Thursday, September 17, 2009

From Little Things Big Things Grow: Teacher Preview

September has been a really busy month here in the Education section at the National Museum of Australia. Last night we held a teacher preview for the new exhibition, From Little Things Big Things Grow which presents the story of the fight to improve the rights of Indigenous Australians during the years 1920 to 1970.

Exhibition curator Jay Arthur spoke about some of the remarkable stories in the exhibition, as well as some of the processes behing making the exhibition.

Education staff also previewed two new Indigenous programs: a secondary program for From Little Things Big Things Grow; and a primary program on Early Contact where students explore early interaction between European colonisers and Indigenous Australians.

And Alan, or as he refers to himself as the 'minister for free stuff', spoke about some online Indigenous resources from the Museum, as wellas a list of free online resources he has compiled. Please contact Alan if you are interested in finding out more.

Thanks again too everyone who attended. There will be another teacher preview at the end of the year, so watch this space!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Education section planning day

Education Section welcomes Claudette to the team.

Here is education at work. Planning for next year. What improvements can be done in running our business.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Snapshots at Bloomsbury State School

Our very last visit was to the teachers and students at Bloomsbury State School. And boy did they put on an amazing show of all of their work!

Bloomsbury is located about one hour north of Mackay, on the way to Townsville and Cairns. The theme of the work by the students was 'My Bloomsbury' and all of their photographs, paintings, lino prints, and installations of their favourite things in and around Bloomsbury.

The exhibition was held in the Memorial Hall at Bloomsbury so that members of the community could come and view, and even purchase! some of the work on display.

And finally, here is a picture of myself and Mrs O'Keefe:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Snapshots at Oakenden State School

Our next date this morning was with our smallest school, Oakenden State School. Oakenden State School is gorgeously relaxed school, with 14 students and south-west of Mackay.

Lots of parents and grandparents turned up for the opening of the exhibition. The Year 7s opened the exhibition with a speech.

Then we all moved upstairs to the gallery and I was given the special task of cutting the ribbon to officially open the exhibition!

The exhibition was beautifully displayed using train tracks to 'frame' the photographs - trains are still an integral part of the Oakenden community, carting the sugar cane to working mills in the region.

I was quite impressed with their use of Smartboards too... The students had created a special film that looked at the history of Oakenden and the rise of the sugar cane industry. The students also told stories about different parts of history.

The students had also created a diorama of Oakenden and written stories about their homes and favourite things.

Snapshots at Dundula State School

Back on the road in our trusty van, Linda and I were special guests at Dundula State School this morning. Dundula State School is probably one of the largest schools that participated in the project this year, with about 84 students currently at the school.

Dundula is located to the south of Mackay and an incredibly fast growing region, due to the boom in mining.

We attended the morning assembly, along with other special guests including people from Mackay Council, Education Department, and parents.

We were also given a brief tour of the school including the new mural painted by the education officer at Bunnings (thought you would like it, Deb!)

And then we all proceeded upstairs to the exhibition. The students had enlarged and printed some of their photographs. Also on display were other art projects the students have been working on. I was particularly impressed with the student who stood for hours in a creek, waiting for a train so that they could take their photograph!

And here am I handing over the certificate and gifts to the school captains:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Snapshots at Eton North

So let's have a look at how the next few School visits went...

Last night Alicia and I attended the opening of Eton North's exhibition opening.

The exhibition opening started off with introductions from the School Captains. Then the new School rock band played some classic rock songs to kick the evening off:

The School currently has 34 students who all participated in the Snapshots project. Eton North students certainly came up with some creative and innovative ways to display their photographs!

The students also displayed some of their drawings and paintings for the Snapshots project:

Here is the display by the Prep students about the local playground:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Snapshots at Coningsby State School

This afternoon we headed north of Mackay to Coningsby State School. Coningsby State School have decided to hold their exhibition in November when the School celebrates 125 years. So Alicia and I met Principal Peter Robinson and the participating Year 4-7 students at the school.

It's all hands on deck with preparations for the exhibition! The students are working with a parent to create panels to display their photographs on. The panels are currently being painted with the school building, cane fields, and a backyard to represent the themes of the photographs.

The students at Coningsby State School explained to me how they chose the 40 photographs for their exhibition and the Snapshots website. Each student judged which photographs they thought were the best, based on the techniques used in the photograph (one student stood on the roof to take their photographs!) and also areas to represent Coningsby including the cane fields, the Leap area, and places within Mackay such as the Marina.

Each of the students came up and presented their chosen photographs. When you look through the photographs on the Snapshots website look for:
  • the car wing mirror and the train tracks
  • the bright yellow truck representing Mackay's connection with the mines
  • the cattle yards that have been used over several generations and
  • the old house and paddocks were couples often have their wedding photos taken!

We also had a photograph with all the participating students and Mr Robinson:

Mr Robinson promised to send through some photos of the exhibition in November, so watch this space in the future! Well done to all of the students at Coningsby State School for producing such thoughtful photographs and showing the peaceful surroundings of Coningsby.

Alicia and I are about to head off to Eton North for the opening. Speak again soon.

Snapshots at Gargett State School

A quick update before I head off again for the first exhibition opening this evening.

This morning Alicia and I travelled out to Gargett State School. The School had their exhibition opening on Monday evening and are now on camp (what a fun week they are having!), so we just dropped by to say hello to some of the other teachers and students. We were told the opening was quite a success on Monday evening and shown by their school sign.

Gargett State School are holding their exhibition currently at the Gargett Gallery along with local artists Jenni Hanna and Doug Adams.

Each of the students had created a beautiful poster highlighting some of the photos they have taken. The posters were displayed on panels in the centre of the room for everyone to see.

Well done to all of the teachers and students at Gargett State School for producing such a bright and beautiful display of their work. You should all be very very proud!

Snapshots at Eungella State School

Our first school visit was at Eungella State School, which is one of the most remote schools we are working with this year. Eungella State School is close to the Eungella National Park and nestled in rainforest-covered mountains. Very beautiful and peaceful.

Eungella State School moved their opening to this Friday which clashed with Dundula's opening exhibition, so we arranged to meet the Principal Sue Vonthein and participating Years 5-7 students on Wednesday. All of the students took photographs as part of the Snapshots project and for the exhibition.

The students have been working in groups on different parts of the exhibition and we met the curators, exhibition designers, public programmers, and marketing and sponsorship students. I was so impressed by all of their hard work! The students had made everything from bright banners around the school and community, sending press releases to local newspapers and radios, creating beautiful calendars and bookmarks featuring their photographs, and of course, displaying all of the photographs in the dedicated 'exhibition' room. We were also shown the digital films some of the students have created using their photographs with some very cool music.

I was lucky enough to also have a photograph taken with the Mrs V and one of the students too.

I also asked the students how they would describe Eungella to people who had never visited there. The students said very peaceful, with beautiful sunsets, dairy farms.

On the way back we stopped off at the National Park and were so lucky, because we saw a platypus! Evidence here:

Mrs V and the students were so friendly and warm at Eungella State School, and they have promised to send me photos of their opening on Friday. I wish them all the best!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Snapshots of Remote Communities: Queensland 2009

Morning all. Over the next few days I will be live blogging my travels for our Snapshots of Remote Communities project from the office of our project partners, Artspace Mackay.

This year Snapshots of Remote Communities focussed on schools around the Mackay region. Initiated by the National Museum of Australia in 2003, Snapshots of Remote Communities is a partnership venture between the National Museum, regional museums/galleries, and Australian primary schools.

The participating students take photographs to celebrate, inspire, and show the diversity of communities around Australia. Students also learn about the process of designing and displaying their work in an exhibition.

Staff from Artspace Mackay and myself are visiting schools and the opening of the students' exhibitions over the next few days. Our schedule is:

Wednesday: Eungella State School
Thursday: Gargett State School, Coningsby State School, and Eton North State School
Friday: Dundula State School, Oakenden State School, and Bloomsbury State School.

We're about to scoot off to Eungella State School now - we are meeting the students and also helping with the hanging of the exhibition. Check back later to see some the exhibition hanging in process. Linda has also promised to find a platypus in the national park for the blog too...