YEAR 7-12

Nolan Secondary Learning Resource

This learning resource encourages secondary school students to investigate and draw inspiration from The Nolan Collection at Canberra Museum and Gallery. The resource is linked to the Australian Curriculum and is particularly relevant to the Visual Arts learning area. It explores key themes:

  • The Nolan Collection at CMAG
  • Sidney Nolan the artist
  • Nolan and St Kilda
  • Nolan and Ned Kelly
  • Desert and Drought
  • Myths and Legends

Themes are accompanied by Responding prompts and Making activities that foster critical and creative thinking.

Teachers may adapt or extend this resource for use with groups of different ages and across learning areas, with especially rich potential for connections to be made in the study of English, the Humanities and Social Sciences as there are opportunities for creative writing and exploring continuity and change over time.

By engaging with the work of Sidney Nolan through Responding prompts and Making activities, secondary students will:

  • Extend their use of visual language.
  • Research and analyse the characteristics of materials and processes.
  • Build on their awareness of how and why artists realise their ideas through different visual representations, practices, and viewpoints.
  • Have the opportunity to adapt, manipulate, deconstruct and reinvent techniques, styles and processes as they create visual solutions to themes and concepts.


Visual Arts Years 7 / 8

  • Experiment with visual arts conventions and techniques, including exploration of techniques used by First Nations Artists, to represent a theme, concept or idea in their artwork (ACAVAM118)
  • Develop ways to enhance their intentions as artists through exploration of how artists use materials, techniques, technologies and processes (ACAVAM119)
  • Practice techniques and processes to enhance representation of ideas in their art-making (ACAVAM121)
  • Present artwork demonstrating consideration of how the artwork is displayed to enhance the artist’s intention to an audience (ACAVAM122)
  • Analyse how artists use visual conventions in artworks (ACAVAR123)
  • Identify and connect specific features and purposes of visual artworks from contemporary and past times to explore viewpoints and enrich their art-making, starting with Australian artworks including those of First Nations Peoples (ACAVAR124).

Visual Arts Years 9 / 10

  • Conceptualise and develop representations of themes, concepts or subject matter to experiment with their developing personal style, reflecting on the styles of artists, including First Nations Artists (ACAVAM125)
  • Plan and design artworks that represent artistic intention (ACAVAM128)
  • Present ideas for displaying artworks and evaluate displays of artworks (ACAVAM129)
  • Evaluate how representations communicate artistic intentions in artworks they make and view to inform their future art-making (ACAVAR130)
  • Analyse a range of visual artworks from contemporary and past times to explore differing viewpoints and enrich their visual art-making, starting with Australian artworks, including those of Aboriginal and First Nations Peoples, and consider international artworks (ACAVAR131).

Visual Arts Years 11 / 12

In this learning resource, activities encourage students to analyse works of art for their formal qualities as well as within broader contexts, often relating artists’ practices through comparison. The resource supports the application of the interpretive and analytical frames, frameworks and contexts within the following curricula:

  • ACT: BSSS Visual Arts Course Framework

Canberra Museum and Gallery values the feedback from students and teachers on the resources we produce. To share student work or your feedback please send your email to:


Sidney NOLAN, Kelly in bush, 1945, Ripolin oil enamel, Dulux alkyd and Duco nitrocellulose on Masonite
Gift of the artist to the people of Australia
Canberra Museum and Gallery manages the Nolan Collection on behalf of the Australian Government