Partners: Environmental artist, Michael Shiell and Dimboola Memorial Secondary College
Participants: Secondary, Year 10, 70 students
Artistic Discipline: Visual Arts
Curriculum Focus: English, The Arts, Design Creativity and Technology, Personal Learning, Interpersonal Learning
Funded Through: Artists in Schools program

Watercourse was a project intended to engage students in The Arts and explore the impacts of drought. It was also a project about transformation - the transformation of perceptions about what art is, the transformation of the students relationships to their local environment and the transformation of the practice of everyone involved.

Michael Shiell specialises in ephemeral environmental art. He situates his art in the natural environment using materials at hand, documents the work and then allows the landscape to affect and eventually erode the work. Although he has created works of this nature in many locations, he has a strong connection with the Wimmera and with Dimboola Secondary College as he was once a student.

Throughout this project the students and their teacher explored and experimented in the school's ten hectares, digitally documented their work, critiqued, reflected and reimagined their creations in painting, digital montage, drawing, etchings, prints and assemblage works.

Review the film clips and other resources from this project to find out how to:

  • Expand your arts curriculum. Watercourse opened up new perspectives on what art can be. The students and teachers expanded their arts class physically to include the neighbouring scrub and river and intellectually by designing a new unit on environmental art and poetry.
  • Create new ways to engage students. The residency became a new tool to connect with students not previously engaged in the arts.
  • Discover new career paths. The artist found that he loved working with students and pursued a job working as an educator at a gallery once the project was complete.

Film Clips

Project Overview

Artistic Insights

Teacher Insights