Art Thinking

Culture, Context and Critical Thinking in Visual Arts

A key area of the Visual Art  Syllabus 

The Art Thinking section of this site focuses on critical thinking, looking at, reflecting on and responding to art- with activities to help build these "art thinking" skills. This includes Art Language, Art Glossaries, Building Art Vocabulary, Art Terminology Quizzes, Formal Elements of Art, Visual Analysis, Referencing Guidelines, lists of useful websites and secondary Sources, Art History sources, and Research Tips.

Maybe less essential but worth exploring are the resources on Culture and Context. Culture is addressed from a geographic point of view but also from a thematic angle, with examples within different cultural, social and contexts. Interdisciplinary Connections are a great way to develop art work related to other topics the student is studying


Topics in Art Thinking

explore these key topics and their sub pages

Art Language

This section includes links to Art Glossaries, tips for incorporating Building Art Vocabulary art vocabulary into class discussions, - and a new feature: Art Terminology quizzes. Test your knowledge...

Formal Elements of Art

The formal elements are an fundamental part of Visual (formal) Analysis for The Comparative Study. Try the activity in this LESSON on Visual Analysis 

Research and Practice

How do we develop investigation and research skills that will develop and enrich art making? If you feel passionate, or at least curious about what you are researching, then motivation and the desire...

Interdisciplinary Connections

Collaboration between the arts and other subject areas has the potential to create new knowledge, and cross fertilize ideas and processes in both fields. For example Sound in Contemporary Art , Words as Art , Art and Chemistry.

Culture and Context

This section looks at teaching contextual understanding, with pages on Cultural Perspective, on discovering Your Cultural Influences, Art that Challenges and Confronts, art history Timelines and teaching ideas from Renaissance Selfies to African American Quilting.

The Theory of Knowldege and Art pages in Course Design section are also a place to go for teaching and learning critical thinking skills, with discussion points and activities.

Selected Pages


Art that Challenges and Confronts 22 April 2021

Art about race, social injustice and inequality, whether challenging, confronting, or bearing witness, feels so important...

Research and Practice 9 December 2020

How do we develop investigation and research skills that will develop and enrich art making? If you feel passionate, or...

Writing about Art 6 December 2020

Yes, and both written and visual research are part of the curriculum. That doesn't mean polished essay writing but it does...

Art Language 24 October 2020

so lets make the most out of it. This section includes links to glossaries, tips for incorporating art vocabulary into class...

Mindmapping 29 June 2019

Mindmaps can be very useful in many occasions, particularly when a student is having trouble...

Historical Context 30 March 2019

Many art works require a knowledge of historical context in order to be understood, this is especially true of contemporary...

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