Whitney Miller
Capital: Canberra
Climate: Arid/ Semiarid, temperate in south and east, tropical in the north
Population: About 20,000,000
92% Caucasian, 7% Asian, 1% Aboriginal and other
Religion: Anglican 26.1%, Roman Catholic 26%, Other Christian 24.3%, non-Christian 11%, other 12%

Australia is an english speaking Democratic country that before 1788, was soley inhabited by its natives- the Aborigines. In the late 1700's the British began to migrate into Australia. In the 1850's, the wool industry and gold rush influenced many more Europeans to come to Australia- mainly from England, Ireland, and Scotland. By 1901, the Commonwealth of Australia was formed through federation of 6 states under a single constitution. During this time there was an Immigration Restriction act in effect only allowing people of primarily European decent to migrate into Australia. By the end of WWII, this act was dismantled, and Australia now houses people from over 200 countries around the world.
Overview of Education in Australia:Australia's curriculum has 8 required subjects- English, mathematics, social studies, science, arts, foreign language, technology, and health/physical education. Students are required to attend school from the ages of 5-17 (but varies slightly by state/territory). The government provides funding for all public schooling, and is therefore free to citizens, however private schooling is paid for by those attending. Most students in Australia are required to wear uniforms for both Primary (k-10) and Secondary (11-12) schooling, but not for Tertiary (College).


Australians are known to be laid back, casual, friendly, open-minded people, but also have a strong focus on the future. They take pride in the success of their country, a well as in the success of their people. They strive to be innovative and well rounded individuals."Australia’s cultural and artistic scene reflects the nation’s unique blend of established traditions and new influences. It is the product of an ancient landscape that is home to both the world’s oldest continuous cultural traditions and a rich mix of migrant culture. Australian governments at all levels are committed to supporting the arts and preserving, promoting and expanding the nation’s cultural heritage – whether through tangible items such as paintings, books, oral histories or natural history specimens, or intangibles reflected in traditions and custom".
Their view of arts education is quite reflective of their culture. Australians believe that the arts are “an integral part of the life long learning of every Australian”. They value “a high quality education, rich in arts and creativity”. Australian council for the arts have set a goal, which can be achieved if the students leaving school are “confident, creative” and can “productively use new technologies and have the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for the creative and satisfying use of leisure time”.

Profile of an Accomplished Artist: Anne Geddes


Anne Geddes was born (1956) and raised in Queensland, Australia. She has always been fascinated by the beauty of photography, and the "strength a photograph can hold". She began to use the family camera to experiment with her creative interest in her 20's, developing the simplistic style that she still has today. Geddes is "one of the worlds most successful and respected photographers". Her distinctive photographs of babies have adorned everything from calendars and greeting cards, to books and billboards. She has sold over 13 million books to date, and millions of other products, and won countless awards for her beautiful work. She currently lives in New Zeland with her husband and two children.

Profile of a successful Arts Organization: ArtsEdge


"Conceived as a one-year pilot project in 1998 through the School Arts Visiting Organisation and delivered in collaboration between DoE and DCA since 1999, ArtsEdge is a strategic alliance facilitating partnerships across and between the education, arts and cultural sectors." ArtsEdge is a partnership between the Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Culture and the Arts (DCA). This program facilitates the collaboration between education, art, and culture. It "encourages, develops, promotes and celebrates a learning environment which sparks creativity in young people and their school communities. It has a range of initiatives and projects designed to "recognize and promote the value and importance of arts and culture across the curriculum". ArtsEdge provides the opportunity for teachers, artists, and students to work together through seminars keeping artists and educators up to date with new and innovative interests and ways to engage students."By championing challenging and innovative programs in and for school communities, ArtsEdge works to develop, provide and promote access to a wide range of arts and cultural experiences and opportunities for students, educators and artists to work together". ArtsEdge also has a new partnership with the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Western Australian Museum-Perth and State Library of Western Australia, "designed to showcase arts in education opportunities and tap into the resources and audiences inherent in school communities".



Artist-In-Residence (AIR) Initiative: A program which allows professional artists to come to a class room and share their knowledge in the arts. This program "gives artists an opportunity to broaden their experiences and share their skills while providing students with greater access to the creative development process and encourage them to consider the arts when making future career choices". AIR is open to all Western Australian public schools.


Professional Learning Program: This program "provides access to and information from recognised practitioners, consultants and advisory services from not only Western Australia but across Australia and around the world". It was "developed to encourage and facilitate partnerships which create opportunities for the arts, culture and education sectors to work together to develop skills, embrace challenges and understand how creativity can be used as an effective and enjoyable tool".


Spotlight on Success: This is a website dedicated "entirely to celebrating the amazing arts in education partnerships happening in Western Australia". All you must do is email ArtsEdge your work in the arts education and the story behind it and it can be in the "spotlight" and shared with the world.

Teacher Training Programs

Improving teacher education is a priority to the Australian government. The government not only funds several programs, but it requires that every teacher meets the National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) through out the entirety of their careers. The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) is am institute that develops professional learning programs for teachers through out the country. AITSL "work collaboratively with government and non-government school systems, key stake-holders including professional associations and education unions, teacher educators, business and school communities, and the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and Education Services Australia (ESA)". There is also a program called "Smarter Schools" which is a national partnership for literacy, ensuring that each of the 2,500 participating schools are provided with "world class" education, and have access to the internet, and new technologies.

Map of "Smarter Schools" through out Australia


Funding for Arts Education in Australia

There is an abundance of funding for the betterment of arts education in Australia. It not only comes from independent programs, including ArtsEdge, but also from the government of each individual state. Australian's consider art to be part of their culture, and so funding for the arts also extends to the basic community. There are several initiatives dedicated to funding the artists in indigenous areas, to keep that part of Australian culture alive.Government sources provide about $5.5 billion each year in Australia for a wide range of arts, cultural and heritage purposes. The total size of Australia’s arts and related industries sector is estimated at $34 billion.
A specific organization dedicated to provide funding for arts education in Australia is the Department of Culture and Arts (DCA). They call their program Creative Connections which is a partnership with the Department of Education. It is taking a "lead role in the promotion of the arts in education, recognising the three key principles...All children and young people should have a high quality arts education in every phase of learning, Creating partnerships strengthens community identity and local cultures, and Connecting schools with the arts and cultural sector enriches learning outcomes". The DCA provides funding for all types of art education including cultural art, music, fashion design, online art, indigenous art, performing arts, visual arts, and language arts.
"The Australia Council is the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body. It directly supports young, emerging and established artists as well as new and established arts organisations. The Council provides more than 1700 grants throughout Australia each year to artists and arts organisations involved in community cultural development, dance, literature, music, new media arts, theatre, visual arts/crafts and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts".

In Conclusion...

Australian arts education is quite comparable to my own education in the arts. I feel that the schools I have attended have allowed for me to engage in, and learn about all different types of art whether its visual, performing, musical etc. There is an abundance of opportunities for children in the United States to participate in the arts, just as there are many opportunities in Australia.
Australia seems to truly value art education and encourages children to not only learn about art, but perhaps pursue it as a career if they please. That may be the biggest difference in my own personal experience. While I had every opportunity to explore the arts, I was never encouraged to pursue it as a full time career- The U.S seems to be a bit more focused on training their children to become Doctors and Lawyers rather than Painters and Musicians.
I was actually quite surprised at how much they encouraged children to embark on any career that they wish. The people in Australia seem much less concerned with their children choosing a reputable career path than the people are in the United States. Australians just encourage their children to decide based on what they are passionate about, and that to me is an amazingly positive thing.


Whitney Miller