Bendigo Art Gallery offers First Nations perspectives through art for teachers and students

Media release

Bendigo Art Gallery is proud to offer a unique and transformative opportunity for students and teachers to deeply engage with First Nations perspectives through the power of art. 

The Gallery’s First Nations Learning Officer Annie Brigdale has created two programs that are available until the end of the year. The programs are suitable for students from early years to tertiary and to teachers as a professional development opportunity. 

Ms Brigdale said the aim was to share insights on the profound connection that First Nations people have with the land and why it was essential for all of us to prioritise the care for and Acknowledgment of Country.

“This experience promises to be an enlightening and enriching journey, fostering a deeper understanding and respect for First Nations peoples and their enduring connection to Country,” Ms Brigdale said.

Participants are invited to embark on a journey through the current Essays on Earth exhibition, where they will engage with the exceptional works of artists Brodie Ellis, Paul Kane, and John Wolseley. 

Students will also encounter the work of senior Yolngu artist Mrs M Wirrpanda, close friend and artistic collaborator of John Wolseley.  

As part of their tour, students and teachers will engage in meaningful discussions about the work they are seeing, as well as their own thoughts and feelings on their connection to nature. 

“Recent research conducted by Dr. Tim Woodroffe (2023) revealed that while incorporating Indigenous perspectives into the curriculum is a requirement, many teachers ‘grapple with fears’ surrounding content selection and how to effectively engage students in meaningful discussions on First Nations perspectives. 

“Some educators express discomfort in teaching Aboriginal content, as they worry about unintentionally misrepresenting or speaking on behalf of Aboriginal people,” Ms Brigdale said.”*

“At Bendigo Art Gallery, we believe that embracing First Nations perspectives through art is not just an opportunity - it's a responsibility and reinforces the City of Greater Bendigo’s commitment towards Reconciliation. Join us in this inspiring journey towards a more inclusive and enlightened future.”

Here are the education activities for students and teachers:

Acknowledging Country School Tours
School tour dates: September to December 2023
Year group: Early years to tertiary (tours will be tailored to suit age level)
Cost: Free
Activities: Exhibition tour, guided discussions, and an Acknowledging Country activity

For teachers:
Essays on Earth, Teacher Professional Development (PD)
Date: Thursday, October 12, 2023
Time: 4:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Cost: Free

Activities: Exhibition tour, engaging discussions, valuable tools, and insights on incorporating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and stories into the classroom. Explore how art can be a powerful tool for sparking these conversations and creating inclusive and culturally responsive learning environments for students.

Greater Bendigo