Skip to main content

Current programs for 2019

Marcia Langton, 1982 by Juno Gemes
Marcia Langton, 1982 by Juno Gemes

Visual art

Visual art programs investigate ways to interpret portraits looking at aspects of biography, identity and culture. Students look at portraits using different art styles and media learning through discussion, activity and drawing. 


English programs consider portraits as source, record and narrative. Students examine portraits past and present – actively using language, dramatic expression and pictorial techniques and devices. They can learn about the lives of Australian literary figures, discuss the portrait of an author in relation to texts they have studied, create imaginative responses and explore the nexus between image and text. Portraits offer multiple readings. 


History programs identify significant historical periods, events and ideas through key individuals who have shaped Australia’s social, economic, political and cultural developments. Students explore portraits through visual analysis, debate, and pictorial representation and discover the use of portraits as historical documents.

Civics and citizenship

These programs emphasise recognition of individuals who have excelled and contributed to society from diverse backgrounds and fields of endeavour. Students discover ways to examine the portraits of significant Australians, past and present through discussion, role play and drawing.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activism

This program identifies significant events and ideas in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, through key individuals who have shaped the political and cultural developments involved. Students explore portraits via visual analysis, debate and pictorial representation, and discover the use of portraits as historical documents.

Visual Thinking Strategies™

In collaboration with Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS™, New York), we are delighted to present our new critical thinking and visual literacy programs for all levels of education. Incorporating concepts of ‘close looking’, verbalising observations and backing up theories with evidence, students are provided with new skills to navigate and critically examine our image-saturated world. The emphasis is on discussion-based, student-centric learning. 

How to engage in VTS at the Portrait Gallery:

  • Choose a VTS program for your students when you book a program
  • Attend one of our Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) - accredited VTS programs for teachers
  • Consider making your school a VTS partner with the Portrait Gallery. You can visit with students or we can live stream with VTS programs into your classroom on a regular basis.

Super selfies

Through discussion and creative activity, our new visual arts workshop explores the techniques, concepts and approaches that artists have used to create portraits over different periods of time. Students will produce a self-portrait using a variety of methods. Details:

  • 2 hour workshop, including a break
  • Suitable for Kindergarten to Year 6 students
  • Materials provided
  • Bookings are $15 per student
  • Staff are required during the program, free of charge
  • An invoice will be emailed after the program.

Self guiding iPad application

HeadHunt! is an interactive learning resource designed to engage students through comparing and contrasting portraits, and collaboratively curating a brief descriptive report on iPads. Specifically designed for years 5-8 and ESL students.

Bookings are essential for all programs.