Barse MILLER<br/>
<em>Girl reading</em> 1938 <!-- (recto) --><br />

watercolour<br />
<br />
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne<br />
Purchased, 1946<br />
1653-4<br />
© the artist’s estate

Online Course: The Art of Writing

Mon 14 Sep 20, 12am

Barse MILLER<br/> <em>Girl reading</em> 1938 <!-- (recto) --><br /> watercolour<br /> <br /> National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne<br /> Purchased, 1946<br /> 1653-4<br /> © the artist’s estate <!--27470-->
Past program

This program takes place virtually

This course commenced on 31 August. Enrolments have been extended to Sunday 13 September. Once enrolled you can start the course at any time. Please allow up to 48 hours to receive your login details. Access to the course content is available until 18 October.

Every picture tells a story and the NGV Collection is a limitless well of histories, cultures and perspectives.

This online course uses art as the starting point to explore ideas and develop your creative writing skills in both poetry and prose, guided by celebrated author Cate Kennedy and La Trobe University’s Head of Creative Arts and English, Dr Catherine Padmore.

This course is delivered through self-guided videos, readings, examples of art inspired writing and a curated selection of works from the NGV Collection to use as inspiration for writing prompts and activities.

The Art of Writing is supported by Presenting Partner La Trobe University.


Basic Course Enrolment
M $44 / A $49
Includes 7-week access to learning materials from the course start date.

Premium Course Enrolment
M $134 / A $149
Includes 7-week access to the learning materials from the course start date and four virtual study sessions led by an NGV educator to explore the weekly content and answer your queries. Virtual study sessions are delivered via Webex each week. Capacity is limited to 15 people for this enrolment.

Virtual study sessions will run on Fridays, 12–1pm for the course starting on 20 July, and on Thursdays, 5–6pm for the course starting on 31 August.


Week 1 – Introduction to Art Inspired Writing
Learn about the concept of ‘ekphrastic’ writing and the rich history of creative responses to art with examples provided of historical and contemporary writers. What are the approaches and artistic decisions used by these writers to create the kind of writing which lodges in a reader’s mind as an impactful emotional experience?

Week 2 – Writing Techniques
What are the tips and tricks that writers use to allow the transference of meaningful ideas from writer to reader? Learn how to consciously make decisions regarding style, form and finding your own distinctive voice and apply this to both poetry and prose writing in response to works in the NGV Collection.

Week 3 – The Art of the Prose Response
Take a closer look at prose writing in its many guises, including the fictional piece, the personal reflection, and ‘essay’ style non-fiction. Learn how to locate the best narrative voice to serve your purpose, and use detail, description, specificity and metaphor to ‘frame’ your work for maximum impact.

Week 4 – Refining and Editing
Learn the ways that editing processes improve written works so the author’s creative vision shines through. Staff from La Trobe University’s Department of Creative Arts and English outline the editing stages for multiple written forms and provide exercises to apply to your own works-in-progress.


  • Create original texts inspired by artworks and professional pieces of prose and poetry
  • Apply new knowledge of various writing forms and devices to generating original poetry and prose
  • Apply skills of self-editing, reshaping and refining to original pieces of writing
Access Virtual