Arts Learning Festival

Term: 2 Year: 2017

This year in May, Independent Schools Victoria will host its inaugural Arts Learning Festival, inviting all schools across Victoria and the wider community to join in the five-day program.

Located at Birrarung Marr and surrounding venues, the festival will include a series of interactive projects, workshops, performances and discussions, in a program delivered by internationally-renowned practitioners.

Our festival, running 3-7 May, is based on our strong belief in the power of the Arts as a tool for engagement and transdisciplinary learning.

Independent Schools Victoria has long-standing commitment to the value of the Arts as a critical element in the education of young people and the wider community. In 2005, we held our first Visual Arts exhibition of the amazing work of students in Independent schools. Based in Melbourne’s CBD, it soon developed a public profile. The exhibitions also provided a unique opportunity for viewers to learn about the emerging culture of the future being built by the artistic practice of students under the guidance of their teachers.

Over time, we saw the widespread benefits of our exhibitions program and sought to capture this data in the Artworks at Work research project, conducted with Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The outcomes led us to consider how we might expand on our existing efforts by offering a more interactive and inclusive community space. The idea for the festival was born. We also researched festivals around the world, and identified benefits in several areas, including cultural, academic, socioeconomic and economic. The Arts Learning Festival program has been constructed referring to curriculum framework documents and research.

It centralises the Arts as the medium for engagement to deliver rich transdisciplinary and integrated content. This also supports the broader capabilities such as the Ethical, Intercultural, Critical and Creative Thinking, and Personal and Social Capabilities.
To view our program and highlights go to
We believe our Arts Learning Festival will trigger creative thinking and start conversations about different viewpoints. We will show how art crosses barriers and how it connects us to each other, to ourselves, and to cultures both familiar and unfamiliar.
We look forward to seeing you and your students at Birrarung Marr in May.

Anne Smith
Independent Schools Victoria