Australian Journal of Education

Article Title

Art education and the national review of visual education


The recently completed review of visual education, First we see, makes recommendations that contrast sharply with most traditional forms of art teaching in Australian schools. Although the review implicitly stands against a narrow conception of a visual education founded on artistic and aesthetic concerns, I argue that the concept of ‘visuacy’ that the review offers as a complement to literacy and numeracy is misconceived as an educational objective. Theories of art education today derive from a history of ideas about creativity and selfexpression, while classroom practice is dominated by the uncritical imitation of the contemporary adult art world. The confusion of values shows most acutely in the way visual arts education culminates at Year 12 level with students being recruited into a large-scale art competition that lacks an educational justification even though it wins wide public approval.