Student agency at its most creative and critical: The Virtual Carey Art and Design Exhibition

However powerful each individual student’s creation might be, it is the exhibition that becomes the nexus for engagement with and impact on an audience. The exhibition makes the opportunity for transformative thinking possible.

As such, we are proud to be able to share with you the first ever Virtual Carey Art and Design exhibition. This showcase of our students’ works is accessible to all, and has allowed us to continue to celebrate the important impact of Art and Design at Carey despite the unpredictable nature of 2021.

Kevin Jiang (Year 11), recipient of the Bertrand Dupuche Memorial Prize

As learners, we began with the visual
For those of us with the precious gift of sight, our early encounters were focussed on the shapes, colours and lines of our emerging world. Our early visual language grew quickly to embrace people, objects, places, events and, ultimately, link to the concepts that would foreground our formal education. At Carey, education in the Art and Design learning area builds on the foundational elements of early visual experiences through the evolution of imagery, ideas, technical devices and the manipulation of materials.

The VCAA (Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority) describes the compelling nature of the Art and Design study for students:

‘The Arts present ideas that are dynamic and rich in tradition. Through engaging in the arts and design curriculums, students are entertained, challenged and provoked to respond to questions and assumptions about individual and community identity, taking into account different histories and cultures.’

Derek Ding (Year 9), recipient of the Young Artist Award

Critical and creative thinking creates a powerful symbiosis. It also identifies the dual strands for engagement with this form of learning as making and responding. Through art/design making, students can learn about themselves and their world.

It is through sharing these works in the annual Carey Art and Design exhibition that students begin to teach others. This is student agency at its most creative and critical.

Student exhibitions provide an open dialogue between creative output and audience. They also forge new and exciting links for learning. The major impacts and benefits of Carey’s exhibition programs and student exhibitions in schools across Australia and the United States have been widely captured in research by Harvard University’s Project Zero. It has revealed that visual exhibitions in primary and secondary school Art and Design fostered discussion and socialisation between students and teachers alike and,

‘stirred emotional responses, allowed for personal connection making, generally enhanced a schools work environment, fostered learning opportunities and promoted cognitive engagement.’

Vy Tran (Year 11)

Through our commitment to providing moments to reflect and inspire, we hope the 2021 Virtual Exhibition will provide empowerment and opportunities to learn. The dual modes for engagement will continue to gather the divergent, the unique and the unexpected visions of our students to reframe the present and create a shared meaning for the future.

Simon Carver, Leader of Learning – Art and Design
on behalf of the students and staff of Art and Design

Cover image by Angelina Censori (Year 12)