Exploring identity


Introduce the topic Identity and engage students in discussion about their ideas and definitions of identity, people, location and culture. Pose questions about Aboriginal peoples, their art and culture to determine the student's current knowledge and understanding. Students begin researching Aboriginal art and artists and the importance of land and identity through the Tradition and Transformation web resource noting the scope of the resource including film, video, interviews, artists, maps and text. Students brainstorm the important elements that help to define their identity.

Student notes

Exploring and Responding

  • What do you know about indigenous art and culture?
  • What would you like to learn about?
  • What is important to understand about Aboriginal art works?

Since white settlement and especially since the 1970's many Indigenous artists have created art works for both cultural purposes and for sale within the art market. In the past there was no indigenous word for art and objects made by indigenous peoples were used for a wide range of cultural purposes.

Brainstorm with other students to reveal your knowledge about Aboriginal art and culture and record this on the interactive whiteboard (IWB), computers, tablets or in your visual diaries. Compare your initial understanding now and at the end of this study. Develop a system to record your understanding and knowledge as part of your own evaluation.

Spinifex Artists

View the short film Spinifex Artists . Describe the landscape, list who is in the film and note what they are talking about and looking at. Refer to the glossary to understand cultural terms.

Explore the Tradition and Transformation web resource. Why are maps, artworks, artist interviews, film and video included? Discuss and record your responses. Reflect on the ways Indigenous artists show their identity. Think about how you might define your identity.

Creating and making

As a class and in small groups brainstorm factors that impact and influence your identity and record your ideas on the interactive whiteboard, using your computers or in your visual diary.

How important is place, ethnicity and gender in shaping identity?

  • Reflect on the significant events that have happened in your lifetime.
  • Discuss your understanding of community.
  • Consider local, national and international "communities".
  • Describe different activities that take place in your local community, noting the location, purpose and people involved.

Do you belong to online communities, how are these virtual communities different to the physical community in which you live? How do you communicate across these communities? How is your class a community?

Brainstorm ideas and values that you all consider important.

Using the interactive whiteboard and computer software invent visual, musical and sound symbols to show your sense of community and the values you share.

Create a group identity map that recognises different perspectives on the IWB using your computer or in your visual diary. Save copies and store on your electronic files where relevant.

Maps, politics and place

Is politics an important part of our identity? Discuss

Consider how political, social, economic and geographic events at a local and national level impact on Australians sense of identity.

Using this map showing where artworks were produced , observe the current political boundaries on the map of Australia and contrast this with the map of Indigenous Australia.

  • Look carefully at the differences between the maps. What do you notice?
  • Could the Indigenous map predate Captain Cook? What evidence supports this?