News from The Arts Unit

The Arts Unit eNews Vol 5. 2018                              

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A message from the Director


It has been a very busy start to the year for all our teams at The Arts Unit. 

At the end of January we welcomed back 108 students from the “NSW Public Schools Symphony Orchestra and Singers” who had a very successful tour to the UK and Ireland.

Outstanding HSC students selected for Callback, On Stage, Encore and ARTEXPRESS presented their exemplary performances and artworks in events at the Opera House, Seymour Centre and the Art Gallery of NSW as well as other regional galleries. 

The release of the Department’s Strategic Plan 2018-2022, has set our blueprint for the next five years. Children and young people are at the centre of what we do. The Arts Unit will continue to provide opportunities for students to be engaged and challenged, and to improve their knowledge, skills and performance in their area of expertise. We look forward to contributing to the vision to be Australia’s best education system and one of the finest in the world.


Following is a sample of what we have on offer for students and teachers in Term 1, 2018.


Rosemary Davis

Director Arts, Sports & Initiatives 

Dates for your diary

The Arts Unit is offering a number of concerts, student and teacher workshops as well as art gallery exhibitions in Term 1 2018. Please visit our website for additional information. 

Term 1

5 March

NSW Premier's Reading Challenge Opened > more details

12 March

ARTEXPRESS Exhibition Opening - The Newington Armory Gallery, Sydney Olympic Park > more details

19 March

Schools Spectacular online applications close > more details

21 March

Operation Art 2018 Touring Exhibition Opening, Art Gallery of NSW > more details

23 March

Entries close for Public Speaking competitions > more details

Entries close for the Composition Workshop - Romeo and Juliet Reimagined > more details

5 April 

Primary Teacher Choreographic Dance Workshop> more details

6 April 

Secondary Teacher Choreographic Dance Workshop> more details

9-12 April

Secondary Aboriginal Dance Workshops - Sydney, Albury, Wagga Wagga> more details

Operation Art Workshops - Cronulla> more details

Years 5-9 Dance Workshops - Sydney Dance Company> more details

11 April

Operation Art 2018 Touring Exhibition Opening Tamworth Regional Gallery

UK / Ireland Tour


Congratulations to the 108 students from 46 NSW public schools who recently travelled to the UK and Ireland. The students from “The NSW Public Schools Symphony Orchestra and Singers” performed and participated in workshops and collaborated with local ensembles during the tour.

The NSW  Premier's Reading Challenge


The NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge (PRC) opened on March 5, giving students almost 6 months to read the required amount of books for their challenge level and to discover wonderful stories to engage and inspire them. In 2017, 291,000 students read over 7.2 million books as part of the PRC, a new record for participation in this program. We are looking forward to adding even more books to that total this year. PRC tips and teaching notes support you for the challenge. Also refer to the Premier’s Reading Challenge Support Site for more information or contact the PRC team.

Schools Spectacular Applications

Schools Spectacular is an outstanding showcase of the talent in NSW public schools. In terms of sheer size, scale and scope, Schools Spectacular is unequalled in the world with a 2,700 strong choir, 2,300 diverse dancers, an 80 piece symphony orchestra, a world-class stage band and a huge number of outstanding solo performers.

Applications are currently open to be involved in this year's Schools Spectacular. Information and applications are online at The Arts Unit website.

Composition Workshop - Romeo and Juliet Reimagined!

In 2016, London Symphony Orchestra animateur Paul Rissmann led student musicians and dancers from throughout NSW in a group composition project that recreated Stravinsky's Firebird.

In May 2018, Paul is back and this time he's chosen Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. All that's missing right now is student musicians and dancers to work with this inspirational composer to create another masterpiece!

Music and dance teachers are also encouraged to apply for this incredible professional learning opportunity in group composition that is highly applicable to the classroom.

Dates: 5 May to 12 May.

For more information and to apply visit The Arts Unit website.

The State Wind Band


The State Wind Band ensembles provide an opportunity for talented students in NSW public schools to participate in state ensembles under the direction of professional conductors and to perform a repertoire which challenges their musical skills.

Two symphonic wind bands will be formed for Years 5-8 and Years 8-12 students. Each year the bands perform at the Sydney Opera House as a part of the Festival of Instrumental Music.

Closing date for applications is 23 March. Visit our website for more information and details on how to apply. 


Current ARTEXPRESS exhibitions

Art Gallery of New South Wales.

25 January – 25 April.

Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre.

17 February – 15 April.

The Armory, Sydney Olympic Park.

13 March - 6 May.

Each exhibition features a selection of outstanding student artworks developed for the artmaking component of the HSC examination in Visual Arts 2017. ARTEXPRESS showcases a broad range of approaches and expressive forms, including ceramics, collection of works, documented forms, drawing, graphic design, painting, photomedia, printmaking, sculpture, textiles and fibre, and time-based forms.

The Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) is holding an intensive workshop for teachers in association with the ARTEXPRESS exhibition, focussing on practical writing skills using the most current HSC paper. A guest speaker from Macquarie University will be joining in to discuss honing students’ writing skills. 


The Biennale Teachers' Intensive is another professional development opportunity for teachers. Artists from the exhibition will host talks and a workshop focusing on contemporary art practice and its role in the classroom. 

Visit the AGNSW website for more information

Visit here for more information about ARTEXPRESS exhibitions

Artwork by Ellora Srivastava Gosford High School "Karmic Colonialism".

Operation Art Exhibition 2018


Entries are now open for the 2018 Operation Art Exhibition. All artworks are framed and exhibited in September at the Armory Gallery, Sydney Olympic Park. Artworks are created with the purpose of bringing hope and cheer to children and families who spend time in hospital. Visit The Arts Unit website for entry details and more information.

Entries due by 11 May.

Operation Art Workshops

Operation Art workshops will be held at Cronulla Public School in Term 1.

These creative, hands-on, one day workshops will be led by specialist workshop tutors, extending and developing skills and confidence in visual arts.

Student workshops: 9 - 11 April Cronulla Public School. Bookings on line at The Arts Unit website.

Teacher Professional Learning workshop: 12 April Cronulla Public School Information at The Arts Unit website.

For a look at the venues for other workshops during the year visit The Arts Unit website.


Annex Art - Artist Led Workshops


Drawing Animals with Pam Vaughn

Pam has been a finalist in the Sulman and Dobell Prizes for drawing. She has also received a national printmaking award. The workshop will be held on 14 May.


For more information and booking details visit The Arts Unit website.

Artworks by Pamela Vaughn

Drama Company Play


Last year the Department of Education's Arts Unit commissioned the play ‘The Pineapple War’, written by Lachlan Philpott. The NSW Public Schools Drama Company premiered this play at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in May 2017.

We are thrilled to announce that the play has now been printed by Playlab and is available for purchase at

We will soon publish teaching resources to accompany the play, so stay tuned for more information.

Dance Choreographic Workshops

The Arts Unit is running choreographic workshops for teachers at Sydney Dance Company. The focus of the workshops will be on developing teachers as choreographic role models for students. The workshop is suitable for all levels of choreographic ability, and teachers will take back to school an increased confidence in the use of choreographic skills, some new approaches to movement and a greater understanding of composition.

Primary Dance Teacher Workshop on Thursday 5 April, MyPL Course Code RG0022.

Secondary Dance Teacher Workshop on Friday 6 April, MyPL Course Code RG00227.

Visit The Arts Unit website for more information and booking details.

Virtual Learning


The Arts Unit's Virtual Learning Program provides online access to arts education and professional learning wherever and whenever you need it. Over 4 million experiences in arts education for students and teachers are delivered annually through virtual excursions, streamed events, extensive digital libraries and NESA approved eModules. In this way, we ensure learning is relevant, memorable and meaningful.

There are now thousands of teachers registered for virtual learning in creative arts, in particular, teachers from rural and remote areas. See courses that are currently available  here. 

Be the first to know as new courses are opened by registering with our 

Learning Hub.

Watch how the Virtual Learning Program happened here .

Talent Development Project


The project is open to singers, songwriters, instrumentalists and bands from NSW public high schools in Years 10-12 who want to pursue a career in the music and entertainment industry. We welcome all genres and styles including contemporary, country, folk, indie, pop, rock, RnB and metal.

Auditions will be held in Sydney on Tuesday 24, Thursday 26 and Friday 27 April 2018, at 242 Young St, Waterloo, 2017 (inside the International Screen Academy building).

Application forms and other audition information can be found on the TDP website 

Closing date for applications is 13 April.
Don't forget to regularly check our Facebook Page to see if we have tagged your school in any of our great posts. We would love you to share these with your school community.

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