range of traditional and contemporary art forms including drawing, painting, sculpture, printing, digital photography and video production. Content in the Visual Arts course is defined as practice, conceptual framework and frames.

Year 10

In Year 10, students investigate the subject through the following units of study:

Still Life

An investigation into traditional Still Life drawing and painting.

Spaces and Structures

An investigation into spaces and structures, commencing with an excursion to Cockatoo Island.

The Temporal Landscape

An exploration of landscape and representation with particular emphasis on the relationships between the nature of colour, light and time and the challenges presented to the artist.

Memory and Place

An investigation into identity and place.


All students are involved in the annual Years 7–11 Visual Arts Exhibition and the Pop-Up Exhibitions. They are also encouraged to participate in a range of external exhibitions and competitions throughout the year.

Years 11–12

Visual Arts is a course of study in both the Higher School Certificate (HSC) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma.


The HSC Visual Arts program caters for the full range of students, through learning opportunities based on a flexible content structure. This consists of practice (art-making, art criticism and art history), the conceptual framework (artist, artwork, world, audience) and the frames (subjective, cultural, structural and post-modern). In the Visual Arts syllabus, the frames relate to the method of critical analysis used.

Course Content

Students learn about practice in art-making and learn how to make art in a variety of forms, culminating in the development of a 'body of work' in the HSC course. Students critically and historically investigate the practice of artists, critics and historians. They learn about artworks and significant ideas from Australia, as well as those from other cultures, traditions and times.

The Year 11 course provides students with a broad-based experience, enabling students to develop an understanding in and about Visual Arts. In Year 12, the course provides opportunities for students to build on their understandings through deeper and increasingly more independent investigations.

HSC course learning opportunities focus on:

  • how students may develop their own practice of art-making, art criticism, and art history, applied to areas of interest
  • how students may develop their own informed points of view in increasingly independent ways and use different interpretive frameworks in their investigations
  • how students may learn about the relationships between artists, artworks, the world and audiences within the art world
  • how students may further develop meaning and focus in their work
  • deepening understandings over time through various investigations and working in different forms.

Ravenswood has a proud tradition of excellence in Visual Art, with many students being selected for ARTEXPRESS, the prestigious HSC Major Work exhibition that showcases the most outstanding work each year.

IB Diploma

The IB Diploma Visual Arts Program encourages students to challenge their own creative and cultural expectations and boundaries. It is a thought-provoking course, in which students develop analytical skills in problem-solving and divergent thinking, while working towards technical proficiency and confidence as art-makers. In addition to exploring and comparing Visual Arts from different perspectives and in different contexts, students are expected to engage in, experiment with and critically reflect upon a wide range of contemporary practices and media. The course is designed for students who want to go on to study Visual Arts in higher education, as well as for those who are seeking lifelong enrichment through Visual Arts.

Supporting the IB mission statement and learner profile, the course encourages students to actively explore Visual Arts within a variety of local, regional, national, international and intercultural contexts. Through inquiry, investigation, reflection and creative application, students develop an appreciation for the expressive and aesthetic diversity in the world around them, becoming critically informed makers and consumers of visual culture.