The Arts

The Arts

Structure of the domain

Stages of learning

National Statements of Learning

Pathways to VCE, VCE VET and VCAL



The Arts are unique, expressive, creative and communicative forms that engage students in critical and creative thinking and help them understand themselves and the world. In every society the Arts play a pivotal role socially, economically and culturally. The Arts encourage the development of skills and the exploration of technologies, forms and processes through single and multimodal forms. They fuel the exploration of ideas that cross the gamut of human emotions and moods through holistic learning using cognitive, emotional, sensory, aesthetic, kinaesthetic and physical fields.


The Arts domain encompasses a diverse and ever-changing range of disciplines and forms that can be used to structure teaching and learning programs. The domain allows students to create and critically explore visual culture, performances in contemporary and traditional genres, and works that involve the fusion of traditional forms with digital media. Schools use the arts disciplines of Art, Dance, Drama, Media, Music and Visual Communication to plan programs. These programs reflect the cultural diversity of students and school communities and the vast growth in information and communications technology that has made arts forms increasingly visible. They recognise the multicultural world saturated with imagery, sounds and performances that students inhabit. Engagement in the Arts involves the inspired and passionate exploration of ideas and the resultant products and performances. By their very nature, the Arts nurture cultural understanding, invention, new directions and new technology. Imagination and creativity, pivotal to the Arts, are essential to our wellbeing because we create much of our world in order to enhance our experiences and understandings of the diverse perspectives that constitute our cultural heritage. For students, interaction through the Arts brings contact with the Indigenous cultures of Australia and the cultures of our nearest neighbours.


Learning in the Arts allows students to communicate their perceptions, observations and understanding of structures, functions and concepts drawn from other areas of the curriculum. The Arts are a vehicle for confronting and exploring new ideas. Through learning in the Arts, students prepare for their roles in a post-industrial economy that depends on innovative ideas, creative use of technologies and the development of new and blended forms. Arts learning expects ethical conduct in the creating, making, presenting and responding to arts works; for example, adherence to agreed approaches by individuals in a collaborative performance or acknowledgment of the use of other artists’ products.


Learning in the Arts is sequential and students should have continuous experience in the different arts disciplines they undertake at a particular level. At Levels 1, 2 and 3 all students should experience learning in Performing Arts (Dance, Drama and Music) and Visual Arts (Art, including two-dimensional and three-dimensional, and Media) disciplines and forms. The arts disciplines may be offered by schools individually and/or in combination; for example, in a cross-disciplinary manner or using new arts forms that combine traditional arts disciplines. At Levels 4 and 5, the study of a range of arts disciplines broadens and deepens students’ understanding of the Arts as an area of human activity and provides increased opportunities for personal expression and communication. All students should have continuous experience in at least two arts disciplines at each of these levels. At Level 6, learning programs should provide opportunities for students to continue sequential development of learning in the arts disciplines they have undertaken at Levels 4 and 5. Opportunities should also be provided for students to explore personal interests and develop skills, knowledge and understanding relevant to specific arts forms and disciplines in increasingly sophisticated ways.


At all levels, learning programs in the arts disciplines should provide opportunities for students to experience a range of traditional, contemporary (including digital) and new media/multi-disciplinary forms and genres.


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