Information for teachers

The following learning activities related to the theme of identity support:

  • The learning focus and standards in Victorian Essential Learning Standards Level 6 for:
    • Discipline-based learning in The Arts, Humanities and English
    • Interdisciplinary learning in Communication, Thinking Processes
    • Physical, Personal and Social Learning in Civics and Citizenship, Personal Learning
  • The areas of study and learning outcomes in Victorian Certificate of Education studies:
    • Art
    • Studio Arts
    • English

Teachers are encouraged to select and adapt the learning activities to suit the specific level and learning requirements of their students.

Discussing and defining identity

  1. Discuss the following questions using key words and ideas to create a mind map around the theme of identity. You may choose to use ICT tools to create the mind map
    • List some different ways that identity is defined/discussed in contemporary society. For example, personal identity, cultural identity, national identity, individual identity, group identity. Discuss how these forms of identity are different or related.
    • What are the factors that shape identity? For example, consider the role of gender, race, age, beliefs, ethnicity, religion, class, history, events, physical environment in shaping identity. Give examples of how these factors have contributed to the identity of individuals or groups that you know.
    • Is identity natural or constructed? Explain.
    • Is identity something that is fixed, or something that changes over time? Explain.
  2. Collect definitions of identity from class members and/or dictionary definitions. Use the text to create a word cloud using wordle

    What key words emerge as dominant in the word cloud? Why might these words emerge as important in discussions about and definitions of identity?

Art and identity

  1. View the artworks and read the entries in the NGV Collection Story – Identity. Discuss the following ideas using selected artworks to support your point of view:
    • The visual arts are an expression of identity
    • Artists create identities for cultures and societies
    • The visual arts are a powerful tool for challenging preconceived ideas about identity 

Shearing the rams 1890
oil on canvas on composition board
122.4 x 183.3 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1932


An exploration of identity, including historical and contemporary perspectives on national, cultural and personal identity in Australian art.

Go to Identity stories
Psychogeography (1996); (1998) {printed}
from the Psycho series 1996, in The mutant genome project 1994-
type C photograph
120.6 x 258.4 cm (image) 126.9 x 278.8 cm (sheet)
ed. 1/6
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of Optus Communications Pty Limited, Member, 1998
© Courtesy of the artist

Landscape and environment

Australian artists explore, observe and respond to the landscape and nature, recording both the environment and our relationship with it.

Go to Landscape and environment stories
William Barak
Figures in possum skin cloaks 1898
pencil, wash, charcoal solution, gouache and earth pigments on paper
57.0 x 88.8 cm (image and sheet)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1962


Land of the Wurundjeri and the making of Melbourne, from marvellous to modern, told by the NGV Collection of Australian art.

Go to Melbourne stories