Schools Program

Learning and connecting with culture 
through collaborative art making

Galnyatj Schools Program is an exciting opportunity for First Nations primary and secondary students in the Greater Shepparton region, to deepen their understanding of Yorta Yorta culture, stories and history, and to explore their own connections to country, culture and people.

Victorian Curriculum

Relevant Level 4, 5 & 6 Descriptions for 2020 focus. Other descriptors apply for other levels.

Our program supports learning across the humanities curriculum, general capabilities and in particular the Visual arts.

Victorian Government - Department of Education and Training

Visual Arts

In Levels 5 and 6, students explore how and why artists, craftspeople and designers realise their ideas through different visual forms, practices and processes. They develop conceptual and expressive skills.

As they make and respond to visual artworks, students explore a diversity of ideas, concepts and viewpoints. They draw ideas from other artists, artworks, symbolic systems, beliefs and visual arts practices in other cultures, societies and times.

Students extend their understanding of safe visual arts practices and choose to use sustainable materials, techniques and technologies.

Explore and Express Ideas

Explore ideas and artworks from different cultures and times as inspiration to create visual artworks (VCAVAE025)

Explore visual arts practices as inspiration to create artworks that express different ideas and beliefs (VCAVAE029)

Visual Arts Practices

Explore visual conventions and use materials, techniques, technologies and processes specific to particular art forms, and to make artworks (VCAVAV026)

Select and apply visual conventions, materials, techniques, technologies and processes specific to different art forms when making artworks (VCAVAV030)

Respond and Interpret

Identify and discuss how ideas are expressed in artworks from a range of places, times and cultures, including artworks by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (VCAVAR028)


Identify and describe patterns of continuity and change in daily life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, ‘native born’ and migrants in the Australian colonies (VCHHC085)

Significant contributions of individuals and groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and migrants, to changing Australian society (VCHHK096)

Intercultural Capability

Analyse how aspects of their own and others lifestyle, behaviour, attitudes and beliefs can be culturally influenced (VCICCB009)


Influence of people, including the influence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, on the environmental characteristics of Australian places (VCGGK094)

Personal and Social Capability

Describe what it means to be confident, adaptable and persistent and why these attributes are important in dealing with new or challenging situations (VCPSCSE027)

Photo by James Henry

About Galnyatj

Kaiela Arts offers two schools per term, the opportunity to bring groups of 10-15 First Nations students to participate in an 8 week series of workshops in the Kaiela Arts studio. Over 8 weeks, students work with local Aboriginal artists and qualified visual arts teachers to create artworks and plan a celebration or presentation of their work to share back with their school community.

Students build confidence, pride, skills and knowledge, as they work collaboratively and learn how to use visual arts and creative processes as a medium for expressing culture, identity and stories. Galnyatj offers students opportunities to work across a range of media and artforms including ceramics, drawing and painting, storytelling, textiles, weaving and fibreworks, singing and music, dance and print-making.

Curriculum Links

Galnyatj embeds elements outlined in the Victorian Curriculum First Nations Histories and Cultures conceptual framework, linking community art with Country, Place, Culture and People, and supporting authentic delivery of this cross-curriculum priority that is often unmet in the classroom.

For students in Years 5-10, Galnyatj develops students’ visual arts knowledge, capacity to express ideas and stories through visual arts, and opportunities to make and display artworks, through an Aboriginal lens.

For students undertaking Vocational Pathways Certificate, Galnyatj enriches curriculum with cultural arts practices, and provides students with opportunities to develop knowledge, skills and personal attributes relevant to further education and employment, with a creative industries and community project focus.

Aboriginal Ways of Working

Drawing inspiration from the 8-Ways of Aboriginal Learning pedagogy framework, Galnyatj teaches through Aboriginal processes, not just Aboriginal content. This approach enhances learning for students, validates Aboriginal culture and protocols, and builds cultural strength, belonging and pride for students.

Future Opportunities

Kaiela Arts addresses a gap in creative industries training and further education opportunities in our region.
Galnyatj supports older students participating in the program with opportunities for work experience and is also a potential stepping stone to future employment opportunities working front of house or in our studio.

We build creative industries skills and capabilities of First Nations employees as well as offering professional development and networking opportunities with the broader creative sector.

Building Community Connections

Through the Galnyatj program, many local First Nations children and young people connect with Kaiela Arts for the first, and hopefully not the last time! Galnyatj builds local Aboriginal students’ social and community connections through learning and working alongside local Aboriginal artists and Elders, and learning, creating and displaying artworks together in their schools and at Kaiela Arts.

The Galnyatj Team

Galnyatj is facilitated by a skilled and experienced team of local Yorta Yorta creatives and visual arts educators including Lyn Thorpe, Kristen Retallick and Ally Knight.

The Galnyatj team deliver core aspects of the program and engage other artists, Elders, knowledge keepers and language experts to provide specialist knowledge and creative skills when needed.

The Galnyatj Schools Program is proudly supported by the Department of Education.

Photo by Tiarne Parker